ABC, owned by Disney, lived up to its parent company name last night, and the network ought to be sued for false advertising regarding the debate. By holding the debate in constitution hall and starting each segment with quotes from the constitution, the audience was made to feel it was witnessing an historic event, or minimally, some serious public dialogue.
Far from it.
Even Barack Obama was caught off guard. Here’s a guy who is trying to take the cartoon out of politics and was confronted with 90 minutes of the Roadrunner. Obama was hit with with so many figurative pianos and falling vaults that i almost expected to see the roadrunner beep beeping along side him on stage.
Jean Baudrillard wrote that disneyfication of politics strips politics of its real and original character, and replaces it with a more sanitized version.
“Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation.”
Last evening was a spectacle in which lapel pins rather than the constitutional rule of law signified patriotism; condemning comments about bitterness rather than having a basic understanding of the economy signified whether or not a candidate was qualified to lead us out of recession; and questions about affiliations with former members of the 60’s radical weather underground replaced discussions about the real terrorists in pakistan, afghanistan and saudi arabia. And affiliations with Reverand Wright replaced torture and domestic spying as signifiers of unethical and immoral behavior.
It offered the most juvenile politics in its most crass, zero sum form, where complex issues were reduced to afterthoughts and questions were framed so as to appeal to the audience’s lowest, most carniverous appetites.
So, the real test for ABC was whether Donald and Goofy (george and charlie) facilitated the required number of train wrecks as to please advertisers. For the rest of us, and for at least one of the candidates, rubbernecking quickly turned into a pain in the neck.