Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 396, December 3, 2006

"A Future that's worth looking forward to."


by Chris Claypool

Credit The Libertarian Enterprise

What does the breakup of the marriage of Pam Anderson and Kid Rock and the serial foot-shooting of the House Democrats have in common? I am most surely not alone in having said to myself a few months ago that "that marriage won't last" and "send in the clowns." So why did two such volatile, self-absorbed B-listers decide to get hitched, and why did Nancy Pelosi flush much of her political capital down the toilet by backing Jim Murtha for House Majority Leader and Alcee Hastings for Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, when all indications were that both nominations would crash and burn as badly as the aforementioned nuptials? Both Murtha and Hastings have skeletons in their closets, and both Anderson and Kid Rock have stormy pasts in the relationship department.

In my opinion, both are cases of a perceived infallibility, of expecting to always get their way in life. The people designated as "stars," regardless of which entertainment industry they are in, tend to believe the hype put out about them, even if their own press agents handled it. (Yes, politics is entertainment to many; it is huge profit to a few and a pestilence to the many as well.) There is no penalty for movie/television/music luminaries who act like two-year-olds: "I want what I want, how I want it and when I want it!" Usually, quite the opposite; any publicity is good publicity, except for insulting some ethnic or religious groups. (Although the jury is still out on Mel Gibson's stupid tirade against Jews, Michael Richards is pretty much toast, barring a miracle. Stupid is as stupid does. Like John Kerry, some people shouldn't try to tell jokes. But I digress.)

By all accounts, Ms. Pelosi backed Murtha because the other candidate for Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (a Representative from my home state of Maryland), is a political rival of hers. And the other potential nominee for the chairperson of the Intelligence Committee is Jane Harman, who is a rival of Pelosi in the California delegation. I'm sure that Ms. Pelosi is thinking, "I was the victor; where are my spoils?" It must be frustrating to have worked so hard for the position (Speaker of the House) she will attain in January, with the power to reward friends and punish enemies (in theory), and have to surrender to the reality that some other Representatives have power also and that some choices are just plain bad. Her expectations were as inflated as King George's expectations for a favorable resolution in Iraq. (Sorry for the off-topic cheap shot, but with what I get paid, cheap shots are the most affordable ones for me to take.)

"Stars" and other people in the public spotlight often seem to believe that, since they have adoring fans, they themselves are actually lovable, even irresistible, to all. Why else are there so many whirlwind romances between pairs that seem to have nothing in common except vanity? I suppose some are looking for a more personal love from a perceived peer (can't be sure who is a gold digger, eh?) than available from screaming crowds, and some such antics are for publicity's sake. But the size of the egos involved leads me to believe that, more often than not, they just want to have some part of their life that is their very own, to be shared by one other only (until the kids come along). But with great publicity comes great lack of privacy (sorry, Spidey). No one can reasonably expect to live a so-called normal life while being hounded by paparazzi (which have a symbiotic relationship with these people).

Nor can those who attain political power reasonably expect to wield that power in a vacuum. There are others, with more or less or about the same amount of power, who are also swinging their fists, and sooner or later someone's nose gets in the way. There are complex power relationships in any government, whether elected or dictatorial, and the perpetual game of "king of the hill" never ends. The difference between political people and pure entertainment people is (as in so very many things) choice.

I can, thankfully, choose to largely ignore the antics of the entertainment crowd. I may deplore the amount of money and attention lavished on these people, but in the marketplace of preferences, I am a clear loser on this score. Same goes for professional team sports. But the politicians have set up the game in such a way that everyone pays, whether you are interested or not (Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.—Pericles (430 B.C.)). I can refuse to buy the tabloids and watch E!, I can ignore professional team sports, but I cannot ignore the politicians. Oh, I suppose I can ignore them personally, but I cannot ignore their minions (don't you love that term!) in the IRS, BATFE, DEA, OSHA and so forth. Not and remain free and at large.

I am not the first to propose the following, but we would all be better off if each member of the House and Senate were paid some outrageous sum of money to stay away from Washington, DC, and refrain from passing any legislation that did not repeal some law. The salary could be an average of what is paid to professional major-league baseball/football/basketball players, with a bump up for party leaders such as incentive payments for repealing over a set number of laws, just like the athletes get for being statistically superior in their field. Just think of it, no new laws and the regulations that follow them; no new pork, no new interference with our lives, and the possibility of getting rid of some of the old laws.

But I'm expecting something that cannot be.


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