2020 preview: Oscar winner Barack Obama? Defense Secretary Stephen Colbert?
The once well-defined boundary between politics and the celebrity-media complex is already blurring beyond recognition.
It’s the year 2020. The world has changed a bit, but not as much as you might expect. Bono is the secretary-general of the United Nations. President Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Terminator in chief (yes, we changed the Constitution for him). Barack Obama has just won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony in the same year for his entertainment supersensation “Obama: the Musical Extravaganza,” which premièred in theaters nationwide and on MSNBC, Broadway, and iTunes simultaneously. Sarah Palin is a right-wing media mogul extraordinaire; her cable network, RogueTV, draws millions of adoring viewers nightly.Skip to next paragraph
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“Superstar,” “policymaker,” and “pundit” are synonymous.
Sound far-fetched? It shouldn’t. Because as 2009 draws to a close, the once well-defined boundary between politics and the celebrity-media complex is already blurring beyond recognition.
Take a look around you. Celebrities want to be politicians. Politicians want to be celebrities. With every passing day, another movie star decides to become a self-appointed expert on a pressing policy issue; another politician turns into the newest media sensation.
Take the Obamas. Barack appeared on the November cover of Men’s Health magazine. Michelle will soon be featured in an episode of “Iron Chef.” A Twitter feed, Facebook page, and Flickr photo stream keep us abreast of their every waking moment, just like with the Kardashians – America’s favorite reality TV family. Overexposure much?
Or how about Jenny McCarthy? The former Playboy model and MTV host has become the spokeswoman for an emotionally heated and widespread campaign against childhood vaccinations. Using a special diet and health regimen, Ms. McCarthy supposedly healed her son of autism, which she contends – in defiance of the best clinical, substantiated evidence – was caused by toxic vaccines. By 2020, of course, we’ll count former nude models among our most revered medical policy experts.