Occasional commentator Mike writes:
I am interested if you saw P.Diddy's Palin thing. What's your vote? Best youtube clip ever? Worst? It's easy to deride it was ridiculous; it's an unskilled rapper conflating the Koreas and insisting there's no crackheads in Alaska but don't you feel that America is currently within some kind of perplexing pop-culture epoch and this election is either fueling or being fuled by said epoch; an epoch where P Diddy on Palin makes sense?; "Post 9/11", I believe pop (especially music) has actually been quite good and politically-alluring; years from now people will (hopefully) look back and define the Bush administration via the "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" mantras of 50 Cent before they turn to Neil Young, Green Day, or (insert any Fat Wreck Chords-ish band here)
I always liked that observation by Garry Wills from his book on Nixon that people elected JFK because tthings sucked under Eisenhower, then when things didn't get any better, people decided to rebel against the system as opposed to the politician. This social-theory probably explains the justified criticisms of Clinton from the Left ie Seattle/1999. However, unlike the post-JFK era, Clinton-time represented a COMFORTABLE kind of rebellion:the breezy, neoliberal 90s. the time history forgot-the era where one could talk shit about the IMF while listening to Blackstar and contend that the most pressing social-issue to befall humanity was possibly the breakup of Lifetime. Nowadays, everybody is a critic hellbent on proving that theyre more clever than the dyslexic president and instead of fighting against the human-rights violations of economic institutions, we're fighting for, oh i dunno, the constiution not being shredded, prisoners of war not being tied up and shat upon, Iraq not being converted into a parking lot, our phones not getting tapped, roe v. wade not being eradicated, death, destruction, decay, etc etc etc. what effect does eight years of THAT have on a culture? Eight years devoid of subtle analysis. just filled with cold, hard simple facts and visceral, justified (yet often embarrassing) reactions. Now there is a vp-candidate who loves ak-47s and hates abortion and people are chanting "USA!" in an arena like its the 1980s and Hulk Hogan just bodyslammed the Iron Sheik. It doesn't even feel like real-life anymore.
Which brings me to P. Diddy, who is the perfect person to comment on Sarah Palin, just like Paris Hilton was the perfect person to make a fake political-ad; the man who once infamously rapped that it didn't matter if he actually wrote his own rhymes because he "wrote checks", got political during the bush administration just like everyone else and led a charge to "VOTE OR DIE", when he probably meant to say vote AND die. His ascendancy from amusing, pampered pop-star to celebrity who voices political opinions via youtube is a flip that's unremarkable. its like an ex-drunk born-again becoming leader of the free world or a snarky creationist being defined as feminist. cold sweat creepout, indeed. In addition to having the ring of a cool band name, I suspect it could end up being the ultimate three-word summary of what will otherwise be known as the post-W era. Especially if McCain gets elected and we're all one heart-attack away from Robocop as Tina Fey leading us into Iran.