...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, August 18, 2003
      ( 1:59 PM )
Are YOU Talkin' 'Bout US???

Thanks to Maru for pointing us to this editorial in the WaPo from the weekend. Evidently, the rest of the world isn't as gullible as our own media and consumer-citizens. Of course, that's been obvious for quite a while now. But just to drive it home, it seems the spectacle of Schwarzenegger's run in California has added one more nail to our miserable, leaky coffin:

In Saudi Arabia, the editors of Arab News see Schwarzenegger
as the son of Ronald Reagan.

"Reagan's success heralded the arrival of presentation
as the prime consideration for successful politics. In a
sound-bite media age, political savvy by itself is no longer
enough. A high degree of stage management is necessary
and who is better qualified to walk into the limelight and
deliver the right lines on cue than a professional actor?"


Yet for an America that seems to be finding it increasingly
hard to separate reality from Hollywood's fictions
, it must be
hoped that Schwarzenegger is given the thumbs down by
California voters and is sent back to his day job in the film studios."


In Israel, columnist Larry Derfner, writing in the Jerusalem
Post, had much the same thought.

Schwarzenegger's "debut as the instant favorite in the race
for governor of California only confirms the world's opinion of
," he wrote. "They like violence, power, revenge, riches,
success and fame, and they don't know the difference between
real life and fantasy, between real people and characters in
an action movie

"As for their politics, it amounts to 'looking out for number one.'
They don't have a society and don't want one. The world outside
America's borders is irrelevant to them except as a threat or a target. "

But Derfner says the real precedent for Schwarzenegger
is George W. Bush.

"Bush also gets over on his image as a terminator, a blaster of
bad guys, a man with a swagger, an action hero who delivers
killer one-liners ('Bring 'em on!'). What are his politics? We're
good, they're evil. Taxes are evil. Now did you get all that, or
do you need some help?"

It's sobering to know that the rest of the world isn't buying our crap, even while we do. Ultimately, this could be our greatest tragic flaw (among others): that we cannot see our own stupidity and mistake it for wisdom. I think our country may need to take a Carnegie seminar or something. We're not doing too well at that whole "make friends and influence people" thing. Of course, why bother when we can just blow them up if we don't like them?

UPDATE: Compounded by the great impression we're making in Iraq. We're not as pretty as we think we are.

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