Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This is fun.

The top six rock and roll stories in the world right now are as follows (as the Breaking Rock News guy, I have to go through all this):

#1 - Noel Gallagher gets attacked by a fan onstage in Toronto.

#2 - The Allman Brothers are teaming up with the Grateful Dead to do a fundraiser for Barack Obama

#3 - Jon Bon Jovi and his wife threw an exclusive, super-expensive fundraiser for Barack Obama.

#4 - Boy George releases a song in support of Barack Obama

#5 - Ann and Nancy Wilson issue a cease and desist letter to John McCain for using their song "Barracuda"

#6 - Brian Wilson endorses John McCain

For more details, visit: http://www.chez106.com/news/brn/

So...aside from the Oasis story, which is insane, there are a bunch of presidential race campaign stories. Which are insane. Speaking of insane, the Republicans now have two musicians on their side. Ted Nugent and Brian Wilson. Kinda. And the Democrats have...everyone else. And this got me thinking this morning. How come this makes the news all over the place, and yet has no discernible effect on the actual presidential race? And it occured to me that this is the biggest problem with America. Here it is:

Americans (and, to a lesser extent, Canadians) are a celebrity-obsessed culture. They love their US Weekly and their other tabloids. They love tmz.com and perezhilton.com. When Angelina Jolie is spotted picking up a baby stroller at Bouncin Babies Buggy Boutique on Hollywood Boulevard, and the picture makes it into People magazine, online orders of that very same stroller shoot up 900 percent. Jessica Simpson gets a new hairdo? Millions of young girls show up at school with that same hairdo the next day. E.T. follows a trail of Reeses Pieces? They become the hottest selling item in the world. And no one personifies this more than Oprah. If your product gets a slot on the Oprah's Things I Like show, you have hit the jackpot. After three months of selling your particular Oprah fridge, you can retire to the Carribean and never worry about Jessica Simpson again. If Oprah puts you in her book-of-the-month club, your sales skyrocket and you may never have to sit down at that cumbersome typewriter again. If Oprah contracted scurvy, you would see millions of women figuring out a way to cut Vitamin C completely out of their diets so they could be just like her.

And yet - Oprah endorses Barack Obama, and - nothing. There seems to be no noticeable blip, no definite advantage in the polls. And I'm wondering why. If Americans are so eager to do whatever celebrities say, why are they so reticent to follow the lead of their idols when it comes to politics? And granted, the celebrities who endorse a particular candidate are, for the most part, blowing steam and don't really know what they're talking about. But then there are the ones who do. Like Oprah. Or Bruce Springsteen. Heck, even Bob Dylan has weighed in here for the first time in his life. And that, believe it or not, is kind of a big deal. Pretty much every celebrity in the world is endorsing Obama. (With the exception of Chuck Norris, who is so saddened at the defeat of Mike Huckabee in the Republican primaries that he is sitting at home crying into his beard. And as we all know, his tears cure cancer. So even this helps the world.)

So what gives? How is Obama not putting together an insurmountable lead in the polls? Well, it seems to be because the American people believe that celebrities may well know the best handbags to own, or the best fridges to purchase, but they refuse to listen when it comes to politics. On some level, the people believe that politics is more important than Reeses' Pieces, so they ought to listen to someone who knows more about the subject than Chuck Norris. So they watch Bill O'Reilly. Who may well understand the world less than Chuck Norris. Bill O'Reilly's tears cure meat.

But isn't this an amazing load of hypocrisy? To ignore the opinions of your favourite celebrities, simply because they are celebrities and this issue is too important to be left in their hands? When you will flock out and buy a mynah bird simply because Jennifer Aniston's mother's neighbour owns one, and yet you won't listen to Jennifer Aniston's political endorsement, you are a hypocrite. The reason for this is you, the purchaser of this mynah bird, are already a glazed-eye observer of pop culture, and therefore you are extremely pliable. You are merely choosing who you will allow to ply you. And therefore you are a member of the vast majority for whom style and flash counts over substance and message. Perhaps you hear from Sean Hannity that Obama is a secret Muslim. And you hear from Pat Robertson that you should hate all Muslims, secret or otherwise. So your mind is made up. Or you hear that Sarah Palin's seventeen-year-old daughter is pregnant. And you remember Bill O'Reilly saying, a few months ago, that when Jamie Lynne Spears got pregnant, her mother was to blame. Well, you can put two and two together, and you won't be voting for her ticket.

You see, it's one and the same. Unless you're willing to delve deep into the issues, read Newsweek and Time and your local newspapers and books and internet columns (not this one - it isn't very informative), and watch CNN and MSNBC and even FOX "news" and come up with a real opinion, one that you hold and not one that is created for you by pundits and critics and campaign groups and internet smear campaigns, you may as well just ask your favourite celebrity. Find out who Bo Bice is planning to vote for, and just follow along. Frankly, it would be hypocritical not to.

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