We are a nation made up more and more of entertainment fanatics. Forget the melting pot or whatever other strange, clich�d metaphor you’d like to insert here. The ties that bind us go far beyond our cultural or ethnic histories. Rather, we are one with our more uniform entertainment fixations.

Mira Levitan

Hollywood is the prime example of our nation’s freakish obsession with anything famous. On average, I bet more people could cite the specific details of the infamous Ben and J-Lo breakup than could name the capitals to the 50 states.

We not only know who Demi Moore is dating now, but there are folks who are more conscious of the age-debate issues in her newest relationship than understand the policy differences between Democrats and Republicans.

As a public audience, we want to know what Colin Farrell’s next exploit will be, where Barbara Streisand’s secret wedding is to be held and when Catherine Zeta-Jones’ little bundle of joy should be due to make its grand appearance. We have several magazines produced every week to keep us all abreast of this vital information, and the heartthrob, the diva and the drama queen certainly weren’t exactly camera shy when it came their time to grace the cover.

Hollywood is a three-ring circus nowadays; you never know what you’re going to hear next about a super-celebrity. Everything has to be bigger and better than before. It’s turned into a constant juggling act between what’s hot and what’s marketable, and so far, anything goes.

So, in the great state of California, where this virtual wonderland of entertainment taboo exists, a recall election overrun with vastly unqualified (but incredibly famous) candidates should not be so shocking to us anymore, right?

We should be used to such crazy publicity stunts in this day and age, obviously. As many critics have noted, this election is little more than a joke now as actors and failed actors shout their promises of finance reform and other such political mumbo jumbo.

The great Arnold Schwarzenegger used his own money supply as his winning political pitch, which was supposed to make him seem more honorable and trustworthy somehow. Yet, the Terminator still doesn’t appear to be a credible candidate for something like the governor of a state.

This past weekend, I heard people up in arms about a certain woman who claimed she wanted to announce her gubernatorial candidacy, and I have to admit, I found it all very amusing and just a little ironic. This woman, Mary Carey, who of course happens to be a porn star, seems to have no qualifications whatsoever, and the articles I’ve read discussed her prospective financial gain more than any legitimate platform ideas.

Still, I laughed. I laughed that people should feel so appalled with this new possible entry yet feel … I don’t know … almost resigned to the idea of all the others.

I laughed that this election has actually become a highly strategic marketing ploy for its candidates’ products rather than an address to a serious problem.

I mean, Arnold was somewhat of a surprise in the beginning, but now he seems fairly blas�. Gary Coleman, who hasn’t really done anything remarkable entertainment-wise within the last 20 years, finally has his name back in the papers for something other than his “E! True Hollywood Stories” specials. Unfortunately, he too has been almost tossed aside in favor of some juicier gossip.

But, Carey, among others in her field, has seen a gross increase in her film sales since her profound announcement. She’d probably be the first to tell you her gubernatorial run is not exactly a serious political move, but she has, perhaps inadvertently, proven how wild and outrageous this process has become.

Is she qualified? I don’t mean to discredit her, as I do not actually know much about her, but my guess is not at all. However, the other big name candidates have not shown themselves to be exceedingly experienced or sincere either.

Although the California race is merely one example, it seems to me that politics has ceased to be about politics at all, but rather who can best entertain the audience. Who here has the most shock value? Who here has won our affections at some other time in some other forum?

While the porn queen of California has little to no chance of actually winning this election, she certainly has succeeded at her goal. Though she may not have a prestigious title or a fancy-pants, government-paid mansion in sunny Cali, she undoubtedly has more money and more fans now than she did when starting out. In this instance, she wins either way.

Now, what do we get?

Well, we get our daily dose of feral gossip in grand scale. We get our traditional Hollywood-style entertainment for the week. More importantly, we get an excuse to hold another insane, outrageous recall two years after this one.

– Niamh wants you to e-mail her, so do so at nikaslev@umich.edu.






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