Monday, September 22, 2008

'Celebrity' and Politics

I sort of doubt that anybody hasn't seen these clips, but as I'm going to be writing about them let's take a look real fast. These are sort of last weeks news...but bear with me here.

Now these clips are enjoyable right? Good for a chuckle. I just want to point out a few things I've been thinking about.

1. I don't think Sarah Palin being named as McCain's VP pick has benefited anyone more than Tina Fey. This skit ran the weekend after 'Baby Mama' came out on DVD ('Baby Mama has a few funny moments, but a sub-par effort at best), and the '30 Rock' season premiere is coming up soon. the synergy is pretty amazing for ol' TF, who I like, but can't get myself to love, for some snarky reason. Maybe it's the fact that she seems kind of in love with herself and has to prove to everyone that she's sexy even while she makes fun of herself for not being sexy. The first season of '30 Rock' is full of these excuses to point out her hotness in the disguise of claiming how unhot she was, it was really sort of annoying. I'm glad they got away from that in season 2, which was pretty amazingly funny.

2. I think Matt Damon's comments have validity, and he states them in a very affable and eloquent way. But, remind me why I should care about what Matt Damon thinks? Oh yeah, he's famous.

This video reminded me of a PETA pamphlet Lesley and I picked up as we left a vegan restaurant lately (Sage Cafe in Salt Lake, pretty good place). The PETA pamphlet was vegetarian propaganda at its most blatant, and it's first tactic was showing a wash of celebrities on it's first two pages explaining why they were vegetarian. These celebrities included Natalie Portman, Clint Eastwood, Toby Maguire and (drumroll please) Pamela Andersen (Eating animals bad, plastic surgery good!).

Now I have no issues with vegetarians, or vegetarianism, my wife IS one for heaven sakes! But why on earth would I want to become a vegetarian just because a bunch of 'celebrities' are? Who would see that and think to themselves 'gee, if Jake Gyllenhaal is a vegan than sign me up!' It's ridiculous, and putting that upfront in the pamphlet made the pamphlet's validity extremely questionable.

The Damon clip reminds me of the PETA ad. His words seem valid, but his fame make me leery of taking them seriously. I don't need a famous person to tell me that Sarah Palin is dangerously unqualified to be president thank you very much.

3. These two clips really emphasize the the important role celebrity is playing in this campaign. I think it's pretty awesome that Palin's only REAL contribution to the McCain ticket is her celebrity (someone give me another contribution she brings, I dare you). This fact completely deconstructs McCain's whole 'Obama is a celebrity' attack of a few weeks ago, and takes away his really most powerful criticism of Obama, which was his inexperience. What is McCain going to attack now? His funny name? His charisma?

I think it's unmistakable that the role political and non-political celebrities play will increase in this and future elections, and as long as we as people think "I like Jim Belulshi, and if he likes (insert candidates name here), than so do I." we're going to be inundated with candidates and opinions like these.

On a side note, Bill Clinton is asking Democrats to stop making fun of Palin, but I think he's overlooked the biggest reason why it's not going to happen, she's just too easy to make fun of.


  1. Tony, I know you're down on McCain, but I don't see how you can overlook the hypocritical attacks coming from BOTH sides of the political spectrum about experience. You're absolutely right that putting Palin on the ticket makes all of McCain's previous comments about lack of experience totally null and void, and should bring into question what of all the things he's said in the campaign he actually believes. On the other hand, having Palin on the ticket does not suddenly make Obama's experience more substantive. He's been a US senator for 4 years. Before that, he might as well been mayor of Wasila.

    That's what drives me nuts about Mat Damon's little tirade. He makes a lot of good points about having someone inexperienced one step away from the Presidency, but, seemingly ignores the possibility of having someone only marginally more experienced IN the presidency. You can't have it both ways, Damon; if experience matters, it matters to everyone. He does have a point about knowing more about Obama than Palin, and I'll give him that. I don't think he need to make himself sound like a douchebag to do it, though.

    But I totally missed your point, Tony. Celebrity endorsements suck. I don't know why more people don't find them as distasteful as I do.

  2. A-Rod

    When you say 'I missed your point' do you mean that you missed what I was arguing or that you hadn't written about the point that I was writing about? I'm assuming the latter since our opinions on celebrity endorsements seems similar.

    Yeah, bringing Palin into the mix gives us lefty types the chance to say "NOW who's inexperienced?" Even though our boy's experience in politics might be a bit light (am I softening it a bit?)

    Ironically I liked McCain about four years ago. I liked that he didn't bow to the Republicans, and I liked how he stood up to Bush on important issues (torture anyone?)

    It's interesting how in the past four years I've realized his alarming hawkinshness towards the war in Iraq, and his toadying of the right is a bit nauseating. Throw in the fact that he's 72 with Palin as VP and heir to the Presidency if he kicks off and I'm VERY nervous about him being president.

  3. I just wish Carrot Top would weigh in on all of this election stuff so I would know who to vote for.

  4. Ahh, Carrot Top, where are you when we need you. I've already forgotten the easiest way to call collect.

  5. "When you say 'I missed your point' do you mean that you missed what I was arguing or that you hadn't written about the point that I was writing about?"

    Yeah, the second one. I kinda went off the rails a bit, but didn't hate what I had written, so I posted it anyway.

    Oh, I remembered my favorite celebrity endorsement example: in the 1998 Western Conference Playoffs, the Jazz beat the Lakers in the first two games in Salt Lake. Before the next two games in LA, I was somehow listening to some loser sports-talk guy from LA on the radio. His main argument was that, sure, the Jazz beat LA in Salt Lake, but the next games were going to be in LA. In front of Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio. And the Lakers won't lose in front of Jack and Leo. Seriously -- that's all he had. I don't think I have to remind anyone what happened (Jed, Utah beat LA in the next two games to win the series), and it was oh so sweet, because that plastic idiot who thought that celebrities somehow made his team invincible got to sit there and watch a team from Nowhere, USA make the Lakers look like a bunch of scrubs. Ah, who am I kidding. He's a Lakers fan. There's no way he was watching the game.

  6. That's some nice LA fan smack talk, booyah

  7. On that note, it's always good to see that all posts can eventually be brought back to sports. Go SPORTS!

  8. I wonder if celebrity endorsements help or harm.(With the exception of when Chuck Norris endorsed Huckleberry, that pretty much put me in the Finn camp right there). If you're trying to win middle America then having the Hollywood types swooning over you can't be good for you image. I'm sure this has been focus-grouped somewhere. This seems like the kind of thing Beau would know the answer to.