Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Schwarzenegger Syndrome

Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt by Gary Indiana is reviewed in an article titled Demolition Man by Ben Ehrenreich:

"... he starts not with the twisted mechanics of California's 2003 recall vote he'll get to that but with the appointment to the presidency of a 'mush-mouthed, dyslexic, perpetually vacationing cipher.' Jump to that cipher's near seamless elevation to eternal warlord in chief following 'our very own Reichstag fire' and you're not far from the realm where, 'to the bewildered and traumatized who continued to imagine that 'fascism' described a condition other than the merger of the state with corporate capitalism, hasta la vista, baby sounded like as workable a program as anything else.'

Hyperbolic, sure, but if any times ever made hyperbole feel like understatement, these are them. Arnold Schwarzenegger, steroidal cartoon and killer robot, 'dream politician for the Time of the Rapture,' is, after all, governing the most populous state in the union. When it's not actively drawing blood, Schwarzenegger Syndrome can feel unfocused, but what doesn't these days? And it's hard not to love a man who calls John McCain a 'bowel-impacted martinet' and questions his ability to hold up under torture: 'If we threw him in a stew pot, he'd stand up and salt himself. That's the kind of patriotism America needs.' "