Hail to the Chief Celebrity? That's Politics Mixed With Entertainment

Nevertheless, it is likely to continue, even intensify. Gary Indiana, novelist, essayist and author of Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt, says the importance of celebrity in politics has become even more extreme since the celebrity governor of California was elected in 2003. Some people deserve to be celebrated, he says, and Schwarzenegger has turned out to be not the worst governor California ever had.

"The celebrity factor is in direct proportion to the unhappiness of most people — the greater the misery, the more powerful celebrity becomes, because people want to escape reality," Indiana says. "But in this culture, anyone can be a celebrity.

"All you have to do is put a new face out there, take a catchphrase that means nothing and repeat it endlessly, and people will be distracted the same way a bull is distracted by a matador's cape."

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