When Flakes Become Famous
– by David Matthews 2
In the climax of the 1988 film “Inherit the Wind” (based on the actual 1926 “Scopes Monkey Trial”) Kirk Douglas’ character was preparing to wrap up the trial of a schoolteacher accused of teaching evolution with a fiery closing argument. He had skillfully destroyed the defense attorney’s plans, and was prepared to go out for the kill with his closing statement, when suddenly the defense called HIM to the stand. And with just a few quick questions, his mechanizations were laid bare before the public. The same fickle minds that once followed his every word were now disgusted with what he had to say.
And so he prepared to recoup his losses. He was aware that the trial had generated so much publicity, including that new technology called radio, that the whole nation would be paying attention to what was going on. And so he spent his time preparing a masterful closing argument, one that would redeem himself in the eyes of the public and hopefully propel him to greater heights. Unfortunately, the defense had one more hand to play, and when they played it, it left the poor prosecutor with nothing but the bad image he was last seen displaying on the stand.
Whatever happened to those days when the only flakes that were accepted were the ones in our cereal bowl?
As soon as someone became a flake, they were quickly dismissed from our list of credible figures and discarded to the dustbins of history, when we could remember them from their pre-flake days.
Remember H. Ross Perot? He was poised to be a credible voice for political reform. He was at one point a serious contender for the White House back in 1992. He had a simple message, simple ideas, and he spoke to the public in a series of paid-for segments in prime time.
And then he flaked out. He dropped out of the race, and then he dropped back in. He talked about Cuban death squads wanting to kill him over his opposition to the North American Free Trade Act. Then he decided all by himself to become the Reform Party’s candidate in 1996 even though he didn’t campaign previously and nobody in the party considered him to be a serious contender.
Haven’t heard much from him after that, did you? Of course not, because once he developed the reputation as a flake, nobody wanted to call on him for anything.
Michael Jackson was a flake. Sure he did things for the African-American community, and especially for children, but being obscenely rich also made him into a flake. Dangling his kids over balconies, having them wear masks, him losing parts of his nose… have we suddenly forgotten these things? And if he didn’t die at a relatively young age from what appears to be bad medical advice, if he instead died of old age twenty or thirty years later, then he probably would have died in relative obscurity AS a flake. Instead, he’s beautified by the media… the same media that originally made their fortunes showing just how flaky he was.
Apparently we stopped relegating flakes to the dustbins of obscurity. Instead we put them on a higher pedestal and celebrate the weird things they do.
Britney Spears, for instance, had a gradual and much public breakdown to where she was doing impromptu skinny-dipping in the ocean, with the media watching her, to her shaving her head bald and attacking people with umbrellas. She goes away for a while, comes back under her father’s guardianship, and the media instantly celebrates her again.
Hugh Hefner’s former girlfriends, the blond trio formerly known as “The Girls Next Door”, have certainly thrived away from the Mansion. Holly Madison appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” and now is featuring in a Las Vegas show. Bridget Marquardt is off traveling for the Travel Channel. And Kendra Wilkinson is basking in her own spin-off series, along with her new husband and child-on-the-way. Each of them had their own eccentricities out there, but the masses still kept on coming back for more.
Oh, but wait, they’re cute AND blonde (albeit bleached in some cases) AND have shown what their mammas gave them… so I guess that’s okay, right? I mean, it’s not like they’re going to be running for public office, or have bestselling books and nationally-syndicated columns, right?
Well if they did, then they’d have reason to worry… because then they would find stiff competition.
We have inflammatory columnists like Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter, and talking heads like Michael “Need Prozac Now” Savage, Glenn “Blood Shoots From My Eyes” Beck, Lou “The Mexicans Are Coming! The Mexicans Are Coming!” Dobbs, Mark “You Don’t Know The Constitution Like I Know The Constitution” Levin, Rush “You Don’t Know Hitler Like I Know Hitler” Limbaugh, and the hosts of “Fox and Friends”. Let’s not forget Bill O’Reilly, with his loofahs and falafels and not remembering who was slaughtered at Malmedy and “Em-Effer I want more ice tea” flakes, and yet he still has a contract. They are all apparently trying to compete for who can be the flakiest of them all without needing the obligatory ride to the Funny Farm.
And then we have the ones that we actually ELECT!
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann… who once called for the return of McCarthyist-style investigations of the media, and tried to passively link the return of bird flu to Barack Obama’s election… is now caught up in her bashing of the Clinton-era group known as Americorps, claiming it to be a step towards FORCED SERVITUDE.
First of all, Congresswoman, you’re about ten years too late for your concerns. And second, it’s a little hard to be credible on this when YOUR OWN SON just signed up for the service and is getting praised in the media for it! The same media that you then turned around and attacked for doing so.
Oh, but that’s okay, that’s just one of MANY little flaky eccentricities that she has exhibited recently.
We have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi… who somehow managed to be the number two person in the line of Presidential succession, not to mention leadership of the House of Representatives… and who presided over THE MOST apathetic and PATHETIC session of Congress in recent history. Her first national appearance on TV was a locked-in deer-in-headlights gaze that could scare small children if it was on any earlier in the evening. (Remember, kids, to just say no to Botox!) And yet she continually gets elected and re-elected. It makes you wonder if her constituents are high when they show up at the ballot box.
And then we have the definition of political flake… Sarah “Barracuda” Palin. Sarah used to be an actual governor for the State of Alaska until someone came up with the bright idea that she should be a candidate for Vice-President. That’s when the flaky goodness came out. She who read all of the newspapers but can’t name a single one… she who considered herself to be an expert in foreign affairs because Russia is just “right next door” to Alaska (if you don’t count crossing the Bearing Strait first)… she who was for the “Bridge to Nowhere” before she was “always” against it…she who didn’t know what the policy of American Exceptionalism was but was for it nonetheless… apparently she used to be such a great politician before the dreaded “liberal media” came out and ruined it all for her.
Sarah was apparently too good for political office after the 2008 election. In a feat to top all flaky maneuvers, Governor Sarah decided that she should step down from office. It seems those ungrateful voters that put her in there actually expected her to do her job AS governor after the election instead of going around helping out conservative and neo-conservative causes down in what they call “The Lower 48”.
How DARE they! How DARE those ungrateful voters EXPECT Governor Sarah to actually DO HER JOB when she has all of these other obligations to those conservative and neo-conservative people who actually IDOLIZE her and think she’s the greatest thing in the world since Ronald Reagan! How DARE they actually expect her to CARE about the well-being of the state when compared to such a monumental task of carrying on with the conservative cause in the Age of Obamamania!
(By the way, that sickening feeling you may be experiencing while reading that above paragraph is a little thing called SARCASM. Look it up. You’ll find it quite enlightening.)
So Governor Sarah announced - right before the Fourth of July - that she was leaving her job to carry out that “higher calling”. Oh, but she’s not quitting! No, no, because quitters never win, and she is a WINNER! Just ask her myrmidons in the “Lower 48”! They’ll tell you that she is a WINNER! She actually “BEAT the system!”
It sort of reminds me of the scene at the end of the 1970 movie “Catch-22” when the main character played by Alan Arkin runs away and a soldier asks if he’s deserting from the Army, and Alan Arkin’s character shouts back “No, I’m re-enlisting!”
And yet the media still comes back to her, don’t they? They watch her Twitter posts (for once there’s a service so aptly named for its users) and they actually give her op-ed pieces in newspapers. She’s still out there delivering flaky goodness for people to either idolize or groan about… like how Obama would create “death panels” in his healthcare reform program. And then she takes credit for supposedly “stopping the death panels”.
It makes you wonder where the ambulance is that would be transporting these people to the Earl Long Memorial Moonbat Preserve. Remember folks, as the late governor of the great state of Louisiana so aptly demonstrated from the mental hospital in the 1950’s, you don’t have to be sane to be a politician. In fact… it sort of helps if you aren’t.
But this rise to reward flaky behavior apparently still only pertains to the popular and influential. The old lady that turned her house into an unlicensed dog and cat shelter will still be despised. Nobody would ever consider her to be doing a community service as she lives with pet droppings and urine-stained furniture. That lonely guy who lives down the street who hasn’t gotten married and can’t get a date will still be systematically ignored as being “too weird”… unless he does something completely tragic and uncalled-for. That level-60 Guildmaster in World of Warcraft that owns all of the Star Trek episodes on DVD (including the fan-made ones) will still be living in his parents’ basement. His enrollment for higher-paying programming jobs, even for the company that OWNS World of Warcraft, will still go to the same recycle bin, and his “dream job” would still go to some script-kiddie in India.
Let’s get brutally honest here… this push to reward flaky behavior in the world of the haves is probably the greatest insult that could handed to the rest of us. Every flake that is given a spotlight is a direct slap in the face to every hard-working American who puts in years of effort and has gone on unrewarded and unappreciated.
It makes you wonder how some of these people even GOT to where they are today if not for either nepotism, financial incentives, or “favors”.
It’s one thing for a person in position of authority or media attention to exhibit one or two flaky behaviors. But when you have a pattern of flaky actions and it’s not followed up with a free wraparound jacket and a series of consultations and medications, then the rest of us need to start treating that person in the same way as we WOULD treat that old lady with 70 cats and stacks of urine-stained newspapers. They NEED to be ostracized and isolated from the public spotlight so they CAN get their act together.
If we are supposed to have any kind of respect for these people, never mind the positions of authority they inhabit, then it is up to them to validate it. And if they can’t, then it needs to be taken away from them. The rest of us have to work hard to maintain what little morsels of respect we currently have. It’s high time the ones that are ON the pedestals step up and prove why they are worth our attention.