Monday, October 15, 2007

Idle threat of the week

Like athletes and musicians do, actors and politicians seem to have a mutual admiration/professional envy society.

And why not, as both acting and running for office require fakery, charisma and the ability to memorize lines. The difference being you usually have to be very attractive -- or at least interesting looking -- to be an actor, and you can't be rock dumb, or suffer from a complete lack of self-control and survive as a politician.

The actor/politician admiration manifests itself when politicians hang out with actors, accept their endorsements, bring them on the road, and allow them to make speeches on their behalf. The actors do their part by dropping horrifying hints about the impending Beatty or Affleck administration.

Although, just as the public chuckles dismissively when Shaq or Ron Artest cuts a record, and when Garth Brooks or Master P tries to make it as pro athlete, they are equally skeptical of any kind of actor/politician overlap.

Not only that, but such public ties can end up as electoral negatives. For that reason, in this latest cycle, politicians have been begun staying away from Hollywood endorsements.

If actors can't work out their political jones on the trail, they can still do so in the studio by making movies about their favorite pols. At least that is what Democratic party activists George Clooney and Leonard DiCaprio are going to do when they star in the movie adaptation of a play based on the 2004 presidential run of current DNC chair Howard Dean.

The Dean character will be played by Clooney. Some might see this as a stretch, but I think there is enough of a resemblance that I wouldn't think twice if I was told Dean is Clooney's slightly retarded older brother. DiCaprio will play a character based on new-media communication guru Joe Trippi. While they couldn't look less alike, not enough people know who Joe Trippi is for that to matter.

Occasionally the public will endorse a meld of Hollywood and Washington by falling for an actor turned politician. Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger come to mind. But, overall, a public that is reluctant, if not resistant, to vote for a politician because a famous actor tells them to, will also be reluctant to watch a movie about a well-known contemporary (and theatrical) politician played by a well-known contemporary (and political) actor.

This back door technique to move us a step closer to at least the impression we are both being ruled and entertained by the same interchangeable elite clique has been elected the Idle Threat of the Week for October 8 to 14th. A vote that is sure to be reconfirmed by the movie going public when the Dean film is released in 2008.

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