February 26, 2007

Oscar As Metaphor



The Academy Awards?  Weren’t they that trifle which momentarily interrupted Hollywood’s launch of the new blockbuster: Mission Impossible IV: No Dems Left Standing?

How perfect.  Just three days before the awards show, and TIME plays the hype to imagine Hillary as Bette Davis, the “great but aging actress” in All About Eve, and Obama as the (female) ingenue looking to take her down.

Besides the specific typecasting, what could be more thematic than likening Democratic candidates to actors playing actors.

Maybe I’ve been in Europe too long, but really, I could care less about David and Maureen and the Hollywood – Beltway mafia and their personal bones to pick (or the MSM’s John Wayne “conventional logic” that you’re not a viable candidate unless you can repeatedly kick somebody’s ass.)  What I do care about is how the media eggs this stuff on to profit off the entertainment value.

If the most repeated question about the Hillary-Obama dust up was, who came out on top, the larger answer, as one looks down the road, is “nobody.”  In it’s place, however, what is well under way — however many months and months we are before the first primary — is the trivialization of the entire Democratic field.

If this first pic — taken just before the State of the Union speech — was simply offbeat a month ago, paired with the All About Eve reference, it works like a political IED.  (At least, for the Clinton campaign.)  I mean, how much charge could you pack?  You’ve got the caricature of the thin-skinned, unapproachable, hysterical and vindictive Hillary next to the lower, but nothing to lose, and suddenly not so Bambi-ish Obama.

And then, rounding out the two-and-a-half candidate picture is some comic relief.

Really, I’m still shaking me head over this pic.  You would think an article featuring

Edwards as the main beneficiary of the Hillary – Obama hostilities would make Edwards look somewhat winning, right?.  Once again, however, the NYT falls to the inclination to make JE look like a twit.

(image 1: Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME. Washington January 23, 2007. time.com. image 2: Stephen Jaffe/Agence-France Presse.  published February 23, 2007. nytimes.com)

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Michael Shaw
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