Dirty, Sexy, Dumb? Politics Go Pop Culture

Meghan McCain's new memoir starts with a salacious title -- Dirty Sexy Politics -- and goes from there, replete with tales of campaign trail sex, gossip, and bashing everyone from Sarah Palin to Mitt Romney.

It's going to sell well.

But this trend of political memoir and politics-as-pop-culture is a little disturbing. We have seen it with Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live and with her own salacious political memoir where she reveals gossip-y tidbits from the campaign trail. John and Elizabeth Edwards are going on Oprah, followed soon after by his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

It all seemed to start with Bill Clinton's administration. He played the saxophone on Arsenio Hall and the next thing we knew, he was vacationing in Martha's Vineyard with Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.

OK, that isn't exactly true.


As far back as the 1960s, the Kennedy men were all sleeping with Marilyn Monroe (lucky boys!) and hanging with the Rat Pack. Hollywood and Washington, DC, have always rubbed shoulders a bit, but now it seems out of control.

Sean Penn is making political speeches, Levi Johnston is running for office and posing nude, his baby mama Bristol Palin is on Dancing With the Stars and doing public service announcements against teen pregnancy. It all feels so tabloid-y.

There was a time when models used to grace the covers of women's magazines. Now, they are almost always photos of actresses. Are politicians next? Will Sarah Palin be on the cover of Cosmo?

At one point in her memoir, McCain says:

"And they brought a tabloid-attention-getting quality my family has never had -- and God willing, never will," according to The Huffington Post

Really Meghan? You have looks you call "stripper"-esque and you talk candidly about some pretty private things. The tabloids might love you even more than teen mom Bristol.

It's fascinating to watch the Palins and Edwards and the McCains replace Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie on the cover of People and Star, but it's also disturbing. Will this line just continue to get blurred? Will candidates soon start announcing their plans to run for President during a commercial break of the Jersey Shore?

It's not all bad. Meghan McCain does bring vivacious enthusiasm to politics. She's smart and witty and anyone who can shake up the "blonds with big boobs are dumb" stereotype ought to be commended. But is she shaking it up by sharing gossip and salacious tidbits? It seems like the closer we step to politics-as-entertainment, the further we get from truly respecting our political leaders.

What do you think of salacious memoirs and politics-gone-Hollywood?


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