Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Arnold Gets Two Thumbs Down

Like lots of Californians, I thoroughly enjoyed the bitch-slapping Arnold received at the hands of the voters yesterday. While I actually wanted Prop 77, the redistricting reform, to win, there is something viscerally satisfying about seeing a strong man humbled, a pleasure that was definitely in play in this election. I think that all the pundits really underestimated how much of this vote was driven by star psychology; the love Americans have of seeing once-adored celebrities brought low. This election had as much to do with the recent implosion of Tom Cruise's career as it did with the issues; like Cruise, Arnold was seen as having overstepped his bounds, of committing hubris, thus giving us all the chance to bring him low in a collective action of jealous schadenfreude. We love to set up our bad boys, who flaunt their egos and bend the rules. But we also love bringing them down hard. Call it the soap opera factor, but I think that political class just doesn't get how much elections are driven by the emotional relationship individuals have with the celebrity status of the politician in question. This doesn't just happen with ex-movie stars who run for office. Much of the collective feeling towards the Clintons is also driven by the dramatic story arc of their personal lives and how they are perceived. That's why, in a recent RNC pushpoll, a friend of mine was asked "How do you feel about Hillary Clinton?" "Does she make you angry?". George Bush's recent plummet in the polls has much to do with how his fumbling around after Katrina strayed from the script Karl Rove had written for him as the anti-intellectual "man of action".
What every politician needs these days is what actors have always needed in Hollywood; a good story. Arnold's latest chapter was a real dog. Just like Cruise shitcanning his Publi-sister this week, Arnold should start looking around at his entourage. Someone needs to put this project into turnaround.


Post a Comment

<< Home