12 May 2013

Politicians and Multimedia

Recently, more and more politicians have appeared in humorous videos, cracking jokes, acting in funny spoof videos and having cameos in other, seemingly trivial but nonetheless funny, forms of media. I'm thinking, primarily, of this very funny spoof video, in which Obama acts, ironically in the role of Day-Lewis playing himself. The British Prime Minister seemingly wanted to get in on the trend too, with his buttock-clenchingly awkward and embarrassing appearance in the new One Direction video. Whilst these are both funny (for, admittedly, different reasons), they should rise a big question: don't they have quite important jobs to do? 

The real President Obama clearly had some fun pretending to be Day-Lewis getting into character, including rehearsing lines into a mirror and putting on those iconic ears. You would've thought, however, that the most important leader in the world would have better things to be doing, with gun legislation, rogue states and a buckling economy (to name a few issues) to deal with.

 The video was made for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and Obama's speech at that event went viral. Jokes and 'new rap entrance music' were further evidence of how Obama focuses on his media presence as a cool, calm individual - a celebrity, almost, rather than a politician.

 Cameron, of course, cannot pull off the same stunt with the same swagger. Such moves serve to make a laughing-stock of our leaders. Whilst they should not be serious, reserved and distant figures (and the above videos are both funny), the new age of social and multimedia has led to politicians invading our space more and more, and this raises questions over how far they should go before they simply become actors, celebrities or mere figureheads.

 It seems politicians will sell themselves doing anything to try and get publicity and portray themselves as 'regular' or 'funny'. They are drifting closer to the realms of embarrassment, becoming dangerously close to being a joke. Whilst Obama's cool persona will deflect such criticism and keep him as this untouchable public figure (even if his political position becomes defined by stagnation), the trend he has set may lead to politicians using multimedia to become laughing-stocks, actors or publicity-obsessed figures- in short, it may lead to leaders concentrating too much on their public figure, rather than the important issues that they are elected to tackle.


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