Monday, August 4, 2008

Completely Missing the Point

From "The Politico" comes this example of how to miss a point so completely that people start to wonder about your grasp of reality:
If Barack Obama gave new meaning to the term “political celebrity,” then John McCain helped define it.

He emerged as the most popular Republican in Hollywood following his 2000 presidential primary defeat, winning more screen time than the rest of Congress combined. McCain made cameos in “Wedding Crashers” and “24,” saw his memoir turned into a popular biopic on A&E, and appeared more than 30 times on late night comedy shows.

So this week, when McCain cast Obama’s celebrity as a disqualifier, it seemed like a curious turn.

Just one day before McCain released an advertisement interspersing pictures of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears with footage of Obama addressing 200,000 people in Berlin, actor Jon Voight told Variety that McCain had “many great, intelligent, talented Academy-winning actors standing by, awaiting a major press conference to show their support.”

“[The ad] is a bit ironic given that McCain has been the most pop-culture savvy Republican candidate in quite some time,” said Ted Johnson, managing editor of Variety and editor of the blog Wilshire and Washington, which monitors the intersection of celebrity and politics.
I can't stop laughing.

Seriously, now. It may be true that McCain's mug has been on camera quite a bit, and that for a senator he's been rather comfortable on late-night TV. But how on earth could anybody miss the point so completely?

McCain's "celebrity" status, if you can call it that, came about because he spent years building up a reputation in Washington. Whether you think that reputation is deserved or not, and whether you think McCain's so-called level of fame is directly proportional to his career-long willingness to cross the aisle (or betray his colleagues, however you look at it) the fact of the matter is that he's been famous for doing things, not just for showing up and smiling for the cameras.

What is Obama famous for?

Anybody? Don't all raise your hands at once.

It's hard to imagine a bigger do-nothing candidate than Barack Obama. He has been a lawyer and community organizer, a professor, Illinois state senator, and is currently a less-than-one-term junior United States Senator representing Illinois. He has written a couple of autobiographies. He supported infanticide for babies who survived their mothers' attempts to abort them in Illinois, and takes a rather far left line in most of his political opinions.

If a major candidate chose a running mate with Obama's slight qualifications and unimpressive experience, there would be a media outcry: how could such a person be qualified to be a heartbeat away from the highest office in the land? But instead of even raising that question about a candidate for that highest office, the media fawns all over Obama, to the extent that Carrie Budoff Brown, a media professional, could write what is quite possibly the blondest excuse for an "I know you are, but what am I?" piece of journalistic juvenalia ever to grace the virtual pages of the Internet--and she's not even a blond.

Next thing you know, the media will be chiding McCain for pointing out the blatant messianism and unadulterated hubris of much of Obama's campaign by digging up old articles wherein McCain talks about his experiences as a POW, and attempting to compare Obama's “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions,” to some decades-old quote from McCain about his faith in God, family, and country getting him through the POW years. Any attempt to point out that there's a bit of a difference will be brushed aside by our star-struck media, whose members continue to prove with every stroke of the virtual pen just how embarrassing their industry-wide crush on Barack the Superstar really is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's been some bitter discussion surrounding politics between a few of my fanatic friends. Some were for Clinton; I think most were. Most are for Obama solely because he's a Democrat, and a couple are for McCain. I myself do not like to dabble in politics, religion, or war, for I find all of them confusing, corrupt, related, and a waste of time. One of my friends wanted another candidate (I think his first name was Dennis, and his last name began with a K...Kuchinich? Something like that - this certainly proves how ignorant I am about politics), but now I don't know who she supports. However, she is not fond about my indifference to politics because she believes they are the best way to change how our world is run. She says, "If we don't change the people in charge, how will we ever get things done?"

I acknowledge this makes sense. I'm still not clear on what happens to your vote, but I do remember learning way back in middle school that it doesn't count, and the real votes are from the electoral college, which is comprised of a small group of people. (I don't think the teacher ever explained it so bluntly, but I remember coming to this conclusion. It stuck.) If you vote and it doesn't count, why vote at all? Why care? Your voice doesn't really count. I may be wrong about this, but most people I know aren't sure about it either. This makes me especially bitter about politics.

And lastly: These candidates, who will all apparently turn around America in a manner of four short years, spend MILLIONS of dollars in their campaign! Perhaps I'm underestimating. These days, it's probably in the billions. The point is, HALF THE WORLD SUFFERS FROM MALNUTRITION! MANY PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE CLEAN WATER TO DRINK FROM! THESE ARE HONEST, HARDWORKING PEOPLE! THEY THROW THEIR LIVES AWAY, DOING WHATEVER THEY CAN TO FEED THEIR FAMILY, AND WHAT ARE WE DOING? WE'RE ARGUING OVER SILLY POLITICS! GETTING PAID TO WRITE UTTER NONSENSE ABOUT CANDIDATES THAT NO ONE WILL LISTEN TO ANYWAY! ALSO, MOST PEOPLE ARE STUBBORN AND WON'T CHANGE THEIR VOTES! AND APPARENTLY, THEY DON'T COUNT EITHER! THOSE POLLS COST MONEY! PEOPLE WORKING THEM ALL DAY COST MONEY! THE STUPID CAMPAIGNS THAT AREN'T EVEN EFFECTIVE COST MONEY! AND WHAT DO THESE PRESIDENTS DO AFTER THEY ARE ELECTED? MOST LIKELY, THEY BREAK THEIR PROMISES, CHEAT ON THEIR WIFES, ETC. I'm not saying I would make a good president; I sure wouldn't. My leadership skills are nonexistant. But any person with common sense can see that money on campaigns, most of which is made up of unfounded and ridiculous attacks on other candidates rather than actual substance and issues, would be MUCH better spent outside of America, helping all the poor people out there with absolutely nothing. I would know. My parents were immigrants.

- Stephen James Weaver

P.S. Red, I apologize for both the length of this (I tend to ramble) and the obvious contempt for politics (and don't get me wrong, I don't hate religion; it's wonderful for people who don't abuse it, but I have absolutely no patience for either politics or war). I understand that you are Catholic; I have absolutely no problem with that, for you seem like a truly religious person!