The game rolled out by the RNC today called "Who Said It? The Celebrity Edition" takes a quote, and makes you choose who said it between three Hollywood-famous types and Obama, my favorite quote being: "Who knows what a hitch ball is? This is a hitch-ball cover. We don't know what a hitch ball is. Anybody know?" It's harder than you'd think.
Given the prevalence of the big c-word this week (that's celebrity, dirty minders) and the fun-meaning yet controversial nature of the game, Liberty and I found ourselves at odds on what to make of it, so here we go: She Said, She Said: Obama vs. The C-Word.
Citizen: Perhaps the question is not what a celebrity is, but the behaviors we associate with someone seeking fame — rather than someone seeking service. Lest we forget, that's the essence of all of this. This game is designed to be a lark (and it is) but truth under it remains: famous is, as famous does. There are scads of people who behave as, and we follow as "celebrities" who don't follow any definition of celebrity — but because they act the part, and we respond accordingly. "Celebrity" is not tied to wealth, or fashion, or time on screen. Celebrity is the cultivation of adoration, plain and simple, and Obama has that in spades.
Anyone seeking fame knows they have to be seen by as many people, as often as possible, regardless of propriety — and the stunt of giving his nomination acceptance speech in the Thunderdome-setting of Denver's Mile-High stadium, affecting rock concert rather than party business, is an appalling display of hubris that completely circumvents the meaning of humbly accepting the nomination to serve one's country. There is a difference between political showmanship, and spectacle bordering on farce.
How many covers of Us Weekly and People has John McCain graced? None have crossed my desk, but I know of at least two Obama covers, (including the issue that hit the week before this ad was released) plus a fashion spread, plus debuting his kids' first interview on Access Hollywood. Not Meet the Press, not C-SPAN — but a show specifically designed and devoted to following celebrities. Ahem. I call your Maria Menounos and raise you a Scarlett Johansson. Obama is, and carefully curates, that very celebrated image.
Don't agree with me? You're in luck. To see what Liberty has to say,
Liberty: With this quiz the GOP has invented its very own convenient definition of
celebrity: Barack Obama. As the celebrity narrative pushes on, the media happily turns away from the facts that: McCain is married to a blond heiress, wears shoes worth half a grand, has hosted Saturday Night Live, and had a movie made about his Vietnam experience. And today we have news reinforcing the notion that the GOP is the party of big business, but Obama is the elitist, arugula-eating celebrity, right?
What's even more disheartening? When you stop looking at Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, the facts in the celebrity ad are false. For example, Obama never said he wanted to raise taxes on electricity.
While the GOP tries to tell Americans that they should be skeptical of a
candidate that gets them, and other people around the world, excited about the US and their future (a pretty impressive feat after eight years of apathy and cynicism), it distracts voters from finding the candidate that has a better substantive plan for America. And that campaign tactic is more sizzle than substance.