diet coke for breakfast

Friday, October 10, 2003

Posted by RFTR
OpinionJournal - Wonder Land: "If this is true, Arnold Schwarzenegger upended two other longstanding shibboleths--media bias and the 'litmus test.' "

This is the second time in as many days that I've seen the word "shibboleth" used in a political column. Is this really that well known a term, or did we all just see it on the West Wing a few years ago?

Jake -- The article also had this juicy quote about Arnold:

There's one last, large intangible that Arnold has slipped into the political waters: He's cool.

Like it or not, the force field of celebrity is part of the cultural physics of our era, and it looks as if the first party to get totally wired-in to a mega-celebrity is, incredibly, the GOP. Something weirdly attractive was coming off the Schwarzenegger camp's victory stage on TV round about midnight Tuesday--Arnold, Maria Shriver (a get-out-of-jail-free card for many centrist Democrats feeling trapped in an inhospitable party), Jay Leno's funny introduction, Rob Lowe nearby, Eunice and Sargent Shriver, the extended Shriver clan, and a sea of young, attractive faces. Liberal pundits will mock this scene unmercifully, but in terms of mass-market politics it was as hip as any politician could ever hope for. Arnold, with all that media reach and the aura of living wholly inside the country's popular culture, may be changing ideas of who can live comfortably on election day among the Republicans.

One of my big complaints about being conservative was always that I am surrounded by a pop culture which by and large embraces liberalism. Most producers of cultural consumption are liberals. So what's someone who likes pop culture to do? Arnold is great because he changes the image of a conservative from an uninteresting old, white guy to something so much cooler.


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