Special Report By Casey McCabe
Someone once said that politics is show business for ugly people. Say what you will about the two men whose faces will be filling those Orwellian screens this summer — George W. Bush and Al Gore — they won't frighten as many children as say, Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon might. Going purely on their photogenic qualities, George and Al could have been plucked from Central Casting.
And what are they doing again? They're locked in pitched battle to become the most powerful man on Earth. Really. It's true!
So why isn't anyone watching? I mean, other than the fact that the major networks no longer bother to broadcast the political conventions. Shouldn't this be the apex of Reality TV? Kind of like a "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue House?" Or the "Big Brother Championship Round?"
Politics and Show Business most often mix at fundraisers, where A-list Hollywood stars shine their light on the Democratic candidate and confess concern for Tibet, education and families that can't afford good live-in nannies. Leaving Tom Selleck to shake hands with the celebrity-starved Republicans. It's far more rare that Hollywood uses the drama of a political campaign to actually make a movie. And I guess we shouldn't be surprised. Not even a best-selling book, a red-hot John Travolta and all the free publicity in the world could keep "Primary Colors" from floundering at the box office. Warren Beatty reportedly had to exercise a contract clause to force the studio to make "Bullworth." The best of the recent lot was a little film that dared call itself simply "Election." Which could have been subtitled Everything I Needed to Know About Politics I Learned in High School. But even making the candidates fetching teenagers didn't bring in the multiplex droves.
So while Hollywood likes to flatter itself by getting the starstruck eyes and ears of powerful politicians, it's learned that politics is poison to its very lifeblood. And what has Washington learned from Hollywood? Production values, for one. And the importance of following a script.
And now we're back to why no one is watching Campaign 2000. I think it's because both parties appear to be using the same really, really bad script.
© 2000 - Casey McCabe - Air Date: 8/2/00
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