Those who know me well are aware of my cultural spilt personality: highbrow and literary on one side, lover of Beavis & Butthead on the other. In the past I have ignored the whiffs of shame that have threatened to encroach on my infinite love of reality television. A few examples from the Fox network come to mind: Temptation Island, Joe Millionaire or Paradise Hotel among many others from the dependably slimy steerage of Rupert Murdoch.
But until Sunday night, I never knew never the sensation of squirming uncomfortably, of physically recoiling from my television set as though bitten by a poisonous snake, wishing I could walk away, but knowing very well that I couldn’t if I tried. It took the shenanigans of one reality TV famewhore to create a personal gutcheck moment that no enjoyment of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge ever could.
I am speaking of course of Blago, also known as Rod Blagojevich, the disgraced former Governor of Illinois. For some reason NBC loves “Hairball” (so nicknamed by Mr. A.) so much, and is such a willing partner in helping the deposed CEO of Illinois squeeze every drop from the bottle of his 15 minutes of fame, that the network has attempted to cast him on not one, but two reality programs. The first, last summer’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Outta Here! was a no go because Roddy Boy is unable to leave the country while awaiting trial. So NBC opted to cast loyal, foul mouthed wife Patti instead.
The already put upon denizens of Illinois believing they had dodged a bullet, we failed to recognize the awesome tenacity of the “Polar Bear” (so nicknamed by Eddie due to Blago’s love of jogging in tight pants in sub zero temps) in his quest for media domination. Of course Blagojevich found another willing consort in Donald Trump, no stranger to scandal and famewhoring himself. And thus a man who should be spending every waking moment with his unfortunate children before he is hauled off to the Pen, instead finds himself trying to “win money for charity” (What a guy!) on this season of Celebrity Apprentice.
It is awful enough to have Blago’s face and voice put before me, a constant reminder that yes I voted twice for the Elvis loving loser who tried to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat about five minutes after he was promoted to the White House, every Sunday evening. I enjoy the show of course, but I also accept that witnessing Blago’s greasy prostitution of himself before America, gathering fame and fortune that most innocent people will never experience, is a punishment I richly deserve. I have said it before, and I will vow it again: never, ever will I allow myself to cast another ignorant local vote. National politics are important and of course I remain attuned, but no longer at the expense of knowing what’s going on in my own backyard.
I was ready for the egregious self-promotion, the practiced smile in front of any and all cameras and autograph seekers, no matter what else might be going on at the time. I never expected Blago to function as a focused and selfless team player, even if colleagues like wrestler Goldberg and sprinter Michael Johnson could stomp him without even trying. One of Blago’s many charms is that he is utterly impervious to looks of loathing.
Be that as it may, I was utterly unprepared to have evidence of Blagojevich’s most embarassing weakness of all sucker punch what was left of this voter’s self-esteem. The man cannot use any kind of technology at all. AT ALL! No email, no camera phone, no text messaging and the very idea of a laptop utterly befuddles him. Upon the placement of a computer in front of him on Sunday’s episode, he proceeded to turn it over with the confusion a man asked to assemble a 2,500 piece Ikea rocking chair. Therefore, one of my favorite snide comments that the Governor would need a GPS to find his ass with both hands is rendered obsolete.
Isn’t it enough that I cast two ballots in favor of a man with the moral scruples of Satan? At least the image of him as some sort of evil genius consoled me. I had obviously been hoodwinked by a mind much more powerful than mine. But no, no. Now I know that the man who utterly failed Illinois is a simpleton, whose inability to use technology to convey his “vision” to an obedient Bret Michaels, necessarily means he was never qualified to walk and chew gum, much less lead a State.
All I have left now is a thought provoking query posed to me on FaceBook by another one of our regular readers, a fine lady who could probably see the good in cellulite, so generous is she in her opinion. “A man w/such a lack of savvy, could he be wise enough to be a mastermind of criminal activity?” An intrguing question to be sure, but there’s no rule I’ve read that says the stupid can’t be amoral as well. Clearly, if Blago were any more adept at organizing his illegal behavior, he would never have been caught on tape. Nevermind that he would need someone to show him how to use a tape recorder.
Clearly the sullied politician is off the grid in more ways then one. We get it. Mercy! No more Rod Blagojevich NBC, I beg you! Illinois has suffered enough. Selita Ebanks for Governor in 2010!