Tuesday, December 16, 2008

American Monarchy

Kos is peeved at Caroline Kennedy:

It's clear that a significant contingent on this site believes that Caroline Kennedy should be senator because her last name is "Kennedy", and because they "like her". It is unseemly that she's being considered for the seat simply because of her family lineage and her ability to pick up the phone and ring the governor, but pointing that out is "bashing Caroline". It's all ridiculous, and yes, depressing.

Because as much as people on this site and others fight for a more small "d" democratic political system, one that isn't so tilted in favor of the rich, famous, and connected, there will always be a significant majority that is desperate for an American monarchy and will discard notions of meritocracy to reward their favorite political dynasty.
The answer, I believe, is simpler than that.

People like familiarity. People are comfortable with familiarity. They prefer to be ruled by those they think they know instead of those they find alien. (Obama is a master at making people think they know him; he doesn't buck this at all.)

And who, honestly, is more familiar than a celebrity? People often know more about celebrities than those in their own lives. They're told news about them daily, know every detail about their habits, and they're features on the television, which has always been arbiter of what's important, significant, and acceptable among Americans. The stuff on television is more real than anything in the real world.

In these frightening times, it's quite understandable. Why wouldn't people be attracted to rule by familiar celebrity? Why not an American Monarchy that's knowable and predictable?

Even if you don't agree with it, it's not a complicated concept.

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