Courtesy: Google Image
"Washington is Hollywood for ugly people." Unknown
When I went to college in the early 90's I wanted to become a writer... actually a journalist writing political editorials. The first thing I learned is that they don't want writers with opinions, they want typists. I wound up taking one journalism course in which I did learn one thing... In the future information would become almost like a type of currency- what would decide success in many cases would be information... a two-tiered system of information-rich vs. information-poor juxtaposed against one another; something that proved true but not in the way I thought. What we have is an extension of Edward Bernays' use of propaganda at a rapidly accelerated pace.
At that time the internet was still more or less in its infancy- it was up and running but lacked the sophistication and speed of what we have now. As technology advanced it allowed a number of sources to stream a constant bombardment of information- and the MSM was at the forefront... Propaganda now has the ability to travel at the speed of light.
Nothing is more important in establishing a cult of celebrity than propaganda- i doubt that it would be any exaggeration to say that propaganda is the foundation of any cult.... Particularly when the "product" is a cadre of people who pretend to be other people for a living... empty, attractive (for the most part) shells driven by self-love and hedonism giving political advice to shallow adoring sycophants. They have another purpose, however... Bernays saw the potential of "star power" as a marketing tool to sell products and as far as consumerism goes they accomplish it admirably. Now the product range has expanded into the realm of politics... or perhaps it's always been there but it's the pitchmen who have changed. It's this socio-political propaganda that makes them truly dangerous.
Consumerism/Hedonism as a model for political/social organization, both driven by a hierarchy of artificially engendered needs (actually wants) driven by the constant barrage of a 24/7 media cycle puts consumers in a constant state of trying to "keep up with the "DiCaprio's," or any other of the social icons. Actors, musicians, sports figures, et.al. set the pace... overpaid hedonists with an almost unending supply of money make it impossible to keep up materially, so the material is replaced by an attempt to emulate the lifestyles of these egotistical, immoral self-promoters... people without any moral compass- moral relativists and hedonists... driven by a warped sense of self- both as an individual and as a member of a larger society.
It's this warped version of individualism that is most troubling as it gives rise to movements driven by irrational self-interest. As Eric Hoffer so amply put it: "There is a fundamental difference between the appeal of a mass movement and the appeal of a practical organization. The practical organization offers opportunities for self-advancement, and its appeal is mainly to self-interest." This seems particularly apropos as it relates to the artificiality of consumerism and consumeristic politics and the hedonistic moral relativism that it embraces. The character (there's that nasty word) of these social icons has evolved (devolved?) over time. For example during WWII many of the male stars enlisted and served their country. The women opened the Hollywood Canteen to entertain the troops and also sold bonds to support the effort. Could you imaging any of today's self-aggrandizing "tough guys" actually putting themselves in harms way?
There's always been a measure of hedonism in the entertainment industry- but it used to be a hedonism tempered by some measure of morality- a moral compass of sorts. Now things have spiraled out of control... "as long as it feels good, it's ok." Actresses such as Miley Cyrus indulge in antics on stage that would have made prostitutes of 100 years ago turn away in shame... and these are the people kids look up to- and more problematic, get political advice from. Is it any wonder it seems like the country is falling apart?
As consumerism focuses on satisfying the ego materially, the same dynamic applies to other facets of life... more and better cars- more and better clothes etc. morphs into more and more-depraved sex. The MSM propaganda machine pushes aberrant lifestyles 24/7. The Bernays propaganda machine fueled consumerism massaging the ego through the acquisition of material goods... the propaganda machine of today massages the libido churning out a message of constant sexual stimulation- one focused on self-love and self-gratification... If it feels good, it must be right- morality be damned! Morality is relative to the individual after all- isn't it???
The individualistic liberty envisioned by the Founders has given way to licentiousness- self-gratification and self-absorption. The "new individual" in all of his multi-gendered splendor is replacing the family as the fundamental unit of society. This illusion of self as a social unit is the antithesis of the concept of the individual envisioned by the Founders. The notion of the individual is predicated upon responsibility and morality. Conversely, the notion of self is based on ego- a member of a mass of similar egos driven by hedonistic impulses. This phenomenon is evinced in the rampant skewed "individualism" beginning with Generation X, if not before... A group that dresses identically, uses all of the same mannerisms and language- a social homogeneity with a common mantra: "I want to be different, just like everybody else."
This egoistic self-image is what drove the National Socialism in Germany in the 1920's and 30's. The concept of the ego as part of a larger social unit... propaganda is the tool employed to ensure success. Just as the cult of celebrity today drives America's youth, the same dynamic was used by the Nazi propagandists... the only real difference is technological. As it was in Germany, American politicians have become political celebrities- empty suits, making empty promises- empty unattractive shells driven by hedonism and self-aggrandizement. A symbiotic relationship has emerged between Hollywood and Washington to a point where the lines between the two have become blurred... "Hollywood for ugly people" indeed. Thanks Mr. Bernays!
GIF by @papa-pepper