Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Celebrity Smackdown

It’s the day before Lent, and I’m struggling with what to give up or take on this year.

Dark chocolate is a distinct possibility, as I’ve developed an almost carnal attraction to it, and the thought of having to get through forty long, sleepy afternoons without a few bites seems, while not quite alone-in-the-desert wretched, pretty darn bleak. I could give up wine, but I’m due to leave tomorrow for a few days in California with the fabulous Group B (more details in coming posts), and since drinking wine is one of the points of these gatherings, it would almost seem rude to arrive and ask for club soda.

I could also take on something, as I did last year when I volunteered to “teach” the four- and five-year-olds on Wednesday nights at church. This did in fact turn out to be educational -- I learned that I don’t like other people’s four- and five-year-olds nearly as much as I liked my own children at that age. This should not have surprised me; no one is at their best at 6:30 on a midweek night, especially when they’ve missed their nap. (I’m not talking about the kids, I’m talking about me.) While I don’t think I harmed any child’s future, I’m guessing Jesus would suggest I try another discipline this year. I will note that I offered both comfort and edification to one rather nervous little girl who, midway through my reading of a bizarre storybook about a little boy who witnessed some terrible things happening to Jesus on the way to the crucifixion, raised her hand and asked, “Is this story going to have a happy ending?”

But, as is the case every year, I also feel I must give serious consideration to the cessation of saying mean things. I am pretty sure this is what Jesus would pick for me, and therefore I am giving it serious consideration, although I suspect doing so would have quite the dampening effect on my particular blogging career and would also be a lot harder than giving up dark chocolate or wine. Still, being nice is undergoing an eleventh-hour surge in popularity among the alternatives my conscience is considering, and therefore I must act quickly to get the following thought off my chest:

Why on Earth should I care who Robert DeNiro and America Ferreira are voting for on Super Tuesday?

Monday's decision of these two “stars” to endorse Obama and Clinton, respectively, had zero impact on my own decision, as I’ve been leaning toward Obama for a year and made my mind up for sure after Bill Clinton acted despicably in South Carolina. (Talk about someone who needs a nap!) But if I hadn’t already decided, the announcement that Robert DeNiro thinks Obama is the best choice would have meant absolutely nothing. Likewise Ugly Betty’s campaigning for Hillary.

I suspect that most people are like me, and frankly don’t give a rip who any movie star is backing. (Now Oprah is different. Any woman who can get people to read books is one to watch.) If that’s the case, and these endorsements were announced in the mistaken belief that we care, it suggests that Robert DeNiro and America Ferreira both have egos the size of the SpongeBob balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Some of you may say “duh,” but I for one had more faith in people who make classic movies like “Meet the Fockers.” (See, I told you I was thinking mean thoughts.)

But let’s consider a scarier alternative. What if Bobby and America are right, and there are in fact people out there who will decide that since Ugly Betty has braces and they have braces, Hillary will make a damn fine president? Or men who go around saying “You talking to me?” in voices that sound not the least bit like Travis Bickle’s who decide that Obama’s their man because “Bobby” says so?

I would dismiss this possibility out of hand, but Arnold Schwarzenegger IS the governor of a very big state, and Fred Thompson got pretty far down the road to being taken seriously as a statesman because he showed those Yankees a thing or two on Law & Order. And standing behind Mike Huckabee at every speech I’ve seen him give has been Chuck Norris, for gosh sakes, and a blonde woman who I’m pretty sure used to be the model Kim Alexis before she became a Huckabee prop.

Still, I think big egos are more likely the reason for celebrity endorsements. I suspect the candidates are secretly horrified (“Oh, that’s so nice of you, but really, you don’t have to. Really.”) Except for Huckabee, who probably has some sort of special action-star envy a man develops when he’s spent most of his life shopping at the Big & Tall store. Someone needs to tell Mike Huckabee that Chuck Norris just doesn't lend a lot of gravitas to a campaign. Oprah could whoop Chuck's ass any day.

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