Monday, June 07, 2004

"Let A Thousand Hagiographies Bloom...."

Reagan is dead. Many others will flog this horse better than I, so I will only say that I won't be able to go near a radio or television set for at least two weeks.

Wait, let me also say this: If Bush II is significant for being our first "MBA President", it is often undersung that Reagan was our first (well, by trade, anyway) corporate shill president:

GE positioned Reagan as a respected TV spokesperson and corporate ambassador--casting him in the role that would take him all the way to the White House. During the series' eight-year run, Reagan made hundreds of personal appearances around the country on GE's behalf. There was even an LP for sale in record stores around the USA, Themes from the GE Theater, with a smiling Ronald Reagan on the cover.

Reagan was "the Great Communicator" not because his regressive vision naturally resonated with the average American, but precisely the other way around: as a trained pitchman, he was skilled in conveying a sincerity that was purely professional and therefore convincing almost by definition. "Morning In America" was about as genuine a political philosophy as "We Bring Good Things To Life".

Beyond tax-cut-and-spend-Republicanism or the emancipation of the insanely rich from the bonds of noblesse oblige, Reagan's true legacy is first and foremost the end game of the Spectacle: celebrity as not merely prima facie qualification for high office, but as a manifestation of the divine.

Anyone want to stick their neck out for comparison's sake?

I can't take credit for the title, but unfortunately, neither can I give it


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