by Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network, 9/24/2006
I’m sure you’ve seen him these past weeks. He is everywhere. On The Daily Show, in a 23-page interview in The New Yorker – his core constituency, they love him at The New Yorker, and give him the kind of treatment usually reserved for Churchill – on the cover of The Huntington Post, on Fox News Sunday; Elvis here, Elvis there, Elvis everywhere. Elvis has not left the building. He is staging a comeback.
It is one of the core mysteries of life that certain people seem to resemble famous others. When he first appeared in the world outside
When I worked in the South they used to say about Elvis, “He never should have married that Yankee woman.” Caused him to want to rise above himself and cursed him to chase it back throughout his life in
For some things there is no explanation. Perhaps Elvis was
The curse of celebrity took him. But it was not an addiction to the drugs and the women which brought him down. It was an addiction to himself. He’d come to see himself as a god-king, and when people called him the King, he’d scold them and remind them onstage that Jesus Christ was the King. But then he dreamed too that he was Jesus.
Celebrity is a killer. When The Beatles first played large stadiums it made John Lennon nervous. The tens of thousands of teens screaming and crying hysterically, some taken out in a trance in ambulances. And it gave him the creeps that they rolled in the sick and the crippled to the front rows as if The Beatles were healers.
It is not only pop stars who fall victim to it. Politicians, religious figures, even scientists do. It is a kind of persona madness; a conviction that one’s public role in the world becomes the true self. The adoration of the hordes becomes a personal conviction: I must be a god king if all these millions think I am. It is a core theme of some of Rudyard Kipling’s and Joseph Conrad’s best work, perhaps because the Victorians were most susceptible to it.
Even Einstein suffered from it, possibly more than most. He adopted some of the most tragically misguided ideas of the century; the passing fancies and affectations of
I was at the first
Now that the country has been shamed and disgraced by practices abhorrent to every wave of
The few who have spoken out clearly have been marginalized by the big bucks Nantucket Democrats who get their news from The New Yorker. Why does he speak out now? Because the many Bill Clinton appearances this Fall, coordinated with a full blog roll on the internet by Hillary apparatchiks, along with the rumor last week that Clinton Democrat Terry McAuliffe (“Terry McAuliffe?,” commented Marcos of the Daily Kos) had been hired by Senator Clinton for her Presidential shot next year, are a coordinated effort to begin Senator Clinton’s rise to the Presidential race in 2008. McAuliffe said he would raise 100 million dollars to that effort and he let it leak to the press on Capitol Hill.
No doubt he can. It should be considered scandalous to exploit an issue like torture or Karl Rove’s bullshit for political advantage, but we have passed that marker long ago. Nothing is scandalous to these people. Everything is marketing.
It seems to be backfiring. On the Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace this morning
Giving away a billion dollars is getting to be a pretty cool thing. Everybody Bill Clinton knows now since he became President practically has that much money. But, somebody tell these guys: Cool is passé. It has been now for a full generation. It was Kurt Cobain, the innocent waif and god-king of a whole generation since which began with his anthem: “I’d rather be dead than cool.”
Is there any way that someone like Bill Clinton can be led to understand that there is something preposterous about him thinking that he is the man at the Center of the World, and that his trendy, but aging and post-seasonal friends can start their own UN? Can someone tell him that he can’t stop global warming or cure AIDS because he gets Mick Jagger to hang out with him?(Mick Jagger?)
Bush’s ratings have gone up considerable in the past two weeks. My own theory is that a misconceived quote by a careless Pope with a Medievalist bent had an unintended, pneumonic, feeling effect and as it appeared to offend Muslims, likewise it appeared to millions of others who instinctively trust in his traditional authority to have been a Bush endorsement. I think the new
Bill Clinton was President in a time of soaring hopes and rising economy. Half of the country was invested in the stock market. In this
But the country changed on 9/11. And the century changed and the millennium changed. The attitudes of the
History will pass them by. Charles Baxter today in The New York Times gives a more relevant picture. In reporting on
The campaign is in crisis mode, he writes. The race is between Michele Bachmann, the Republican, and Patty Wetterling, the Democrat, and it reveals a Bush-era national trend now visible locally. In
The Democrat, on the other hand, is “tame and pleasant and sensible” — conservative, that is. In the Democrat’s view “ . . . we are not in the end times but in a stable world shaped by well-financed public education, Social Security, benefits for veterans, a decent respect for the opinions of others, a reluctance to engage in foreign adventures, and balanced budgets.”
Baxter’s piece is prescient and shows the Democrats in a position to make progress in the country by accentuating the solid values of
This is what Tibetans do. When someone dies, they put a little boat a stream and light a candle in it. As the boat goes down the stream, the candle burns, and when the candle is out, the loved ones left behind go on with their life. But all things die and nothing dies – the day passes on to a death and so does the millennium. Tibetans make no distinction. They likewise let go of these and avoid attachment, which locks them into a figment of their imagination, and let go of the past as they let go of mother’s hand.
The Democrats should put a candle in the boat – two candles – and send it down the river. And go forth into the world in peace and good hope with new eyes and new ideas.