Sam Smith - The absurdly hyperbolic coverage of the Inauguration reminded me that politics is really dead. In its place we have a merger of corporate business (aka campaign contributors) and show business (aka politicians) not unlike the relationship between corporations and their advertising. We, as a culture, have become so used to it that we no longer care that Lindsay Lohan isn’t much of an actress or that Barack Obama isn’t that great a president. We just want them to play the part.
Which is why Hillary Clinton is so much more popular than, say, Joe Biden. Biden is a politician. He lacks the looks, the style, and the manner of an actor, except as a humorous, historical bit character known as Joe Biden. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, does it all extremely well and in the style of the moment.
In truth, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are leaders of a collapsing republic, a collapsing economy, and a collapsing culture. But their style helps us to avoid facing such things. As long as the act continues, we don’t have to.
And the black/feminine aspect is a not insignificant factor. Obama and Clinton have three major classes of supporters:
- Those who share their ethnicity or gender and are so delighted to finally have someone of their ilk in power that the details of their actual politics is a minor factor.
- Those who don’t share their ethnicity or gender but share their politics and are pleased to have them to brag about.
- Those who were afraid that someone of Obama’s ethnicity or Clinton’s gender might be problem and are grateful that they aren’t..
Will we ever rediscover politics or will our lives be forever controlled by corporate funders and the political equivalents of the Geico gecko, those we can love without really knowing why?
If reality does return, it will probably be about the same time that a losing captain of a major football team actually tells a TV reporter that “I screwed up every frigging way” instead of the blather he was coached to say by some communications expert.
Meanwhile, we can look forward to Chris Matthews finding ever more parallels between Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama.