Wednesday, September 3, 2008

George W Bush and Obama: Flight suits and making a Hollywood President (part 2 of 3)

Continued from Part 1 of 3>>

Both Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have been cast as Hollywood characters. Who better to sum this up than 2 bonafide Hollywood icons. In describing Obama's stadium acceptance speech, Chuck Norris derisively described Obama as a Hollywood creation:
'Puff, the Magic Obama!' by Chuck Norris
...he won the all-time governmental convention award for the best over-the-top political spectacle of sight, sound, speech and pyrotechnics -- complete with superstar performances, "Braveheart"-like epic music, and an Olympic-sized fireworks show...
Will Americans really not see beyond his illusory performance? America, we are being duped again by fluff and folly, glitz and glamour, and hype and Hollywood.

Not to be outdone, Sylvester Stallone compliments John McCain for embodying the same heroic qualities of his iconic movie characters
Sly Stallone and other celebrity Presidential endorsements
I like McCain a lot. And you know, things may change along the way, but there's something about matching the character with the script. And right now, the script that's being written and reality is pretty brutal and pretty hard-edged like a rough action film, and you need somebody who's been in that to deal with it.

Both candidates will be continuing the Hollywood Presidency of the past 8 years. It's not entirely Bush' doing, 9/11 was so unbelievable that even Hollywood never dared imagine it. An attack so audacious, rousing so much collective anger and solidarity that for most observers there was no frame of reference. This generation is decades removed from the World Wars and Cold War, this coupled with the advent of New Media means the understanding of war is no longer gleamed from living witnesses or even textbooks but rather Hollywood and Video games. For many, Bush' poise under such a devastating and breathless time would have evoked and stirred emotions we may have only artificially felt in the movies.

George W Bush' bullhorn moment, September 14th 2001

If you were to view that time through the lens of a movie, Bush' landing and address on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln would be the feel good finale. George W Bush perfectly casting himself as the Hollywood president, but not just any kind. Not the romantic or virtuous American President but the Action-Hero President. Best embodied by ID4's President Thomas J. Whitmore. What Frank Rich dubbed "The Bruckheimer presidency".
The Jerry Bruckheimer White House
...a popular incumbent who, for all his obvious unease with a teleprompter, knows his message and is exploiting TV more cagily to send it than any president in history, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton included.

The Bush presidency might well be the Jerry Bruckheimer presidency -- after the hugely successful producer of 'Armageddon', 'Black Hawk Down' and 'Top Gun' the movie re-enacted by Mr. Bush in his flyboy landing on the Abraham Lincoln.

Bush' performance got rave reviews, from even the unlikeliest corners. MSNBC's Chris Matthew's gushed "I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits.". CBS's Bob Schieffer admitted "We saw a little showmanship that we haven't seen in a long time in politics, and frankly, I think that's kind of good."
Read a summary from The American Thinker

Though not always attributable to the Bush Administration, this age of War and terror has featured many Hollywood style episodes.
1) The Hollywood-like operation to save the valiant Private Lynch was made for the cameras
How truth was edited in saving Private Lynch
Her rescue, however, will go down as one of the most stunning pieces of news management conceived. It provides a remarkable insight into the real influence of Hollywood producers on the Pentagon's media managers, and has produced a template from which America hopes to present its future wars.

2) Hollywood set designer develops media-friendly backdrop for CENTCOM military briefings
Ex-Marine Josh Rushing on his Journey from Military Mouthpiece to Al Jazeera Correspondent bring in a Hollywood set designer to set up a stage for a general to give war briefings from. It tells you you’re in a new stage of the information age, doesn’t it?

Listen to the interview here

Look for the final chapter to see how a possible future Hollywood Presidency might look like.

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