El laberinto de la soledad

09/07/2017

Primera edición (1950)

En el comentario de texto de la Selectividad me tocó un artículo de Octavio Paz. Siempre me quedé con el remordimiento de no haber escrito el circunloquio “el premio Nobel mexicano” (que omití al dar por consabido), que quizá me hubiera hecho ganar alguna décima de propina. Poeta y ensayista en español, acaso la academia quiso darle el premio que negó a Borges. Su poesía nunca me ha dicho gran cosa y a excepción de alguna lectura suelta como el programa de radio en el que supe de sus andanzas por la España bélica he permanecido lejos de su obra, hasta hoy que me ha dado por leer una edición vieja de El laberinto de la soledad.

Como se trata de un grupo de ensayos variado en el que se toca lo divino y lo humano entresaco diversos fragmentos que me han interesado. Por ejemplo este sobre los llamados “pachucos” de la fea ciudad de Los Ángeles, cuya situación identitaria me recuerda un poco a la situación de los maketos y charnegos del País Vasco y Cataluña en España.

Al iniciar mi vida en los Estados Unidos residí algún tiempo en Los Ángeles, ciudad habitada por más de un millón de personas de origen mexicano. A primera vista sorprende al viajero —además de la pureza del cielo y de la fealdad de las dispersas y ostentosas construcciones— la atmósfera vagamente mexicana de la ciudad, imposible de apresar con palabras o conceptos. Esta mexicanidad —gusto por los adornos, descuido y fausto, negligencia, pasión y reserva— flota en el aire. Y digo que flota porque no se mezcla ni se funde con el otro mundo, el mundo norteamericano, hecho de precisión y eficacia. Flota, pero no se opone; se balancea, impulsada por el viento, a veces desgarrada como una nube, otras erguida como un cohete que asciende. Se arrastra, se pliega, se expande, se contrae, duerme o sueña, hermosura harapienta. Flota: no acaba de ser, no acaba de desaparecer.

Algo semejante ocurre con los mexicanos que uno encuentra en la calle. Aunque tengan muchos años de vivir allí, usen la misma ropa, hablen el mismo idioma y sientan vergüenza de su origen, nadie los confundiría con los norteamericanos auténticos. Y no se crea que los rasgos físicos son tan determinantes como vulgarmente se piensa. Lo que me parece distinguirlos del resto de la población es su aire furtivo e inquieto, de seres que se disfrazan, de seres que temen la mirada ajena, capaz de desnudarlos y dejarlos en cueros. Cuando se habla con ellos se advierte que su sensibilidad se parece a la del péndulo, un péndulo que ha perdido la razón y que oscila con violencia y sin compás. Este estado de espíritu —o de ausencia de espíritu— ha engendrado lo que se ha dado en llamar el “pachuco”.

Como es sabido, los “pachucos” son bandas de jóvenes, generalmente de origen mexicano, que viven en las ciudades del Sur y que se singularizan tanto por su vestimenta como por su conducta y su lenguaje. Rebeldes instintivos, contra ellos se ha cebado más de una vez el racismo norteamericano. Pero los “pachucos” no reivindican su raza ni la nacionalidad de sus antepasados. A pesar de que su actitud revela una obstinada y casi fanática voluntad de ser, esa voluntad no afirma nada concreto sino la decisión —ambigua, como se verá— de no ser como los otros que los rodean. El “pachuco” no quiere volver a su origen mexicano; tampoco —al menos en apariencia— desea fundirse a la vida norteamericana. Todo en él es impulso que se niega a sí mismo, nudo de contradicciones, enigma. Y el primer enigma es su nombre mismo: “pachuco”, vocablo de incierta filiación, que dice nada y dice todo. ¡Extraña palabra, que no tiene significado preciso o que, más exactamente, está cargada, como todas las creaciones populares, de una pluralidad de significados! Queramos o no, estos seres son mexicanos, uno de los extremos a que puede llegar el mexicano.

Estos otros párrafos quizá no sean los más representativos de los que tratan la soledad, pero es interesante cómo la relaciona con la hombría y como la concepción mexicana de la virilidad (y por extensión la hispánica) se diferencia de otras al ser un rasgo de carácter, más que un resultado de la lucha. Educado en el ejemplo literario del Cid o de Machado partiendo al destierro nunca me ha dejado de sorprender que en inglés loser sea un insulto y que la derrota se pueda echar en cara a quien ha luchado como un hombre.

El hermetismo es un recurso de nuestro recelo y desconfianza. Muestra que instintivamente consideramos peligroso al medio que nos rodea. Esta reacción se justifica si se piensa en lo que ha sido nuestra historia y en el carácter de la sociedad que hemos creado. La dureza y hostilidad del ambiente —y esa amenaza, escondida e indefinible, que siempre flota en el aire— nos obligan a cerrarnos al exterior, como esas plantas de la meseta que acumulan sus jugos tras una cáscara espinosa. Pero esta conducta, legítima en su origen, se ha convertido en un mecanismo que funciona solo, automáticamente. Ante la simpatía y la dulzura nuestra respuesta es la reserva, pues no sabemos si esos sentimientos son verdaderos o simulados. Y además, nuestra integridad masculina corre tanto peligro ante la benevolencia como ante la hostilidad. Toda abertura de nuestro ser entraña una dimisión de nuestra hombría.

Nuestras relaciones con los otros hombres también están teñidas de recelo. Cada vez que el mexicano se confía a un amigo o a un conocido, cada vez que se “abre”, abdica. Y teme que el desprecio del confidente siga a su entrega. Por eso la confidencia deshonra y es tan peligrosa para el que la hace como para el que la escucha; no nos ahogamos en la fuente que nos refleja, ciso, sino que la cegamos. Nuestra cólera no se nutre nada más del temor de ser utilizados por nuestros confidentes —temor general a todos los hombres— sino de la vergüenza de haber renunciado a nuestra soledad. El que se confía, se enajena; “me he vendido con Fulano”, decimos cuando nos confiamos a alguien que no lo merece. Esto es, nos hemos “rajado”, alguien ha penetrado en el castillo fuerte. La distancia entre hombre y hombre, creadora del mutuo respeto y la mutua seguridad, ha desaparecido. No solamente estamos a merced del intruso, sino que hemos abdicado.

Todas estas expresiones revelan que el mexicano considera la vida como lucha, concepción que no lo distingue del resto de los hombres modernos. El ideal de hombría para otros pueblos consiste en una abierta y agresiva disposición al combate; nosotros acentuamos el carácter defensivo, listos a repeler el ataque. El “macho” es un ser hermético, encerrado en sí mismo, capaz de guardarse y guardar lo que se le confía. La hombría se mide por la invulnerabilidad ante las armas enemigas o ante los impactos del mundo exterior. El estoicismo es la más alta de nuestras virtudes guerreras y políticas. Nuestra historia está llena de frases y episodios que revelan la indiferencia de nuestros héroes ante el dolor o el peligro. Desde niños nos enseñan a sufrir con dignidad las derrotas, concepción que no carece de grandeza. Y si no todos somos estoicos e impasibles —como Juárez y Cuauhtémoc— al menos procuramos ser resignados, pacientes y sufridos. La resignación es una de nuestras virtudes populares. Más que el brillo de la victoria nos conmueve la entereza ante la adversidad.

Aquí una certera reflexión sobre el surgimiento de las naciones iberoamericanas tras el fin de la Colonia…

Las nuevas Repúblicas fueron inventadas por necesidades políticas y militares del momento, no porque expresasen una real peculiaridad histórica. Los “rasgos nacionales” se fueron formando más tarde; en muchos casos, no son sino consecuencia de la prédica nacionalista de los gobiernos. Aún ahora, un siglo y medio después, nadie puede explicar satisfactoriamente en qué consisten las diferencias “nacionales” entre argentinos y uruguayos, peruanos y ecuatorianos, guatemaltecos y mexicanos. Nada tampoco —excepto la persistencia de las oligarquías locales, sostenidas por el imperialismo norteamericano— explica la existencia en Centroamérica y las Antillas de nueve repúblicas.

…que continúa con el interesante ejemplo mexicano:

No es esto todo. Cada una de las nuevas naciones tuvo, al otro día de la Independencia, una constitución más o menos (casi siempre menos que más) liberal y democrática. En Europa y en los Estados Unidos esas leyes correspondían a una realidad histórica: eran la expresión del ascenso de la burguesía, la consecuencia de la revolución industrial y de la destrucción del antiguo régimen. En Hispanoamérica sólo servían para vestir a la moderna las supervivencias del sistema colonial. La ideología liberal y democrática, lejos de expresar nuestra situación histórica concreta, la ocultaba. La mentira política se instaló en nuestros pueblos casi constitucionalmente.

El daño moral ha sido incalculable y alcanza a zonas muy profundas de nuestro ser. Nos movemos en la mentira con naturalidad. Durante más de cien años hemos sufrido regímenes de fuerza, al servicio de las oligarquías feudales, pero que utilizan el lenguaje de la libertad. Esta situación se ha prolongado hasta nuestros días. De ahí que la lucha contra la mentira oficial y constitucional sea el primer paso de toda tentativa seria de reforma. Éste parece ser el sentido de los actuales movimientos latinoa-mericanos, cuyo objetivo común consiste en realizar de una vez por todas la Independencia. O sea: transformar nuestros países en sociedades realmente modernas y no en meras fachadas para demagogos y turistas. En esta lucha nuestros pueblos no sólo se enfrentan a la vieja herencia española (la Iglesia, el ejército y la oligarquía), sino al Dictador, al Jefe con la boca henchida de fórmulas legales y patrióticas, ahora aliado a un poder muy distinto al viejo imperialismo hispano: los grandes intereses del capitalismo extranjero.

Casi todo lo anterior es aplicable a México, con decisivas salvedades. En primer término, nuestra revolución de Independencia jamás manifiesta las pretensiones de universalidad que son, a un tiempo, la videncia y la ceguera de Bolívar. Además, los insurgentes vacilan entre la Independencia (Morelos) y formas modernas de autonomía (Hidalgo).

La guerra se inicia como una protesta contra los abusos de la Metrópoli y de la alta burocracia española, sí, pero también y sobre todo contra los grandes latifundistas nativos. No es la rebelión de la aristocracia local contra la Metrópoli, sino la del pueblo contra la primera. De ahí que los revolucionarios hayan concedido mayor importancia a determinadas reformas sociales que a la Independencia misma: Hidalgo decreta la abolición de la esclavitud; Morelos, el reparto de los latifundios.

La guerra de Independencia fue una guerra de clases y no se comprenderá bien su carácter si se ignora que, a diferencia de lo ocurrido en Suramérica, fue una revolución agraria en gestación. Por eso el Ejército (en el que servían “criollos” como Iturbide), la Iglesia y los grandes propietarios se aliaron a la Corona española. Esas fuerzas fueron las que derrotaron a Hidalgo, Morelos y Mina. Un poco más tarde, casi extinguido el movimiento insurgente, ocurre lo inesperado: en España los liberales toman el poder, transforman la Monarquía absoluta en constitucional y amenazan los privilegios de la Iglesia y de la aristocracia. Se opera entonces un brusco cambio de frente; ante este nuevo peligro exterior, el alto clero, los grandes terratenientes, la burocracia y los militares criollos buscan la alianza con los restos de los insurgentes y consuman la Independencia.

Se trata de un verdadero acto de prestidigitación: la separación política de la Metrópoli se realiza en contra de las clases que habían luchado por la Independencia, El virreinato de Nueva España se transforma en el Imperio mexicano. Iturbide, el antiguo general realista, se convierte en Agustín I. Al poco tiempo, una rebelión lo derriba. Se inicia la era de los pronunciamientos.

Breve balance histórico de la Revolución Mexicana:

La Revolución mexicana nos hizo salir de nosotros mismos y nos puso frente a la Historia, planteándonos la necesidad de inventar nuestro futuro y nuestras instituciones. La Revolución mexicana ha muerto sin resolver nuestras contradicciones. Después de la segunda Guerra Mundial, nos damos cuenta que esa creación de nosotros mismos que la realidad nos exige no es diversa a la que una realidad semejante reclama a los otros. Vivimos, como el resto del planeta, una coyuntura decisiva y mortal, huérfanos de pasado y con un futuro por inventar. La Historia universal es ya tarea común. Y nuestro laberinto, el de todos los hombres.

Breve balance histórico del comunismo que a menor escala me parece aplicable a muchas instituciones  y políticas que pretenden corregir las injusticias del mercado, pero que al final sólo generan mercado negro e injusticias mayores:

Los métodos de “acumulación socialista” —como los llamaba el difunto Stalin— se han revelado bastante más crueles que los sistemas de “acumulación primitiva” del capital, que con tanta justicia indignaban a Marx y Engels. Nadie duda que el “socialismo” totalitario puede transformar la economía de un país; es más dudoso que logre liberar al hombre. Y esto último es lo único que nos interesa y lo único que justifica una revolución.

Por supuesto hay mucho más de entre lo que destaco por lo leven una entretenida disquisición sobre la variación léxica del tema “chingar” pero además en el campo de las ideas: la soledad, la muerte, la destrucción del mundo politico y religioso precolombino, el catolicismo, la proyección de Europa en la Nueva España, sor Juana Inés, el interesante siglo XIX mexicano y la situación de lo que durante el XX llamábamos el mundo en vías de desarrollo,

Leo que hay ediciones posteriores que añaden tres ensayos a los ocho y apéndice de la primera. Intentaré hacerme con una de esas cuando vuelva a esta obra.

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Has politics become a minor form of show business?

05/12/2011

Politics is show business for ugly people

                                               Jay Leno.

1. Introduction

I would have preferred to start this essay with a quotation by William Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage, / And all the men and women merely Players; / They have their Exits and their Entrances, / And one man in his time playes many parts…” (Shakespeare, ‘As you like it’). This is one of my favourites but Shakespeare is, perhaps, too deep. And the world seems not to be deep; or at least this post-modern world, which is a world of surfaces, in which everything seems ephemeral and shallow.

The works of Shakespeare are eternal, but the world in which we live is rather similar to Jay Leno or his programme. Something we use and forget, so quoting him it seems more appropriate. Comparing the world with a stage is a great idea. In fact, Leno is using it adding a classification for the kind of audience that fits the political drama. Leno is funny, brief and sharp and this is appreciated nowadays. Shakespeare is wit, formal and slow, definitely does not belong to our era.

Shakespeare worked in the sixteenth-century show business and Leno is doing it now. Both introduce a lot of political features in their shows. There are differences of course, as Shakespeare catered for a few hundreds and the NBC reaches millions. And Leno is more conscious of his power than Shakespeare was. Still they are show business people. The most important difference can be found in the means they use to reach their audience.

The media had a very important role in shaping the world of the twenty-first century as we see it today: as a huge theatre. Media have being building our image of the world, which is so much as building the world itself in our minds. For many things, if does not matter if what we think is real or not, but which our beliefs and attitudes are.

The importance of the media is such that the have made our world to be one only stage in which everybody can be audience; many want to be players, but there is no time for everybody to act, so you have to be cunning and fast and smart if you want to be seen. If you are not seen, you do not exist. Everything happens under the light of the media.

Of course everybody is audience, but everybody is a player as well. (Or at least at some occasions)[1] Even the owners of this special theatre are players. So everything is confusing and blurred and a mess. We still think under old paradigms that were created to explain what it use to happen, but a lot of technological change and new needs have arose and the world is not the same any more. And our old ideas are not useful to understand it.

Media are not media any more[2]. They are not in the middle between politicians and society or between citizens and reality. They take part. They have interests or they are owned by people that have interests.

But we cannot identify show business with media. Perhaps media are not media, but business is always business (as usual) and that means money. Something dirty, something we would not like to interfere with our values. But it does. Show business is an ugly face of media, because is not guided by noble ideals, but directed to sell. Then, if politics mix with show business we do not like it, because it should be something higher. At least, news programs are supposed to be objective (are not they?) but also their border with entertainment is blurred. But, show business? We know we do not want politics to become it.

Why for ugly people? The sentence is very political in a sense. It seems to be advising people not to care about politics. Why should we? If we already have him to tell us what the world is about. To campaign in favour of the war in Iraq, for example[3]. Otherwise, we would turn into the natural target group of politics and politicians, the ugly people. Beautiful people watch funny programs. But it seems to me that beauty fades, and politics remain; and that Leno and others intervene from a political position. Politicians use programmes as Leno´s as a platform to help their interest. Everything quite mixed, blurred, confused. We are going to analyze it now, but the kind of wit Shakespeare and Leno had shown in building their concepts is a good metaphor to show the difference between the old politics and the new politics.

2. Politics

There is an old debate about what politics is. We can go back toGreeceto find a venerable answer to the question by Plato or Aristotle. Or we can stay closer and see in Machiavelli or Marx, if politics is about strategy to remain in power or about social classes. I would have liked to ask Schmitt if politics is about who rules or ask the sweet Hannah Arendt whether she still believes politics is a space of freedom in which we can grow together enjoying human diversity.

Even we chose the best theoretical frame, and then we would still have the problem that the frontiers of the discipline are moving continuously. So things that were not part of the political scope fifty years ago have become part of it now and vice versa.[4] But for the objective of this essay any of their definitions should suit. Actually, some sort of sentence like “everything is politics” could do.

We could discuss what people understand as politics. Probably, nothing very specific, something blurred. Perhaps, if we ask people what politics is they would identify it with a section on the newspaper, or with the first part of the TV news. In this sense, media play an important role in determining what politics is (something which is not sports or economy or society)[5].

If we blurred it completely, then there would be no possible solution for our research. So at least we need something which is specifically political: some actors, as people holding public positions and candidates on their way to obtain them, some institutions as the Parliament or political parties and some decisions of special importance to the society. From this neo-institutionalist point of view we can start to sort things out.

We also must say that we are going to check the kind of process in which politics becomes a form of show business in the Western-style democracies. Those political systems in which the flow of information goes from elite to mass and vice versa. This may not be so typical from authoritarian regimes, in which the information works only from above downwards. (Fagen 1966)

This cultural relativism can be criticized, but politics is about management of the social conflict, and the preservation of human life all around the world. This phenomena of banality in politics seems to belong to countries in which levels of well-being and individual freedom are so well assured that people are not very sharply affected by the kind of policies applied.

3. Show business.

I am ugly enough so that I can study Political Science, but for “show business” I had to look up in the dictionary. It said “those involved in providing entertainment: radio and television and films and theater”[6]. According to some other dictionaries the term is a little old-fashioned and derogatory, so the politically correct thing to say is “the entertainment industry”, also “showbiz” is a synonym, but does not make the concept look deserving of respect.

Sincerely I am not surprised of the negative connotation of the term, as in Spanish, my mother tongue, the English term is frequently used in a derogatory sense which implies frivolity, banality and so on. Then, associating politics to it implies some deficit politics has in relation to what it should be. I think there is some moral judgement implicit in the question. I will not try to answer to the question if this is bad or good. I would be happy enough if I can discover clues that demonstrate whether it happens or not.

4. Is show business politics?

Why if we swap the elements in the question? I think everybody would agree that show business has a lot of political consequences. We do not need to think of Reagan or the Philippines president Estrada (an actor and a singer that were elected Presidents of their countries) to realize that radio, television, and films and theatre can convey political messages. The American army is the most powerful Army in the world, they have bases in different countries.Hollywoodis something similar, it does not deploy troops and weapons, but it deploys stereotypes and values.

In a sense, everything is related to politics. But show business is so in a very special way as it owns and uses the same channels to transmit is product to us as the political actors do. Something that does not happen with, say, sport. Even if we try to make a political rally out of a football match, because “the means is the message” as Marshall Mc Luhan already said in the sixties, so whenever we are connected to it, we are getting something additional

For instance, Jay Leno is a political star. People watch him and people like him, so they are open to listen to his message. When Leno endorsed Schwarzenegger when he was running to become Governor of California. Surely, it affected the decision of some people for that election. When we have seen George W Bush entering Leno´s programme on a motorbike to have a chat with his pal Jay: that’s politics. Then, at least, presenters that have a lot of personal charm and can decide on the contents of their programmes have a lot of political power.

In Spain, Javier Sardá tried to follow the line of Leno´s programme in “Cronicas Marcianas” broadcast by Telecinco. During 2003 he was very hard against the Government of José María Aznar. A former collaborator, Manel Fuentes, started a show “La noche de Fuentes”, also on Telecinco and he invited politicians to talk about everything but politics. Some jokes about politics and a lot of what-is-your-favourite-dish questions.

We have seen Martin Sheen campaigning against war onIraq. We know the political activities of Glenda Jackson. The people of the stage enter the political arena. Joan Baez and other sang against Vietnam War; Bruce Springsteen and REM on tour, campaigning for John Kerry in this month of October 2004.

All those showbiz stars bring their charisma to the political stage. They know they have an influence on people and they use it. Sometimes, this use is conscious and planned. Sometimes it goes together with their work. Sometimes they are part of some larger process occurring in the long term.

5. Is politics show business?

This is the important question. If we say: nay, it is not, then politics will remain something serious and solid. Something reliable in which we can trust to solve the problems of our societies. If we say: yes, it is, then politics will be, or has become (or perhaps it always was) a product of our market economy. Something to use and dispose, something not to trust much, something that money and greed make work as most of the things. Nothing of it will be spiritual or high or noble.

According to what we have seen in the definition by the dictionary, politicians can provide with entertainment (and they do so), but this seems something accessory. We do not pay them for it. In some sense they belong to the show business, in some sense they do not.

I am not able to choose between one of those options. I would rather say that politics nowadays has acquired a lot of the elements of the show business. This is due to the fact that the capacity to transmit information has increased exponentially, but our time to process it has reduced in a rate that we prefer others to do the job for us.

Everything can be watched, so politicians are in the same position as the contestant of reality-shows as “Big Brother”. Even if they do what they would do in natural contexts, they are acting for the show business. They act, because people are watching. It does not matter if they want it or not.

Some politicians, as Kennedy, realized from an early time the power of the television. Now as the information is becoming multimedia, politicians have run to be the first online politician. Five years after the boom of the Internet is hard to imagine a significant politician without his own webpage.

Now, not only what they say is important. Also how they say it, or the suit they are wearing while they say it. And a lot of people demand very different things from them so they have to use different disguises to play different parts, as Shakespeare said. So, the patriotic suit (dark blue, with red tie that reminds the strips and stars) has become a uniform for the American politicians in patriotic moments. Or just jeans and baseball cap, so that American people can see they are normal Americans when they are at home with their families.

Sense of humour is another of those things that in the old times you just cared for when it came to friends and partner. Now we demand it from politicians too. Reagan was a good example, very good jokes. Felipe González had good sense of humour and a charming accent that helped him to remain in office for 14 years (1982-96). Now we can see them. Churchill was a moving voice in the radio with moving things to say. Now you can see the whole of the person. Sometimes voice and speech do not fit, or do not fit with appearance. In the EU summit is not nice if your President is not as tall as the others and so on.

6. Becoming a minor form

Has it become or has it not become? That is the question. Maybe, politics has not changed so much. Perhaps it was always this way. Something about concealing your real intentions behind noble ideals, this idea brings us back to Machiavelli. Or some way to show what you wanted to show. Rumours, complots and campaigns have always been there, we know them from Roman times.[7]

Of course, the development of the technology we use to transmit information and the extension of the political field to virtually everybody suppose a significant change, as in days of old, politics was the activity of a few and there was not much chance for an outsider to know what was happening. But were not they playing a show business for it? Perhaps politics has not changed, it is only played by more actors. The actors know more about the game and its rules. Same in football for children and for professionals, let´s say.

What I would not agree on is that politics is a minor form of show business. If it is at all, then it is the major of the show business forms. Because the most important plays are played on that stage. It can be minor in the sense that the core of politics is, maybe, not affected by the elements imported from the showbiz. In this sense, there is a hard core which is about beliefs, and plans and ideals, one that marketing and advertising cannot reach.

Perhaps Jay Leno is funny. Perhaps George Bush is also funny. But there is still a significant difference. Because the latter can freeze your salary, or send you son toIraq, or raise your tax level or decide on many important things of your life. So we can say there are non-political actors that hold political power, which is a power not exactly of the same kind the tradition political actors have. Actually, this power is very similar to the one the political parties in the opposition have: the power to denounce, to claim to influence the public opinion.

7. Conclusion

It is true that we can compare politics to show business, in the sense that they share a lot of elements. People from the show business enter the political arena. Politicians try to be handsome and attractive as if they were sex-symbols. They can even intend to play the saxophone so that we think it is nice to be ruled by them.

It has something to do with the classification of the types of domination designed by Weber. Even if in the Western world rationality prevails over tradition and charisma, charisma is still an important feature in politics. So outsiders from the show business can provide with plenty of it.

Also political parties are something very similar to corporations. They have a brand and a logo, and invest money and sell us hope. And the kind of advertising they use for their ideas and their candidates is very similar to what we should expect from any other company advertising a product. There are efficient designs and creative people that understands fashion and good-taste behind of that.

Everything has to be well cooked, but it has to appear in front of a camera. If the audience (if the citizens) do not know about it. It virtually does not exist, as a programmed we retire from broadcasting and put on a shelf.

But still, behind politics we find people fighting for what they think is fair. Or people trying to get a better world, or people that would not sell their ideas for a few more votes. There are people voting their whole-life party, because they are faithful to some ideals. For those politics is not something temporary or ephemeral or appealing. They think is a serious business even if it adapts to a changing world.

Basically politics is larger than show business, so the latter is more likely to enter the political field than vice versa. Even if Clinton played the saxophone occasionally to satisfy either his ego or his electors, even if Berlusconi has recorded a CD, I can see more examples of show business becoming politics than the other way round.

So my answer to the question has to be: No, politics has not become a form of minor show business (yet); even if sometimes it seems so. It has not because it is a major area of human life. We have seen several examples. We want to decide. We do not care if we are ugly.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CICERO, Q. T, Breviario de campaña electoral (Commentariolum petitionis) , Acantilado 2003.

COLOMÉ, G. Política y medios de comunicación: una aproximación teórica, 1994 available in www.diba.es/flordemaig/documents/cil/activitats/seminaris_conferencies/comunicacio_govern_local/doc4.pdf

 FAGEN, R.R.: Politics and communication.Boston, Little Brown, 1966.

MCLUHAN, M.H.: Understanding Media.New York, McGraw-Hill, 1965.

 

RESOURCES

Jay Leno´s program webpage:

http://www.nbc.com/The_Tonight_Show_with_Jay_Leno/index.shtml


[1] As Andy Warhol said it “in the future everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes”

[2] Media is the plural of the Latin word “medium”: something in the middle.

[3] Leno said on his programme: “I don’t know why people are surprised that France won’t help us get Saddam out ofIraq. After all,France wouldn’t help us get the Germans out of France!”, he made several comments supporting the war on Iraq.

[4] As an example of the former we have the environmental issues; as an example of the latter, the State does not interfere anymore with citizens’ sexual options.

[5] How come economy or society are not politics?

[6] WordNet ® 2.0, 2003PrincetonUniversity

[7] The breviary of campaign by Quintus Tullius Cicero “Comentariolum petitionis” is a good example of it.