So, USA, John Boehner—you know, the Republican House Speaker from Ohio— appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday January 23 because, apparently, we hadn’t already bled the lines between celebrity and professional politician enough.
Despite Boehner playing it cool and shooting off one-liners explaining that Leno has been begging him to come on the show for a while, it only exacerbates the problem of professional politicians trying to up their game in the realm of popular culture.
It’s this cold-shouldering that, instead of sounding impressive—as was probably intended—could lead one to ask what exactly changed in Boehner, and American politics in general, that caused him to finally degrade himself enough to appear on late-night entertainment.
Leno and Boehner slept-walked through what was obviously a choreographed exchange. There have been World Championship Wrestling routines that felt less scripted. Leno asked all the right questions so that Boehner could give all the right answers and perpetuate the rockstar mentality that has permeated the American political system.
They gabbed about Boehner’s tan, about presidential candidates, and jumped headlong into political rhetoric, making sure to cover all the proper talking points.
My personal favorite performance of the night was Boehner’s quip about the NSA scandal. “We spy on everybody else, and they all spy on us so let’s just get over it,” Boehner said with a practiced nonchalance. A roar of applause from the audience punctuated his remark.
While Leno and Boehner were more than happy to talk about us spying on Israel, and Israel spying on us in return, they failed to even consider the implications of that. Forget that our shaky relationship has faltered even more than we had previously thought under the current and inconsistent foreign policy to the point that we have to double check each other with Cold War tactics.
Forget the fact that other nations like Germany and Brazil were up in arms about the United States looking over their shoulders. Apparently they didn’t get the memo announcing that spying was just the standard for geo-political scene and that they better fall in line or fall behind. And forget that America, instead of leading the world like I’ve heard it did once upon a time, but is content to just sit back and continue forward, no matter how sinister it may be.
That’s not the America I want. That’s not the America I believe in. Where our leaders promote keeping up with the Joneses to maintain the status quo. Where they ask us to just blindly accept the world as it is. Just to throw up our hands and say, “Well, everybody else is doing it.”
The politics of today can be found on late night entertainment. Where entertainers who are long past their prime can declare someone a traitor and politicians looking to be liked can tell people to get over the dystopian implications of the world and just “move on.” Those very same remarks can end with the uproarious approval of a live studio audience.
How can we expect to trust a government that asks us to follow for the sake of following? How can we trust a government that trumpets its agendas on popular TV and looks to has-been comedians to make their unpopular schemes palatable? So, USA?
This is the America we’ve been left with. And if Leno’s demographic is any representation of the American public, everybody seems to be ok scraping by in the overwhelming mediocrity
Yes, security state, big brother. Rah-rah-rah. Everybopdy else is doing it, so let’s just maintaint he status quo.
Apparently Boehner, Leno and the entire live theater audience never had someone explain the idea of jumping off a bridge. Just because our “friends” are doing it, it might not be the best call. Boehner and Leno were both more than happy to call Snowden a traitor. I understand what Boehner’s reasoning was—no matter how wrong he is—but Leno’s blatant rip on Snowden was jarring at least.
Leno and Boehner were both more than happy to talk about how Israel and the good ol’ U.S. of A. spy on each other constantly. Which, is fine? I guess? I thought we were allies and even though that truce has become shakier because of the inconsistent foreign policy of the current administration, I thought friends didn’t spy on friends. You know, even Don Corleone taught us that.
And perhaps Israel is cool with us looking over the shoulder, but the casualness of Boehner shrugging off the dystopian implications of Big Brother
There was a rousing applause. Leno and Boehner trumpeting their own agendas. It’s disgusting “I think Snowden is a traitor” We all spy on each other, let’s just keep the status quo. Yes, everybody is spying on everybody else. Let’s all be ok with that.
Alex Sousa is studying journalism in UVU’s communication department. He’s serving as the managing editor at the UVU Review as well as the editor of the music blog on uvureview.com. He’s had experience working as a freelance writer and also as a copy writer at a marketing agency. Currently he’s working as the Editor-in-chief of the Utah Tech Magazine, an interactive, digital publication. He’s a Utah native who’s traveled around the world; having lived in Mexico, backpacked through Europe, studied in the Middle East and—for a time—been stranded in the Ukraine. He can be found on Facebook and he’s available on Twitter @TwoFistedSousa or by email at [email protected].