Mark Steyn did a great job tying together this week's revelations about twin fabulists Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama. I find his conclusion particularly intriguing.
Like Gatsby presiding over his wild, lavish parties, Obama is aloof and remote: Let everyone else rave deliriously; he just has to be. He is in his way the apotheosis of the Age of American Incredibility. When just being who you are anyway is an incredible accomplishment, Obama managed to run and win on biography almost entirely unmoored from life. But then, like Gatsby, he knew a thing or two about "the unreality of reality."
I wonder. When Steyn was thinking about how much Obama resembles Jay Gatsby was he aware that a search on the phrase "unreality of reality" generates numerous links to critiques of reality TV? In a world in which ditzy wannabes from New Jersey, commercial fisherman, housewives with more money than brains, chefs, gunsmiths, loggers, hair stylists etc. etc. etc. all get to have 15 minutes of fame celebrity status seems to have little meaning. Similar to what young Dash in The Incredibles noted about the hollowness of the pop psychology claim that everyone is special, if everyone can be a celebrity what exactly is there that is worth celebrating?
I've often thought that God has a particularly acerbic wit. After all, Friedrich Nietzsche, who famously proclaimed God is Dead, badly wanted to be known as a famous writer. He was granted his wish -after he became too insane to enjoy his fame. Obama seems to have wanted to become an uber- celebrity cum politician in the worst possible way. How fitting it would be if presides over the bankruptcy of both systems.
I suspect these stories about fabulists rising to some of the most esteemed positions in our society have potential impact far beyond what people suspect. They lay bare a rottenness at the heart of academia, the media and government. That may be why a distinguished publisher like Thomas Lipscomb was shouting in all caps on his Facebook page. His profession has trashed its credibility for at least a generation in its ongoing refusal to hold Obama accountable for his lies.
This lack of accountability by those in control of the institutions that bestow the credentials of leadership has huge implications. Young people have to have sensed the education system that landed them in enormous debt is fatally corrupt even without the confirmation that noted minority professor Elizabeth Warren is in Steyn's words:
... the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out. But she "self-identified" as Cherokee, so that makes her a "woman of color.
Older people have come to learn they no longer can trust the media to report facts instead of attitude and propaganda. These institutions as well as our government have less esteem than ever because of the failure of the credential elite to engage in little beyond self congratulation for their enlightened attitudes. We tend to attribute the results of recent European elections with the voters' failure to understand the need for austerity. Is that really the case? Or could it be that they don't trust that the sacrifices being proposed will be shared by those who presume to rule over them. The attitude I see from many people is an unhealthy nihilism, an unwilling to sacrifice at all until the whole rotten system crashes. Maybe the figure that is what it will take for at least some of those who deserve the blame to finally get their just desserts.
I've been in a fin de siècle mood for some time now. I wonder if this is what it felt like in 1914? What form will the spark take that finally causes the whole rotten edifice to crumble and what will the final body count be? One thing I am sure of is that in a few short years the entire world is going to look very different. Reality has a way of finally catching up with those who live in unreal worlds.