September 18, 2008

The Celebrity (Who Happens to be President)

Many weeks ago, John McCain started his "Obama is a Celebrity" strategy. I found this move to be genius. And while I don't like McCain's campaign I applaud it for having a better sense of the power of celebrity than Obama's campaign does. As I mentioned before, Sarah Palin is a prototype celebrity. And by both using the celebrity image as a tool to benefit their campaign, and damage Obama's, the McCain looked smart.

But there is a problem. McCain is a bigger celebrity than Obama. He might not have the screaming crowds, but he is a bigger movie star.

In his book Life the Movie, Neal Gabler talks how entertainment conquered reality. This is what McCain is using to drive his campaign forward. Here we have a man who was a fighter ace (Top Gun,), who was shot down by evil villains (Any POW camp movie), tortured but didn't cave in (Jack Bauer), and was eventually freed. He went on to lead to become a senator and run for president (he got the girl and the money along the way as well). His story is chronicled in this film, which the poster is featured above, and the trailer below.

Obama doesn't have his own movie based off his life. Why? Because Obama's life, while exciting, would be a serious Academy Award Winning drama (think a movie like "The Queen") McCain's would be a summer blockbuster ("Top Gun"). And more people go to see summer blockbusters than watch the Oscars.

So at the end of the day, McCain has a movie star story, has been featured in movies and television like Wedding Crashers and "24." He can call Obama a celebrity, but he's the one who wants to be a movie star.

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