- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2008


In today’s self-absorbed, celebrity-drenched American culture, it didn’t take long for the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to clutter the election landscape. Sen. John McCain may believe linking the celebrity style of Sen. Barack Obama with that of useless, overindulged folks will score points; he sadly is “so 20th-century” (“McCain ad rips celebrity Obama,” Page 1, Thursday).

We are a nation in thrall to 24/7 celebrity sightings and happenings and have become numbed to vital, substantive news. The line is smudged between importance and hype. Celebrities are famous for being famous and reside in a frothy, superficial world. Mr. Obama - definitely a “celebrity,” thanks to his world-tour exposure - hardly inhabits the flummery of a Spears or a Hilton.

Nevertheless, Americans are loath to move outside their comfort zones and want to be liked everywhere. Watching the adulation of Mr. Obama abroad was welcome relief from the recent, contemptuous rhetoric of “freedom fries” and “Old Europe.” Most people are fascinated by the famous, so it’s doubtful Mr. McCain’s swipe at Mr. Obama will carry much weight. Yet I, for one, deplore our plugged-in way of life because it has placed a presidential candidate on the same stage with two silly women of no consequence.





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