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Politics/Celebrity

Once again, I found our class discussion/workshop of celebrity politicians to be insightful and interesting. Each of the groups came up with good theses to explain the phenomenon of the celebrity politician (although I think my thesis was in fact the weakest of those put forward...)

Here's some questions to think about or respond to in the comments (or, as always, feel free to continue our in-class discussion topics): is the phenomenon of the celebrity politician something that is increasing, decreasing, or unchanging? How has the role of the popular culture celebrity in politics changed throughout the twentieth century? What, if anything, is the difference between a star's fans and a politicians supporters? How do popular culture celebrities claim to have the authority necessary to represent voters in politics?

Comments

Another thought I had about celebrity status and its affects on a political career concerns whether there is some merit in the idea that celebrities are elected because the public thinks it will be interesting and exciting to have such a figure in a politician's position. Not that they are elected solely because of name recognition, connections, and financial advantages. It sounds like an odd idea but some people like to pursue the question, “What would happen if this celebrity was put in this position?? It is almost as though voters want simply to see what the outcome will be. How will they deal with these new pressures? Of course, this is not the only reasoning behind a celebrity being elected to public office but it is something to be considered.

I think there has definately been an increase in celebrity politicians over the last 30 years; Ronald Reagan, Shepard (astronaut), Hoss from Bananza, Arnold, and Jesse to name a few.

But what I think has changed the most in 20th century politics is celebritizing politicians themselves. Since the introduction of television into politics, appearance has become crucial in elections--the debate of JFK's appearance winning the presidency over Nixon's.

Similar to celebrities' fans enjoying their appearance, I think politicians can have fans (or foes) resulting from their appearance.

I also think that electing celebrities to office is the result of people becoming tired of the same old Dem-Rep system. Most celebrities have little political science training, giving them the appearance of being able to bring a "fresh" idea to government. Now, anyone who isn't a politician could do this, but I think a celebrity's popularity allows people to identify that person--they aren't sending Joe Blow to Washington, they are sending Ronald Reagan.....

I think that the phenomenon of the celebrity politician is definately increasing. Today in our society we we constantly surrounded by differnt forms of media that revolve solely around celebrities (magazines, tabloids, TV.)If a celebrity decides to run of political office, they're going to get much more attention from the media than the average joe would. Because of this, fans turn into political supporters, which makes the celebrity have an unfair advantage.

Ii is interesting to look at the phenomenon of celebrities getting into politics whether it be through running for a position or just having rallies to vote. I am curious if this is more of a new phenomenon or if this actually has occured throughout the past as well