Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mr. President: My Sink Leaks

Reuters UK reported today that British supermodel, Kate Moss, recently mistook the British Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, for a plumber.

Cameron, when asked by a friend, while at a social function, if he'd like to meet Moss, enthusiastically said yes. The politician, nerves aflutter, could think of nothing to say, so began to ask about her experience with recent flooding in her hometown. After a few moments of conversation regarding the floods, and damage to Moss' home (and those in her neighborhood), Moss said, "God, you sound like a really useful guy, can I have your phone number?"

"I went back to my table and said 'The good news is, I met Kate Moss and she wanted my telephone number'," Cameron told chat show host Michael Parkinson on ITV television on Friday.

"The bad news is I think she thinks I'm something to do with drainage."

The story implied that perhaps Moss should be embarrassed. I, for one, am proud of her.

Shawna, the other day, was pulled into some conversation about politics. She leaned over to me and asked, "Are we Democrats or Republicans?" I imagine that were Vice President Cheney-or perhaps even President Bush-to walk into a private party we were attending, Shawna would ask to see their invitation; she simply pays no attention to politics, and has no intention of educating herself in matters political.

I only wish there were more like Shawna and Kate Moss.

Let me ask you this: would you be inclined to elect Britney Spears to some high public office? One of the Olsen twins? Or Lindsey Lohan, Michael Jackson, Mel Gibson, Nick Nolte, Michael Richards or Owen Wilson? All have demonstrated recently some troubling behavior. It seems that in showbiz, there's no shortage of folks who are on the fringe, "acting out," living on the edge. Does Hollywood attract these folks? Or does it create them? I'd contend it's the latter. Plenty of good people step into the Hollywood fame-making machine, only to come out the back side unrecognizably bent, a far cry from anything remotely resembling socially acceptable.

And what of politics? Washington is fast becoming to smart people (with Harvard law degrees), what Hollywood (or Nashville) is to beautiful (or talented) people. The quickest way to get rich and famous if you aren't drop-dead gorgeous and you can't sing a lick, is to get yourself elected to some high government office.

Because the deathly draw of fame has invaded politics. As proof, allow me to introduce President Bill Clinton, whose chief concern, as I recall, upon moving out of the White House was his "legacy,"-that is, would he be remembered?

Not convinced? Consider this; Barack Obama, United States Presidential candidate, appeared as a guest on NBC's Saturday Night Live on Saturday, November 4, 2007. But wait! Don't get too excited, you self-righteous Republicans. A few years back, Arizona Republican Senator, John McCain guest-hosted on the same show. In fact, Fred Thompson, another Republican Presidential hopeful, played a regular part on television's Law & Order.

Need more? Consider the current slate of Presidential contenders. Of them, Barack Obama, John McCain, John Edwards, Rudy Guiliani and Fred Thompson (as well as potential contenders Al Gore and Newt Gingrich) have all published at least one book. Often bringing an enormous payday to the politician-writer (like Hillary Clinton's near-record $8 Million advance).

What does all this mean? Merely that politics has turned into another venue for building fame. It's become, especially in the higher eschelons, a means to an end-at least for the politicians. Landing a top spot means recognition, respect, money and long-term security (really not all that different from landing a top role in a Hollywood blockbuster). None of these are, inherently, bad. But I'm convinced that, in the wrong hands, they can prove enormously damaging (consider President Clinton's escapades while in office, Congressman Tom Delay financial improprieties, or Senator Larry Craig's embarrassing dalliances-in an airport restroom, of all places).

It's inexplicable in my mind, but somehow, there seems to be some correlation between a rise in fame and the exhibition of morally repugnant (or at least embarrassing) behavior.

And so, somehow it seems it would almost be better if we could all be like Kate Moss or Shawna. If we didn't recognize a politician when he walked into the room-or at the very least, if we treated him just as we treat everyone else, perhaps they'd be more inclined to focus on their job instead of on advancing their own personal agendas.

On the other hand, I guess if my writing abilities alone aren't enough to see me published, I can always run for high office; I hear the book deals pay well.

1 comment:

Nan said...

PJ...high office...SCARY!!!
=)=)=)=)=) j/k