Why Politicians Have Become Celebrity Characters
Last week, Jimmy Fallon had both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on his show. As a late night talk-show host, Fallon certainly kept things interesting for us. While Fallon had a few punchlines to throw in, the audience mainly had the opportunity to view Trump and Clinton as “normal” people, and that is what we as viewers want to see in today’s pop culture-driven society.
In Donald Trump’s interview, Trump had the opportunity to joke about how many different images he portrays of himself – the soft spoken Donald, the yelling Donald, and the now, middle-of-the-road Donald. Fallon demonstrated all of his different Donald Trump impersonations and the two laughed along with the audience about his inconsistency as a political figure as if it was nothing. Something that should be a big deal was brushed aside after Fallon made everyone laugh. Why? It was entertainment folks. The main segment that got everyone going was when Fallon messed up Trump’s hair. Critics claimed that doing so “humanized” him (though, honestly, I’m quite jealous of Fallon for having that opportunity). Regardless of whether you supported Fallon messing up Trump’s hair or not, the point is simply that messing up his hair was entertaining for us and made him more likeable as a presidential candidate. Perhaps I should walk around letting people mess up my hair and see if I become mayor or something.
After just a few days, Hillary Clinton appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s show and her segment opened with Fallon wearing a facemask and sanitizing his hands. The laughter that followed his obnoxious precautions assured the viewers that Hillary was fine and healthy, and her pneumonia was now nothing more than a laughing matter. By appearing on Fallon’s show, it assured voters that she was fine, and more importantly that she has a personality. Similar to Trump, no press conference would get the same enthusiasm voters. Now we have leaders of the free world joking with comedians on late night television. And it’s because of us.
While Fallon normally has artists and celebrities on his show, he featured both potential leaders of the United States just a few days apart. Why? In a society where socialites dominate social media, and people earn fame after going on a dating show, it’s no surprise how entertaining this presidential election has been. In such a fast-paced era, anything that happens becomes publicized before anyone has time to process it. We constantly crave the next celebrity-breaking story (RIP Brangelina), and in order to target our desire for gossip and entertainment, politicians have become celebrities rather than professional leaders. As much as it seems unprofessional for presidential candidates to appear on late-night talk shows, it’s what viewers want to see. Fallon may have tussled Trump’s hair and belittled the importance of Hilary’s health, but that’s what we want. Entertainment. Amusement. Something to keep us watching. So I ask this question to you, fellow readers: Is the next president of our nation a professional, trustworthy, and credited leader, or someone that generates high ratings and good television?