Oh she looks so cute tonight,’ my mother said.
‘Umm. Yeah,’ I said.
‘I love her hair!’
‘Mom, her hair doesn’t matter.’
‘Look at the curls in the back! It’s really cute!’
‘Mom, you can’t base who you’re voting for on their bangs.’
‘I’m so bad. Don’t tell anyone I’m persuaded by hair. How embarrassing!’
The insight into my mother’s voting preference is entirely verbatim. It was only one of the nuggets of wisdom I obtained at the shindig we threw to celebrate, or more accurately, ridicule, the vice presidential debate.
While the 10 of us were highly entertained by Gov. Sarah Palin’s down-home antics and Sen. Joe Biden’s politician-perfect smile, we were infinitely more entertained by each other.
Even in the moments where the red side of the room wanted to strangle their azure counterparts, I couldn’t help but smile that we were together, watching politics and debating intelligently. Well, minus the comments about Palin’s feminine mystiques.
In a current social climate overrun by Britney Spears’ antics and celebrity baby pictures di jour, I was oddly comforted by the fact we were consciously engaging in entertainment of a higher caliber.
The nation’s fascination with the celebrity candidates, Obama and Palin, highlights our obsession with celebrity culture. Apparently we can’t pay attention unless it’s sparkly and new and somehow or another causing a ruckus.
‘Saturday Night Live’ has seen a 40 percent jump in ratings thanks to their Sarah Palin doppelganger Tina Fey and Brangelina has been shoved off of tabloid covers by the Alaskan wonder in rimless glasses.
The current national obsession with all things presidential rather than Lindsay Lohan may just signify the tide is turning and Americans are beginning to tread more intelligent waters.
My recent foray into a debate-centered celebration proves people gather to celebrate things that don’t revolve around Hollywood. In a world of fluff, many people in our population were obviously aching for more substantive, intelligent conversations and perhaps something a bit more challenging than US Weekly.
Before I become too haughty and deign to proclaim all our motives to be high-minded, I must quote the oft-heard adage that politics is the equal to Hollywood for ugly people.
Participants in both seek fame, recognition and power. They often behave badly and don’t follow the rules. They all love the sound of their own voices. We even ask the candidates the ubiquitous celebrity question: ‘What are you wearing?’ And the good looks of Obama and beauty pageant background of Palin dispel the notion that politicians are unattractive.
Then maybe my family’s and America’s obsession with politics is nothing more than a fixation parallel to that of Hollywood.
I would not complain about anything that not only sparks, but continually inspires an interest in politics and in turn rebuilds our reputation in the world. Instead I would applaud it, regardless of the reason.
By the end of our donkey and elephant themed night, my mom had been persuaded away from her hair-based political notions. She listened to their positions, assessed their knowledge, and was persuaded by more honorable merits than the follicular.
‘When’s the next debate?’ I asked my now uber-informed mom.
‘Tuesday, I think. Are you guys coming over?’ she said.
‘Of course, can’t wait!’ I said.