By Ben Cohen
The homeless woman who asked Barack Obama for help yesterday has apparently been given a house, and the young man who asked Barack Obama whether he would get help for college has apparently now got a job on a local radio show, proving that if you can get yourself on TV, the American Dream may indeed be possible.
For everyone else, hoping Wall St starts lending the money given to them by the government to businesses that may or may not hire them, is the best anyone can hope for.
The celebrity culture that promotes this type of lottery system for wealth and fame is enormously destructive, because it promotes a false hope in a time where the reality is in stark contrast. The American dream no longer exists for the vast majority of the population – social mobility is amongst the lowest in the industrialized world, wealth disparity the most extreme and poverty the most pervasive.
The lucky individuals who win reality shows, accidently stumble into the limelight or sell their souls for fame are a minute minority given maximum exposure. TV producers, advertisers and big business want you to believe that anything is possible, playing on your insecurities so that you tune in to watch the latest celebrity selling you the latest fad. They tell us ‘it could be you’, but the truth is, it couldn’t.
For regular people losing their houses and losing their jobs, there is no end in sight. The recent stimulus package may or may not provide hope for the future, but the system that created the crisis still presides. The tokens played up by the media create a memory of that old system, but it won’t be long before people stop buying it. Why? Because now, even hope costs money.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.