The Age of Personality

Politicians in North America are duking it out on personality, on this fall’s election trail. Down south, we have Obamamania pitted against the wizened war hero and the evangelical working mom against the tough Amtrak supporter. Closer to home, our own dour politicians are getting facelifts too, being portrayed as gentle family men or rugged dudes, the opposites of whom we perceive them to be. With a bit of spin one could be anything one is supposed to be. But does spin liberate?
On the other hand, the writing world has been full of alcoholics, sexaholics, suicides, schizophrenics (a requirement, I think, in order to function in both the world of letters and the real world), prisoners, martyrs and others with hidden secrets. The more dysfunctional, the higher the reputation and mystique of the writer (well, we probably must draw the line on axe murderers, pedophiles and other extreme forms of criminal behaviour). But being twisted and off•centre is okay in literature, it seems.
I wonder, when the dust settles on the elections in our hemisphere, if the politicians who don’t make it into the echelons of power, will sit down to write their memoirs and bare it all with a huge sigh of relief, saying “You can’t touch me now – I’ve turned writer!”

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