Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Real Political Heavyweights

Chevy Chase, Matt Damon, Lindsey Lohan. Now these are people we should be paying attention to during this election season, especially when they enlighten us with such clever zingers as “like a bad Disney movie”. Yep, these are people who really have something to say that we need to know. They have that keen, acute political insight that gives us the knowledge and perspective we might otherwise have tended to overlook, living as we do in our utter ignorance and confusion.

None of this is to say that these celebrities, presumably all US citizens, do not have a right to speak to the upcoming election but do the media believe themselves to be offering up any “news”, they the self-appointed “watch dogs of democracy” they believe themselves to be? How do these actors acquire the political pedigree that enables them to speak so intelligently and offer to the debate genuine political discourse that we do honestly need? And to have the press follow them in search of such wisdom?

Consider the profound wisdom of Chevy Chase. He wants Tina Fey, the actress and former “Saturday Night Live” performer, to “decimate” Sarah Palin in her portrayal, a portrayal Gov. Palin herself found to be quite funny. Said political guru Chevy Chase: “This woman is, I can't believe there hasn't been more about it. ... It's just unbelievable to me this woman is actually running for vice president." ( Well said, Mr. Chase. Sheer brilliance and insight. Stunning clarity. Now that I know what you think, sir, I had better rethink my entire life.

Now I have a question, actually two. First, Mr. Chase is quoted by Fox News as saying, “This woman is, I can’t …” He was apparently about to say something about Gov. Palin but did not. Now did he get cut off by the reporter, or did he just have nothing to say at all? Secondly, he “can’t believe there hasn’t been more about it …” What, exactly, was the “it” to which he refers? Was “it” the pregnant daughter who is not married? Was “it” the challenges Gov. Palin and her husband will face with their youngest child? Was “it” the trooper-gate thing some are trying to hang on the Alaskan governor? What, exactly, is “it” that there has not been more about? I think it is safe to say that the media have all but shown us telephoto snap shots of Gov. Palin taking a shower. What about Gov. Palin has not been covered? What is the “more” Mr. Chase thinks we are lacking?

The real issue, however, is not that Chevy Chase or Matt Damon apparently have nothing of substance to say even as they have a perfect right to say it (or not). The issue is that these snippets of political wisdom were newsworthy enough to pursue. They each got a headline in major news outlets as did Lindsey Lohan’s Myspace blog deriding Gov. Palin’s VP candidacy. Lots of words but little else.

If they support Obama’s candidacy, very well. Sad to say, however, that they have even less to say supporting Obama but would, instead, prefer to be quoted feebly attempting to be clever in derogatory comments about Palin. Sadder still that the media find this worthy of time and attention.

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