Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 08/10/03

US Credibility Terminated

There are times when one genuinely does not know whether to laugh or weep. The election of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Governorship of California is just such a time. The laughter, however, is of a bitter and sardonic nature.

The most populous of all fifty US states has elected to lead it a Hitler-admiring lunkhead with no experience, no policies and no morals. A bad actor whose propensity for steroid-enhanced violence and serious sexual misconduct are really good advertisements for his adopted country.

(I mean, wasn't it bad enough for them to have started Ronald Reagan's ascension?)

What did he have which led a few million otherwise (one hopes) sane and rational people to choose him? What does it say about the frailties of the psyche of Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms America today that they vote for someone to hold an office of great status and substantial power because he is famous? Because that can surely by the only remotely sustainable reason for their decision - unless one subscribes to some sort of theory of mass hysteria and/or delusion. And even if one grants that premise, what are we to make of a society so deeply and self-regardingly in love with celebrity that it will give those who possess it the Keys To The Kingdom without any serious reflection upon the actual (as opposed to the projected) character of the real person?

'Arnie' is, of course, media-savvy. Having made a living in the ridiculous ways he has for so long, it would be surprising if he wasn't. And if there's one thing the idlers and trivia-peddlers in the media of today love, it's someone who speaks the language they understand easiest and best - even though to anyone with a remotely critical outlook it sounds like a lot of ducks quacking.

This may explain the easy ride that Schwarzenegger had from the corporate media (both in California and throughout the US generally). The downplaying of the allegations (far too numerous and from far too many different directions to be mere malice or some liberal conspiracy) about his perpetual sexual misconduct, and the playing up with a grotesque stridency of the musclehead's 'I'm for the little guy' line indicates either a deliberate attempt on the part of Republican-partial media organisations to lie (if semi-plausibly) to their audiences, or a sort of consensus psychopathology - one where everyone is holding out for a hero, and who cares if he's an abuser, a thug, a know-nothing, just so long as he has the right sort of chin and his teeth glint in the California sunshine?

And all this, my dear readers (if I may be presumptuous enough to use the plural - the hit counter on this site makes me wonder sometimes), from the largest state of a country which repeatedly stomps about the world demanding its own way, and which claims that it, and only it, is the saviour of mankind, The One True Way And The Life. How on earth (while we still have an Earth, of course) can we possibly take American pretensions to superiority seriously when such as Arnold can be elected to positions of power and responsibility?

"Unhappy the land that needs heroes", wrote Brecht. Unhappier yet may be the land which elects them to office...

Laugh if you will, but let us also weep for California Über Alles under its new ruler.