There's a popular feature in most gossip magazines that rates celebrities as "normal" vs. "not normal" or "diva" vs. "down to earth." This is supposed to humanize the stars and make celebrity followers feel better about their empty idol worship. Paparazzi catch "normal" famous people in candid moments -- taking out the trash, scarfing down hot dogs, goofing around with their kids at the playground -- and magazine editors compare them to photos of "not normal" celebs in elitist repose -- walking with their umbrella carriers, surrounded by seven bodyguards and three nannies, boarding their Gulfstreams, etc.
The fatal flaw in the tabloids' Obamas-as-next-door-neighbors propaganda, of course, is that unlike the candid shots of normal, down-to-earth celebrities without makeup or entourages, the photos of the Obamas in "normal" mode are all carefully choreographed fauxtographs.
While Snobama complains about "bitter" rural voters who "cling" to their guns and religion and moans about the price of arugula in his candid unscripted moments, JustLikeYou&Me Michelle cunningly brags about buying her sundresses at discount retailer H&M and, with studied casualness, tells reporters that she doesn't mind if the kids' beds aren't perfectly made. Uh-huh.
The Obamas do everything but pick their noses for the cameras to mimic Real People bona fides. The Obamedia stenographers in the celebrity press -- and the mainstream press, for that matter -- eat it up. And so do the American people. Former Star magazine editor Bonnie Fuller, citing a poll showing that more adults would like to invite Obama to a summer barbecue than McCain, hailed the Obamas in Advertising Age as the "Brangelina of the political world."
Obama and his political paparazzi are banking on people's stupidity and his cult of personality to carry him to the White House. Unfortunately, the odds are in his favor. Just try talking to one of the millions of people with their noses buried in People or Us about Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers, his flip-flops on the Iraq war surge and his reckless naivete regarding Iran, and you'll see what I mean.
The exclamation of a journalist at the UNITY minority news media gathering this weekend sums up the star-struck reverence that fuels the Obama phenomenon: "He touched me!" And yet, he's sooo "down to earth."
Hurtling toward a government of the stupid, by the stupid, for the stupid we go.