jeudi 31 juillet 2008

John Wayne vs. Paris Hilton

July 31: Paris, FR In John McCain's explosive assault on Obama's possibly Middle Eastern "oily" foreignness ("more foreign oil"), his supposed status as "the biggest celebrity in the world" and McCain's pairing of Obama to Paris Hilton, we are erotically hurtled into a re-instigation of Roland Barthes' (in)famous reading of Greta Garbo's face, now, in its postmodern apotheosis, for here we find not "Platonic Idea" vis a vis Barthes'voyeuristic masturbation about/over Garbo, but rather a postmillenium, post-Viagran American impotence and simulacra: the ever-available hotel heiress who is famous for nothing but fame, opulent as a five-star (Hilton) hotel suite and as every bit as unoccupied as well; thus, rather than simply conjuring the frightful, implied taboo of the African-American male (O-bama) coupled with this svelte uber-blonde of American fantasies, McCain's television ad re-draws the strict duality of celebrity within which Americans must operate and ogle: (1) the phallic celebrity (qua the Lacanian Real) that is to say the cowboy-John Wayne-cum-Rambo "real life" male conqueror, and (2) the Lacanian Imaginary celebrity, qua, the blow-dried blonde diva of the "big screen," though, in truth, the "real life warrior" is more often a fiction (cf Ronald Reagan, Dick Cheney, George 'Mission Accomplished' Bush, et al) while the supposedly 'fictional' screen-diva-celebrity (cf Marilyn Monroe, Lindsay Lohan) turns out to have a more empirically, fleshly, existential reality (Paris Hilton's frail frame, Britney's eating disorders). Thus the ad backfires on McCain-the-celebrity-warrior by re-minding viewers of McCain's nebulous VietNam "heroics" (off screen, unseen, imprisoned and fictionalized into the ether by the passing decades of VietNam films) as compared to Obama's much more overt "reality" (Rolling Stone covers, Berlin Wall speech) a celebrity-present, every bit on the order of Paris Hilton in its tall, detached, long-legged and lean Reality and every bit as media-monitored as Britney Spear's own Real campaign(s) of self-rehabilitation.

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