Celebrity Worship for Wisdom, Fun, and Edification
Here is a fascinating article about celebrity health tips:
In an annual list of what it sees as the year's worst abuses against science, the Sense About Science (SAS) campaign group debunked diet and exercise suggestions made by actors, pop stars and others in the public eye in an effort "to help the celebrities realize where they are going wrong and to help the public make sense of celebrity claims."
The article debunks such wisdom as reabsorbing sperm and wearing silicone bracelets to boost energy. Global warming? Well no, all real scientists agree that it puts us in mortal danger.
People love celebrities and listen to what they say. Want Lady Gaga's wisdom on Don't Ask, Don't Tell? On the horrors of global warming and how to deal with them? Katie Couric and her dreams of a Muslim version of The Cosby Show (with no blasphemy, of course)? The MSM in general? They are difficult to miss and, if even modestly attentive, so are their ideological foundations. Propaganda is much more easily swallowed (without bothering to chew) than is fact. It would be easy, useful, and refreshing to laugh at such nonsense, so I hope for a mainstream article debunking celebrity wisdom in many areas; politics would be a good start. It will not likely appear there anytime soon and that's unfortunate. Like it or not, the MSM is in the bag and could doom any efforts to elect a competent president in 2012. As pointed out here, it will be difficult in any event.
We love to laugh, and that's why humor can be highly effective for both good and ill. But after political correctness, who can still be the butt of jokes? Incongruity is the soul of humor. How about a pretty white (anything else would be racist) female who doesn't fit into the mainstream conception of a politician but impudently had the audacity to seek the second highest office in the land? Someone living way up in the wild north somewhere -- Alaska would be great. Maybe she could fish with her husband, hunt cuddly wild animals, be energetic, have a bunch of kids so they could be fair game for disparagement and some really odd notions (can we hope for someone pro-life and pro-family?) making her the antithesis of a legitimate feminist so reasonable people couldn't possibly see poking fun at her as sexist.
Tina Fey, who achieved fame by becoming a Sarah Palin impersonator, managed to turn Governor "I can see Russia from my living room" Palin into an object of scorn -- a walking, talking blond joke; best not actually to be blond because that would mean stereotyping. It turns out that many of Ms. Fey's countless fans attributed her stage persona to Governor Palin, possibly rendering her thereafter unelectable for any office higher than Moose Control Officer in some remote corner of Alaska. The silly demented girl still doesn't even know the meaning of some simple English words -- such as defeat. Not only that, she's pretty, dammit. No effective female politician can be pretty and have gravitas too and besides, she's religious and isn't a Democrat! She is also, according to a Newsweek star, a "borderline lunatic." Roseanne Barr says she is "loon and I think she's kind of a traitor." Not only that, those who think otherwise are the "dumbest people on Earth [and] ... on the government dole." (Ms. Barr later apologized for her remarks about Mrs. Palin's ignorant supporters, who had been duped.)
Saturday Night Live is among the front rank contenders for first prize in the modern humor category -- and Tina Fey (a.k.a. Sara Palin) gets first prize at SNL. Sarah Palin was an almost perfect butt of jokes; still, maybe someone even better might come along later; how about another pretty white female opposed not only to abortion but also to masturbation? Maybe someone who as a teenager had dabbled in witchcraft? Nah, that wouldn't be possible.
Governor Palin may remain unelectable, and not solely because of Tina Fey's antics. As questioned here:
[I]s Palin electable? The next two years will determine whether she will be able to counter the slanderous media campaign against her candidacy and her competence, and so convince enough people that she has the right stuff to lead the country in perhaps its most perilous historical moment since the Civil War. Clearly, she suffers more than her share of antagonists among the megabuck left and their myriad satellites, Ivy League academics, mainstream journalists, public intellectuals, union impresarios and henchmen, and the entitlement-addicted segment of the public. They are terrified of her. She even has the panjandrums in the Republican old guard shaking in their Guccis.
As Victor Volsky writes in American Thinker, “in the eyes of the political/cultural aristocracy, [Palin] is the embodiment of its worst nightmare: the revolt of the masses against their masters.” And she knows that the master class will mobilize its considerable reserves against her. The question is whether, by sheer force of character, will, and charisma, like an American version of Delacroix’s Marianne leading the charge at the electoral barricades, and by pursuing a tireless itinerary, she can prevail against overwhelming odds and bring to the American people authentic change and genuine hope for the future.
In stark contrast to Governor Palin, Senator Obama was featured during the 2008 election campaign as a progressive and the very soul of gravitas; an intellectual chap. He still is even though the label "progressive" has lost some of its luster. The word "progressive," like liberal, has changed in meaning so greatly over time as to be of little use as a descriptor for anyone's political views; to apply it to President Obama distorts what's left of it. In The Progressive Presidents, John Morton Blum addressed the "progressive" natures of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. TR, the Republican Roosevelt, was in many respects unlike the other three -- all Democrats -- and would, I think, have found insulting or farcical most comparisons with President Obama. TR, sometimes referred to as "that damn cowboy," was a "Bull Moose" just as Sarah Palin is a "Mama Grizzly." There are striking similarities and differences.
TR was a progressive member of the elite. His family was "comfortable" and his father devoted much of his time, energy, and (family) money to helping the poor in New York. Actually associate with them on a more or less equal basis? Well, that was rather different. TR knew very well of his lineage, and so did everyone who knew him at Harvard where he became quite “foppish.” In his senior year he wrote to his sister, “I stand 19th in my class, which began with 230 fellows. ... Only one gentleman stands ahead of me.” Harvard did not become coeducational until many years later.
As TR saw the world, only with the guidance and resources of the elite could the poor improve their situations. As he aged a bit he became at home with cowboys on the range as well as with the elite. He positively enjoyed military adventures; his charge up Kettle Hill was such an adventure. "Gentlemen, the grace of God and the Just Cause are with you! Gentlemen, charge!" Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt yelled in his high pitched voice as, on horseback, he led his troops. He believed in a strong United States and considered her truly exceptional. So does Sarah Palin. President Obama? I don't think he has any interest in or would enjoy that sort of thing. Nor does it seem likely that he will enjoy mingling with the little people, as he evidently plans to do rather more intensely in the coming years. Will his focus be on his worshipful base, or on those whose lives have been royally screwed through his initiatives and who still cling to their Bibles, guns, and Constitution? It does not seem probable that he will pay the latter much attention; to the extent that he does and is rebuffed it will get precious little attention in the MSM.
President Obama shares and relishes the perception that he is of the elite, but is probably mistaken aside from the negative connotations of the word. TR had a very real sense of noblesse oblige and President Obama often affects something similar, claiming that he and his government need more power only to do good things for the little people; our celebrities buy what he is peddling in wholesale lots and offer it at retail to their viewers, undiluted but with a superior gloss suitable for the finest perfume. They seem either to reject or perhaps never to consider the possibility that he wants power for the sake of power. If only the spiteful Republicans would put partisan politics aside and be reasonable like him! The United States and indeed the whole world would be transformed magically via his awesome powers of mind and communication to accept uncritically his perceptions of good. All would then be better off, particularly those who, like the MSM, support him in his aspirations; human dignity, prosperity, and world peace would flourish and the miserable wretches in "Palestine" and elsewhere would become prosperous, content, and therefore peaceful. If only oppressive and offensive Israel would listen to reason (him) and cease being a warmonger! Stark reality, Kassam rockets, and other stuff of man-made disasters cannot be allowed to disturb his dreams. Neither can such silly old stuff as the United States Constitution, written for an ancient time and now merely a bothersome impediment to the achievement of his brilliant visions of equality and social justice. How could the new House of Representatives sink so low as to tolerate its reading in the halls of Congress?
President Obama lacks the intensity and nearly all encompassing passion of TR for life, knowledge, and adventure. He also appears, after slightly less than two years in office, to have lost focus and perhaps even interest -- he reserves those for important stuff such as vacations, sorely needed to refresh him for the public relations battles ahead, all to help the little people. It is questionable whether he knows what he is doing. He is a celebrity without the human substance with which TR overflowed. His superficiality is a poor substitute and he continues to feast on his celebrity status. He is, according to a Newsweek cover, God of All Things.
In recent years our presidents have enjoyed in full measure the trappings of the rich and famous. We are all, of course, happy to foot the bills, most recently for a few days in Hawaii, even during periods of economic distress and uncertainty; in the big picture $1.5 million for that was a mere pittance and contributed only minimally to the 2010 national debt. And, of course, the little people face catastrophic consequences if the stingy, partisan, game-playing Republicans don't agree to increase the national debt limit; again (the debt is now a mere $14,025,215,218,708.52). Money is meant to be spent; that's what governments are supposed to do. It's needed to help the little people!
There are less expensive accommodations where President Obama could get a good taste of history beyond his own (about which we know little) and where there are lots of little people just outside the gates. Cuba's Hotel Nacional is just one of many and it's in our backyard. Celebrities Steven Spielberg, Kate Moss, Javier Bardem, and Sean Penn stay there and it costs only $129 per night -- history lessons included:
In December of 1946, about 500 Mafiosos descended on the hotel for a mob summit -- an event immortalized in fictional form in "The Godfather Part II." During the six-day-long gathering, the dons divided up the spoils of Cuba's lucrative gambling, drug, and prostitution rackets, said the hotel's resident historian, Estela Rivas. Rivas sometimes serves as tour guide, making one of her stops the second-floor suite where Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky held their talks.
With his Chicago roots, President Obama should feel at home -- he could take Rahm Emanuel with him. Maybe they could chat with Fidel. Venezuela also has some pleasant accommodations. President Obama could absorb the marvels of ChávezCare and maybe have some Won-on-Won face time with his soul mate. Chávez has done a fine job of training the media and keeping what's left of it in Venezuela compliant. That would be really special and there is no good reason to let Secretary Clinton get the glory; it should be his. Mrs. Obama could learn a lot about food and how to do without that and other luxury goods such as potable water. School lunches? No problema, Amiga. How about the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Haiti? Despite floods and other trivial inconveniences it's still around to provide an elite ambiance and there are countless hungry little people just outside longing for some photo ops. However, South Korea is not a desirable vacation destination since President Lee has of late become overly aggressive. Israel? Oy Vey! Not a mensch anywhere there, unless one includes "Palestine" of course.
Following the November 2010 electoral disaster when President Obama found his party and himself "shellacked," there was a brief hiatus in MSM expressions of awe. The MSM seem likely to resume their deification of President Obama, this time emphasizing his historic but briefly misplaced gravitas:
Insiders will celebrate an awesomely deep president who will have sharpened his pants crease and will again bask in the unrestrained praise of the media gods. Amazing media grace: It once was lost, but now it's found, a gravitas for all to see.
Official Washington will join with old media to again celebrate the president's "gravitas," which is code for belief in the necessity of "a rather small Western elite" to manage every aspect of our lives. At the same time, a Tea Party-influenced Congress will be portrayed as lacking seriousness of purpose -- gravitas, the media will put it -- by virtue of its constrictive policies and approaches. Limited government? Individual responsibility? Constitutional restrictions? All simply the thoughts and machinations of people who lack the intelligence to think big, to engage in social engineering on behalf of a greater vision. In other words, a citizenry and new Congress that lack gravitas, the media will tell us.
Gravitas -- what more can you ask for? Hence, the new year will bring renewed emphasis on the "brilliance" of Obama despite all evidence to the contrary. Never mind a presidency that has been "a striking failure"(American Thinker), a president whose direction of a "profligate Congress [that] carpet-bombs taxpayer dollars on greedy federal bureaucrats" (National Review), and a White House that offers "corruption" and "blatant disregard for the rule of law" (Judicial Watch)? Whom are you going to believe -- the media or your lying eyes?
The MSM will say that Brilliant Progressive Leader Obama has that wonderful and mystical thing called gravitas so it must be true; they wouldn't try to deceive themselves or us, would they? Many will believe the media and reject reality as revealed by their lying eyes just as they rejected reality and absorbed instead knee-slapping Sarah Palin impersonations, and still do. Reality is so very complicated and unreality is so much more easily digested; it is also far more readily available. Nothing more is needed than to watch the television.
Oprah Winfrey? Jon Stewart? Tina Fey? Katie Couric? Roseanne Barr? Celebrities can be fun, particularly when they are funny. Humor can, while remaining funny, devolve into ingenious but disingenuous politically directed jabs far more damaging and difficult to deflect than substantive and fact-based punches.
Those so inclined will continue to survive on celebrity recommended "maple syrup, lemon and pepper [and their intellectual equivalents] alone" and to get their political, economic, and social views from the important celebrities. It's easy and provides continuing reinforcement for beliefs toward which they have become predisposed through repetition. It's an undemanding distraction from reality and besides, many of us want to be like elite celebrities. They believe, so why shouldn't the rest of us? We must not forget to clap our hands; little Tinker Bell is counting on us, each and every one.
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