Friday, 13 March 2009

Fashionable politics

I would imagine that many people were skeptical about the real motives behind the hastily arranged (and now cancelled) wedding of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston. You could almost see the scene being played out in some wooden lodge in the Alaskan outback.

McCain sits Johnston down "now listen here son, the dream of America lies at your feet. It is your responsibility – as an American – for the future of America – to marry young Bristol against your will and for our political gain.”

(I admit the words may have been different, but I believe the gist to be fairly accurate).

There may also have been a crew of half naked cheerleaders, inspiring Rocky themed music and those weird pieces of glitter paper Americans are so fond of to confuse and confound him. And there it began, the choreographed appearances at conventions, the hand holding and Levi looking entirely uncomfortable in a suit.

Levi, self professed redneck and lover of 'shooting sh*t’, myspace page was taken off the air in record time as it was revealed that his bio was a) on the colourful side and b) firmly stated he had no interest in children. Just not conducive to playing happy families I guess. No freedom of speech for you young man, don’t you know that’s exactly what the terrorists want?

Did this election not feel a little too much like a big budget movie? Did the tag lines, scandals and gaffes not start to feel a little contrived? And, while we’re on the subject, is anyone else wondering why more Hollywood actors than world leaders have visited the White House? Celebs in politics is another pet peeve of mine but one better left to another post.

Don’t get me wrong, a McCain/Palin White House would have been a vortex of crazy, but world leaders being chosen based on how well they come off on camera doesn't bode very well in these tense times.

Speech writers, pollsters, PR gurus, language testing – the whole thing is so orchestrated and deliberate that its grip on reality is tenuous at best. It’s just this big jumble of woolly, fluffy, patronizing and, frankly, lowest common denominator marketing speak.

In future elections, I’d like to a side order of substance please and can we please stop calling Michelle Obama the ‘first lady of fashion’ – it’s incredibly irrelevant and the fawning tone really bugs me.


  1. It's a bit like producing Reality TV except without the permission of those whose lives are being filmed. But sometimes, as with Bristol's engagement here, it's completely voluntary. And once you've opened your personal life up to the world, there's no shutting that door. You lose the right to privacy.

    I remember when Gamal Mubarak got engaged, all Egypt talked about was his bride. Maybe that's because people were wondering about the next First Lady of Egypt. Since Gamal is considered heir to the throne. By the way, if you haven't watched his recent CNN interview, do. The interviewer didn't ONCE question this throughout the interview.

    Totally pointless.

    But to go back to your post, maybe they're just trying to say "politicians are humans too".

  2. hey, would love to see the CNN interview - can you post the link? Would also be really interested in your opinion on how things are evolving in Egypt.

    I don't think Bristol and Levi's situation was voluntary in the way that Big Brother reality TV is. I can't imagine there was a general feeling of 'do whatever makes you feel comfortable' when something like a presidency is at stake.

    I agree politicians are human, I just don't think their dirty laundry/what type of MP3 player they use should take precedence over whether or not they are qualified to do the job.