Celebri-spiral™: Enough Already

Our culture is in a celebri-spiral. We're conflicted over our ridiculous, growing celebrity culture consumption via magazines, websites, and TV shows. In 2007, my love/hate conflict made me take to the blog-o-sphere. All writing on this site © Dave Singleton 2009.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

January 24, 2007: The State of the Union on Dumbf*ck Mountain is...Good? Or Just Celebrated?

2007's state of the union speech from George of the Iraq Jungle was a lesson in charm over substance, pandering over protest, and, ultimately, celebrity trumping everything.

How could the man with the lowest presidential approval rating since Watergate-era Nixon have received such a welcome response from both sides? The optimist in me hopes it's a move toward progressive bipartisanship. The cynic thinks that Telegenic George ratcheted up the "aw shucks" charm from his first campaign, and kissed the ring and ass of Madame Speaker just about as ferociously as one could do without getting a motel room.

Will people buy it? If you just read the speech and didn't watch him deliver it, would you feel differently about its content? If George's brilliant speechwriter didn't invoke "supporting the troops," which of course everyone wants to do, and which, by the way, results in a mandatory "standing O" on the house floor everytime it's mentioned, would you be able to separate supporting the troops from creating a sound Iraq exit strategy? A "set a deadline now" strategy is what every soundbyte-worthy Republican and Democrat, aside from Dick Cheney and Condi Rice, is suggesting.

Though I find W. almost unwatchable, I tuned in to hear him, and to view the other politicos play to the cameras, as TV time during state of the union is prime. As I watched, I wondered why I have such a visceral dislike for a man I have never met. Yes, I find his policies objectionable. But my dislike for Bush and Cheney grows as their lame duck status begins. The same is true for Hillary-haters whose bile increased when she said "I'm in to win." Hate is a costly emotion. Why waste it on anyone, let alone a celebrity?

Some blogs today, notably CNN's, included comments from people who focused on either liking or disliking W. I know I am one to talk, but our like, or disike, isn't the issue.

What was the speech really? A few platitudes about finally paying attention to dire domestic issues like the environment and education standards, a very late plea to curb our reliance on foreign oil, and a too-little, too-late grandstanding for a balanced budget. What's really on the legislative docket? What are the results, and when can we expect them? Those are tangible. Yet all we can talk about is whether he came off well?

Yes, he came off well. And Nancy Pelosi looked fabulous. And Hillary looks like she's lost weight and maybe had some work done (subtle, but good). And isn't Barack Obama handsome? And Laura Bush is adoring (we love that because we project onto her how much we'd all like an adoring spouse, too). And the special invited guests in the chamber are all heroic (they are.) But that isn't the point. Like the celebrity culture we are in, we focus too much on personalities and image, not issues.


Blogger Shane Harris said...

There is a photo of Bush's "overreach" in the speech, when he went to shake Pelosi's hand and inadvertantly grabbed her breast. There's a metaphor in there somewhere.

Friday, January 26, 2007 8:42:00 AM  

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