My blog posts (one and two) about celebrity politics–written before the 2008 election season began–caught the attention of USA Today writer Maria Puente, who quotes me in an article that starts, “Sometimes you have to wonder if the presidential candidates are running to be First Celebrity — or maybe Entertainer of the Year.” She writes:
- Peter Levine, a scholar of civic learning at Tufts University in Boston who blogs about politics and celebrity, says that when candidates do something policy-related, it doesn’t get as much attention as, say, an argument over lipstick on a pig. “One interpretation is that this is not the candidates’ fault because substantive stuff does not pay,” Levine says. “Lipstick got more attention than McCain’s education plan.* There are big incentives for politicians to act like celebrities, but it’s bad for our politics.”
(I’m on a roll with USA Today. Last week, I was quoted in Jill Lawrence’s cover story on young voters.)
*I actually meant Obama’s education plan, which was released on the same day as the lipstick-on-pig flap. But the point holds either way.