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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

Devin Toohey | Pop Culture Gone Bad

Three weeks ago, I voiced my hesitance culturally over Obama winning. I rescind that statement. I'm sick of John McCain and his cronies invading my television set and would like to see them banished like oh-so-many "Power Rangers" monsters-of-the-week.

Joe Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, has a record deal. What the hell has our country come to?

Originally, I was willing to write this ill-advised sponsorship off into the realm of William Hung and Samwell (remember "What What (In the Butt)"?), but the more I thought about it, the more it troubled me. Hung and Samwell are talentless, flash-in-the-pan symptoms of where pop culture has failed us, but Joe the Plumber is much worse. Over the course of the past few weeks, he has shown himself to be small-minded, racist and so radical in his attacks on Obama (e.g. "a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel") that even Fox News has called him out on his malarkey. This man is the walking embodiment of "the stupid American" and the reasons why most other civilized countries don't respect us.

And yet, he's getting a record deal. Why? For kitsch value? Because our culture has decided that anyone who gets more than a few mentions on the evening news is obviously so worthy of our attention that he should continue to be shoved down our throats no matter how despicable he is? Have we lost the ability to discern who's amusing because of stupidity and who's actually a horrible person? Joe the Plumber should not be getting a record deal! Darn it, I wish he were not even in my column. For once, I think we Americans should embrace our puritanical roots and shun him.

And then, of course, there's the man who turned this boorish dullard into the celebrity every-man (a phrase about as oxymoronic as "mass-produced counter-culture"): John McCain. I think I'd rather sit through a marathon of Michael Bay movies before the special effects than see this guy as president.

What has made me sick over the past few Saturdays has been watching the Arizona senator and his vapid piece of running mate eye-candy blatantly pandering to the American youth. Every non-risky skit on "Saturday Night Live" was a disgusting plea for free ad time, to appeal to the youth of America not through any plan that won't screw them over, but by saying, "Hey look! We can be funny and cool!" What happened to Obama being the celebrity, the rock star, the Paris Hilton?

And shame on Lorne Michaels for having the two on his show and treating them with kid gloves! Alec Baldwin's anti-Palin tirade was about as soft as you could be while not waving a "Country First" sign. He essentially did the equivalent of being told to denounce the last eight years and only saying, "Hey! Bush said 'nuclear' wrong!" Why not hit McCain and Palin with more biting lines when they were on the air, instead of becoming more duplicitous than Harvey Dent, mocking Palin one episode and then all but kissing her feet when in her presence? The only people I can commend are those who were honest and booed McCain. I'm not saying I support booing veterans, but it was refreshing to see just the slightest bit of sincerity among all the false supplication and spineless exploitation.

As I finish this column, I just want to utter a prayer that a few pages before there is not a headline about McCain getting elected. Because at the moment, it seems that he's dragging any and all forms of culture, pop or otherwise, into the mud.

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