While watching the "news" on the death of John Travolta's daughter...er, son (what can I say? Dude looked like a lady) being presented with the same seriousness and importance as the continuing slaughter in Gaza, I got to thinking about celebrity culture and the political role it plays. As such, this post is really my take on something James O'Meara wrote about previously on his excellent blog.
It seems that liberals, despite already having cultural hegemony over the ruling classes and ideological control of the MSM, find that having a famous spokesperson for their ideas helps further the various causes and attitudes they espouse. I recall the first antiwar protest I consciously attended on a beautiful autumn day on Boston Commons. As a burgeoning socialist of 16, I was taken in by all the various factions in attendence with their literature tables on display. One of the speakers was Howard Zinn (of course), and I was pleased to witness his speech as I recalled my father telling me how he was arrested with him at a protest against the Vietnam war. The only other speaker I remember was Tim Robbins. He gave a particularly obvious speech about how waging war on Iraq would be a mistake and was morally wrong. He also reminded the audience that Islamic radicalism was equally detestable as if some of the left-liberal folkies in attendence were seriously considering Qutbism.
Looking back on the whole thing, I still wonder was specific credentials Robbins' possessed that put him in the same category as people like Zinn or Chomsky who have made their living writing about politics. Perhaps it was Robbins' role in the Clinton era cinematic masterpiece Arlington Road where Timmy boy plays a silly individualist who fears the benevolence of the Federal government and actually has the audacity to bomb an IRS building (the horror!!!). Jeff Bridges plays Robbins' neighbor, a emotional mess of a college proffesor who can't stop crying about his dead wife who was killed trying to murder an entire family of backwoods folks who, again, had the audacity to fear the benevolence of the Federal government and were stockpiling arms.
If this is all it takes to be a spokesperson for the Church of Feel Goodism, I nominate Ice Cube for a seat on the UN's Human Rights Council for his role in the The Battleship Potemkin of establishment liberalism: Higher Learning. For those who haven't seen it, this movie has everything one could possibly want in neoliberal agitprop: evil peckerwoods, noble Negroes, acoustic guitar playing LUG's, hippie douchebags, an angry, black prof who wants to show his students just how privileged they all are and a group of neoNazis played by Jewish actors.
Take Al Franken as another example. Never very funny as an actor, he recently won a senate seat in Minnesota under rather dubious circumstances. Again, the question remains, just what exactly are his qualifications? Of course, the point could be made, and I would certainly agree, that politicians simply work to grease the gears of a system responsible for all the awful shit people who actually work for living have to deal with on a daily level, from the most petty to the greatest atrocities. If this is the case, the point of political qualifications is a moot point and the best a politician can do is to slow down the gears of oppression and ineptitude as best they can, hence Dr. No.
Nevertheless, even with the qualifications for holding public office at gutter level, liberals continue set the bar even lower than previously thought possible. Consider the talk of appointing Caroline Kennedy to fill Hilary's senate seat. Here is a woman whose only credit is her name. Yes, the famed Kennedy mantle. Only in America would a group of parvenu bootleggers with run of the mill Democratic party politics be considered something akin to a royal family. Not that I hold any royalist sympathies, but historically aristocrats were cultured people with intense knowledge of the sciences and arts. No, I don't think Teddy or Caroline would be able to hold their own with Oscar Wilde or W.B. Yeats. Even the dearly departed Jack Jr. failed his bar exam twice. Just take Caroline's recent interview with the New York Times, not exactly an enemy of the Northeast liberal establishment. The woman can barely articulate a sentence without a distinctly out of place, dare I say Midwestern, "yuh know." One also gets the impression that her politics are wholly formed simply by the fact that she's a Kennedy and the Kennedys are solid liberal Democrats. And I'm sure her ludicrous support for gun control, which includes supporting an expired ban on assault weapons, has nothing to do with the fact that her father and uncle were shot to death. Yes, those Kennedys, progressive in name only, representing everything entitled and corrupt one would expect from an entrenched political class.
Of course, liberals don't need to explain themselves or even vie for candidacy in elections (yuh know the much vaunted democracy they claim to uphold) because they are simply correct. They are secure in their moral absolutism, born from the same intellectually underdeveloped maniacs currently wading through body parts over a hill of sand, and don't need it tainted by the litmus test of logic or rationalism, things they also supposedly uphold. So despite perpetuating the cult of celebrity normally associated with such underclass items as tabloid rags, this is in fact the new elite. So, yuh know, you better wise up.