The cult of celebrity

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

One of my favorite musical artists is a gentleman named Robert James Ritchie. You might know him better as Kid Rock.

I’m sure that revelation is a little surprising to you. Kid Rock likely isn’t the kind of music you would expect a middle-aged newspaper editor to listen to, but I’ve always appreciated rock music and Kid Rock is a talented musician.

He’s also apparently a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate, and that brings us to the crux of this column. It seems politics has become an attractive alternative career for celebrities, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announcing a presidential bid in 2020 and even Caitlyn Jenner teasing a potential run for office.

If you find all of this to be just a little bit frightening, I understand. I don’t see much in any of these celebrities’ backgrounds that leads me to believe they are actually capable of being effective elected officials, but that doesn’t seem to matter much anymore with the American voting public.

Just for today, though, and just for fun, I’m going to indulge the idea a little bit, and consider some other celebrities who might throw their hats into the political ring.

• John Daly for governor of Arkansas. Big John is best known for his exploits on the golf course, but he’s also dabbled in the music scene (All My Exes Wear Rolexes, he crooned; I can relate, except all mine wear Timexes) and his Grip It and Rip It motto would make a great campaign slogan.

• Billy Bob Thornton for Senate, sticking with the theme of homegrown Arkansans. Billy Bob might not know anything about trade deals or diplomacy in the Middle East, but he did persuade Angelina Jolie to marry him, at least for a little while, so apparently he does have some negotiating skills. At a minimum, I’d vote for him over Tom Cotton.

• Speaking of Angelina’s ex-husbands, how about Brad Pitt for president? I’m not sure if he’s a military veteran, but he’s played a convincing soldier a couple of times, and he has great hair. In modern America, that might just be enough to get him elected.

• Bryan Cranston for head of the Drug Enforcement Agency. (I know, it’s not an elected position, but cut me some slack here) Surely all those years portraying meth-maker Walter White taught him all he needs to know about the drug trade. Why not put that knowledge to use for the force of good?

• I just realized I’ve only mentioned men as potential candidates, so let me correct that. I hereby nominate Anne Hathaway. President, senator, whatever she likes. She’s got my vote.

• What about Tom Brady? The man has won five Super Bowls. Imagine him as president. There would be so much winning. Wait a minute. We’ve heard that one before, haven’t we?

Of course, this is all in fun. None of these celebrities will ever actually run for office, right? And no one in his right mind would actually vote for a celebrity just because they like his campaign slogan or he was on a high-rated TV show, right? Right?

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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com