In entertainment and politics, what choices do we have?
There's a consistent cycle in pop culture and politics that I find reassuring. It's nice to know in these troubled times that we can count on two things: self-destructing pop starlets and lying politicians. North American culture would disappear overnight without these two stalwarts bolstering our lives.
For instance, I feel immeasurably better knowing that both Britney Spears and Dalton McGuinty are out in the public sphere, doing their respective best to maintain the traditions of their respective trades.
The current pin-up girl for public meltdown is Britney. Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian were contenders at one time. Lindsay had her run-in with coke and rehab. Paris actually had to go to jail, an unusual situation for a rich person. Kim Kardashian's sex tape was “leaked” somehow, and now there is speculation that she's had butt implants to improve her public profile. These women make scads of money doing exactly what we expect: looking pretty and/or bad on camera, involving us in their sex lives, and generally existing in a world that turns most people green with envy, whether we care to admit as much or not. We build them up (with the help of the media), tear them down, build them up again, tear them down anew, and with each news cycle the rhetoric gets increasingly nasty.
That this phenomenon is focused almost entirely around women seems to be forgotten. Talentless bimbo pill-popping sluts, what right do they have to be famous?
Take the recent scrutiny surrounding Britney's MTV performance (which MTV has erased from its memory banks, literally). She was lip synching poorly (we liked her better when she lip synched properly), looked bleary and not quite as buff as in the past. After the confused and poorly choreographed routine the slam session began and continues. Pile on, everyone. It's fun. Come up with the most vicious commentary you imagine and have a contest amongst your friends, or post your thoughts online. That should make you feel better. Try not to imagine what you'd look like prancing around on stage in a sequined bikini in front of a couple million people (shameless in print flirting: I'll make an exception here for the waitress from the Out Back Shack who was serving me drinks while I wrote this story. I'll pay for her sequined bikini and rent the stage). I'd be taking Quaaludes with a tequila chaser, too, when faced with that situation, and I haven't even had two kids.
So while we're all more than happy to pick apart the lives of these well known women, we're equally unwilling to pay even the slightest attention to our politicians beyond the typical “They're all liars.” Pop starlets are all hot, generally untalented, multi-millionaires, whose talents are superficial at best.
Politicians like Dalton McGuinty are elected representatives of the people of Ontario. They actually do more and have the potential to do more to affect our lives than a hundred Britney clones ever could. That our elected reps make and break promises is not news. They do it all the time and on the eve of every election. They get caught in scandals, say things they don't mean, make promises they know are unrealistic and it's all considered part of the game. The difference between John Tory and Dalton McGuinty, for instance, is so slight and malleable on a day-to-day basis that we stop bothering to ask them how they plan on working together to make this a better province.
The question would stump most politicians. I know, because I've asked the question before, and will again in the future. Nothing confuses a politician more than asking them what they'd do to work with their enemies. I'd like to see the liars working together, at the very least, because it's not realistic to expect them to stop lying altogether.
So while the media and the opposition parties hammer away at Dalton and his Libs for their broken promises, the lies, we Ontarians are left with the bills and no options unless you happen to believe the NDP is ready for another shot at governing the province.