May 22, 2008
It’s safe to say that all of us appreciate a direct approach. Our lives are already so cluttered that to add another person’s scenic route to an already cumbersome experience is simply rude. Regardless of intent (fair or oppressive) we like knowing what we’re getting into. It’s also safe to say that there’s something particularly wrong with a society that finds more assurance in being entertained by its mismanagement than troubled by it. Is it sane to seek psycho-social security from entertainers rather than governance? Or does how we behave clearly reflect the type of lies we tell? Is it safe to say that if our casual lies are extreme our extreme behavior is horrific?
We’ll let you in on a little secret, politicians excuse themselves by claiming most things are opiates of those en masse. Well the smarter of them at least, the others are just assholes. Either way it’s normally rationalized by believing that a disillusion prompted by inexplicable insecurity should be enabled for the sake of maintaining some common ground. Yes, we’re going to overlook the chicken and egg dilemma of politics and publicity. But something’s clearly amiss if you’re expected to accept a convoluted demeanor as something you should emulate in what little culture we (as Americans) have at all.
At least entertainers deal from the top of the deck
Our varying fascination with Cinderella Syndromes encourages Hollywood to let some lights glare brighter than others. Even if a mastery of the theatric craft is banked as social commodity, it’s an indiscretion we’re prepared appease. For the strength of the larger community we glorify this casual mockery of dignity, provided that we’re adequately convinced that one player or another is appropriately humbled by our praise.
It’s important to realize that as an audience we’re inherently untethered to one identity or another. Our anxiousness to experience a collective imagining as first persons, equals, is unrelenting. But we respect that a performer knows that they’re executing someone else’s vision, another’s hopes for a version of reality. Anything that brings us to define a new social class that’s incomparable to all others deserves our complicity and demands our appreciation. Yet like any other business the anxieties of success are born from the same competitiveness that’s prevalent in all enterprises.
Yes we’re aware that our tone is a bit harsh, but we are talking about peoples lives here. People that have hopes they fear, habits they’re challenged by and anxieties that money would never put at ease. It’d be reasonable if performers secretly hoped that our praise would somehow equate to love, and present an argument for peace of mind. So much so that it’s un-nerving when some celebrities are caught behaving as both personalities and people, suddenly humility has changed hands and we’re the ones wearing a spotlight.
A politician on the other hand uses cultural mores to seem competent, crafting their script to be both impressively elusive and manageably trite. They hope that competing for an opportunity to spoil one pet project will be overlooked by their outrage over another criminally under-realized objective. Then again maybe that’s just a republican thing. But that doesn’t mean we should excuse them by insisting that our most basic values are debatable. Anyone that claims they are has exposed themselves as being immoral, insubstantial, and effectually expendable.
So where does all this leave the espionage that media seeds into our private lives, and politicians’ abuse at our public expense. The answer should be – who cares. But unfortunately most of us wouldn’t know what day it was but for the translucent network stamp on our coffee and cruller broadcast. How would we know when daylight savings was kicking in, or what the name of the rabbit that Britney Spears uses to test her new shade of dusty rose lip gloss is? Where would we go to configure our moral compass with the alignment of our schizophrenic self esteem, so that we can feel both validated and valuable until our hangover fades? Without media saturation would the appropriate measure of fear set in, or would we just believe that everyone’s turning to us and our opulence for kinship like some sort of looking glass on second hand ecstasy.
Would what we read become gospel and what lured us with lights and cameras become just the fluffer for our self righteous slugfests? Or would we flashback to before the valiant vacuum tube and be forced to look life square in the eye and come up with more than a primed and timed catch phrase. Truth be told we’re all hoping that it doesn’t matter ’cause it’s only TV and we know someone’s just fabricating it. Be it the byproduct of more legitimate entertainment or the hammer and nails of regime propaganda. Unfortunately that pre-mass media argument only held water in the days when people darned stockings, churned their own butter and were generally more self reliant. As it is we’re stuck with these colliding and coinciding motives. Putting our faith in the sheer ability to imbue has left the populace astray and the politicians to find shelter in an endless cover story.
So we guess why screen actors are better than politicians is obvious, with actors we get to set our own limits. To want laughter over tears is a powerful choice we make before we sit down. While some of us may take our dedication to celebrity a bit far at least it’s a commodity we can trade in good faith.
Politicians on the other hand count on being out of arms reach as a means of camouflaging their general incompetence. They are determined to keep standards low so that no one feels overburdened by sound values. Maybe Reagan knew the deck was stacked but he just wasn’t smart enough to realize that big government was playing possum for the rest of the world while flexing its big brother muscles at home. It’s a scary thought but at least that chapter of our lives can start making a little sense, because unless we start sorting out the ridiculous bits the truly daunting realities will define us by our shortcomings.