“What’s wrong with this guy?” he said over a plate of expensive pasta. “Here’s this beautiful woman, and you won’t commit to her? What’s wrong with him?”
The woman was Rachel in Friends, and the person talking was a high-level manager at an IT company. A grown man who could not separate the fictional personae on the screen from reality.
It never fails to blow my mind how regular folks who should know better buy into the PR of mass-consumed celebrities.
There are people who would like John McCain to be their grandpa, Obama to be their neighbor, and Justin Bieber to be their buddy.
These people will probably slam me for my cynicism. People will say that they have lurve to give, and they believe in the goodness of these celluloid personae.
But for all the people who weep about John McCain’s “heroism,” how many of them recognize the thousands of disability rights activists who put their bodies and their wheelchairs on the line?
If folks really have so much love to give, how about recognizing Mazie Hirono, who traveled despite stage 4 cancer to cast her vote for healthcare? Why focus so much on the last-minute move by McCain – who didn’t even take a stand during his speech about getting to “regular order”?
A Hollywood cliffhanger that tells you the story of the gruff heart-of-gold who had a last-minute change of heart draws out people’s emotions because it plays on emotions more effectively than the unsensational, persistent, steadfast work of healthcare activists.
For smooth sensational screen-friendly celebrity personae, people ignore any number of facts about how their political heroes in the 1% have killed thousands in a war (but those are brown people, far away from us, so it doesn’t really matter).
People ignore how these celebrity politicians lack a consistent record of policy friendly to the 99%, simply because oh, they talk so good, and the narrative around their personae is enthralling. It’s like we watch politics and life with glazed eyes and a big tub of popcorn.
How about this:
Is your emotional vulnerability selective? Perhaps you are vulnerable to the powerful, the wealthy, and the famous.
This is not love. This is a love of power.
Antonio Gramsci has some things to say about how hegemony is perpetuated by your consent and mine.