High heels and hokum
October 9, 2008 | I'm beginning to understand why thousands of people are turning out for McCain-Palin rallies: It's the same reason people go to professional wrestling matches. Professional wrestling is basically a stunt show mixed with show biz.
McCain-Palin rallies are campaign show biz. They're live entertainment, and unlike wrestling they're free, an important consideration in these dire economic times. You can vicariously express your own frustration through the fiery rhetoric and predictable applause lines. And it's like a revival meeting — audience participation is expected. Boo! Yeah! As the crowd is worked to a fever pitch you can suspend reality and imagine avenging your grievances and indulging your dreams. Ah, show business!
Political rallies and professional wrestling have another thing in common — they're both fake, although some political rallies are more fake than others. The McCain-Palin rallies have a great deal more fakiness than most. No one in their right mind believes all that ominous drivel about "Who is the real Barack Obama?" any more than people believe all those bodyslams, atomic drops, body scissors, and flips are actual sport. Granted, there may be a lot of people at McCain-Palin rallies who are not in their right mind.
There's an important difference, however. Wrestling promoters arrange matches with preliminary bouts leading up to the main event. In the McCain campaign Sarah Palin has become the main event, although McCain is supposed to be. Many reports note a steady stream of people leaving the rallies as soon as Palin is done speaking, not hanging around to listen to McCain.
I was struck by pictures of a McCain rally showing McCain on stage with Palin and McCain's wife and daughter standing behind him. It reminded me a lot of the old Charlie's Angels TV show: "Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy. And they were each assigned very hazardous duties but I took them all away from all that and now they work for me. My name is Charlie." Although the show bore his name, it was never about Charlie — he was never even seen full-face and he never went out to fight the bad guys. It was all about the angels with their hair, their leather, their buxom bodies. It was jiggle TV in its hey-day.
The McCain campaign is all about Palin. Besides her and the flag, there's "no there there" (to borrow a phrase).
Charlie's Angels lasted 5 seasons. McCain has lasted 25; it's time to take him off the air, too.
European football matches (soccer) are also known for their fiercely loyal fans. Unfortunately, those matches often descend into mayhem and violence ("hooliganism"). So far that hasn't happened at any McCain rallies, but there's three more weeks to go.
Last updated on Apr 13, 2018