The time’s they are a’changin’ … but not in the direction of scruffy ballads about peace and love. It’s the brave new world of celebrities uber alles, and welcome to it. We crossed the threshold between fame and power with Ronald Reagan, and now we have obliterated it. The trend line is crystal clear — soon all public servants, from president to county auditor, will first be seen and celebrated in People before The CBS Evening News. Not just Reagan, Al Franken, Arnold the Governator, or this Trump fellow. All of them: mayors, governors, Supreme Court justices, the whole lot. Deal with it.
Political parties will now hold casting sessions to see which celebrity has the best chance of beating out another celebrity from the other party for any electable job. You’d begin the search with the show business bible called “Q Scores,” basically a popularity poll to see who’s the most liked. For instance, you wouldn’t ask Bill Cosby or Miley Cyrus in to read for “U.S. Senator.” Their Q Scores are at rock bottom. If you were smart, you’d probably only make one call — Tom Hanks. Is there a more humble, decent, honorable-seeming celeb in the world? Personally, I would also like to see the duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in the running. They are as likeable as all get-out, plus they could good-cop-bad-cop poor Vladimir Putin.
You could fight this trend with honest, can-do political pros, but first, good luck finding one, and second, you’d still lose. If you want good people in office, coax the celeb of your liking into running, and if he or she isn’t available, create your own!
Which leads me to the connection between Celebrity America and wheelchair users like you and me. Unless you count the right-bending governor of Texas, there are no wheelchair-using celebrities of national import out there right now. If Christopher Reeve were still with us, he would be kicking Donald Trump’s keister all over CNN, but it’s not to be. As a community, we have to get pro-active and create our own, brand-new celebrities. The means for doing this is staring us right in our flat-screen faces — reality television.
The show I have in mind is called Wheelchair Celebrity Boot Camp. The setting is a big TV studio where contestants, all wheelers, must live and develop their God-given celebrity potential over a season. If The Voice can bring in “real” singers like Gwen Stefani or Blake Shelton to coach wannabe stars, then Wheelchair Celebrity Boot Camp (WCBC) can rope in “real” reality stars like any Kardashian in the phone book to teach the dark art of becoming famous by doing absolutely nothing! It’s a rarified skill set: how to pose for the paparazzi — not wearing undergarments is a great start; making the right kind of bimbo celeb friends to lure TMZ into following you around for no reason; and most of all, just believing in your inner star-ness, otherwise known as pathological narcissism. Thirteen contestants, 13 weeks, one eliminated per week, one finally named “America’s Wheelchair Celebrity.” Sounds exciting, no?
Now that you can bill yourself as a self-made celeb, beholden to no one for your justifiable self-importance, you quickly morph into a self-made politician who plays by no one’s rules but their own. With your WCBC earnings, dozens of product pitches for “winners!” and wall-to-wall free media coverage, your campaign will fund itself. If you run into money problems, your legions of fans will foot the bill.
Even if your opponent is Tom Hanks, God forbid, and you lose — hey, once a celebrity, always a celebrity. You write books, take a regular seat on The View, and of course become a wildly popular coach on Wheelchair Celebrity Boot Camp.
Bottom line — the ultimate inclusion in America society is celebrity inclusion, and this is but one way to jumpstart it for wheelers. Maybe your way is make it big as a hotelier, develop a killer smirk, and marry great-looking airheads. In America anyone, absolutely anyone, can become famous, then become famous for being famous, then become a power broker.
Yakov Smirnoff said it best: “Whadda country!”