By: Caitlin Nolan
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has high hopes in becoming a member of the newest cast of NBC’s “celebrity” based reality show, I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!
The ousted Blagojevich is currently in search for a new job, as he has been impeached and removed from office for multiple accounts of abuse of power. He has pled not guilty to federal corruption charges and, according to an article found on CNN.com, was indicted “on 16 felony accounts, including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to investigators.”
“Makes sense for him. He’s going to have a huge legal bill, and I hear that he’ll be getting $80,000 for each episode,” Dr. Keith Hamel, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Media Arts Department of Marist College, said in an e-mail correspondence.
“Although, I guess the money is supposed to go to charity, so maybe it’s just a way for him to stay in the public eye in
case he beats the charges against him and wants to stay in politics,” Hamel said.
The links between politics and celebrity clearly have become intertwined as anyone who bore witness to the most recent election can testify to. Tina Fey was constantly mistaken for Sarah Palin and Will.I.Am’s “Yes We Can” was regarded as a strong means of campaigning to a younger generation. The line between a politician and celebrity has been blurred in the past, but when a politician of the past pursues the celebrity, how will people respond?
“In the terms of this show and genre of TV, he is [a celebrity], although celebrity in this case means ‘Has- been,’” Hamel said. “When you think about the ways in which television producers have used the term lately (Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Fit Club, The Apprentice: Celebrity Edition, etc.), the contestants are certainly not current (if they even were… and this goes for advertising too; Just look at Jenny Craig ads or most infomercials). Steve- O, Diamon Dustin, Andrew Dice Clay… were these people ever really celebrities?”
Those at Marist College were quick to voice their opinions on the subject.
“I think it’s completely and utterly pathetic that you are trying to make money off of a reality show because he was fired for being unethical,” Jen Plaveck, a sophomore at Marist College said. “I hope no one watches.”
“He doesn’t deserve any more spotlight attention,” Kerry O’Shea said, an English major at Marist College. “He should be in jail and that is that. He’s never been in the entertainment industry and this is no time for him to start.”
Hamel, as cynical to the situation as he may have appeared, recognized the logic in Blagojevich’s strategic move.
“I do think that future success in “The relationship politics and media” [have] will depend on how well the politician looks on camera, sounds in the: 30 sec byte, or provides generalizations in Twitter messages,” Hamel said. “
So, as absurd as it is, this situation fits.”