Thursday, October 8, 2009

Six Degrees of Sarah Palin

Father of Palin's grandson to pose for Playgirl.
Perhaps one of the most bizarre things about American celebrity culture is how certain famous people become a strange sort of composite being, encompassing themselves and a seemingly random constellation of other people. These other people don't normally seem to become well-known in their own right, but rather act as a means for the primary celebrity's name to stay in the news (for better or for worse), even when they aren't doing much, if anything, newsworthy. Because of this strange relationship, the satellite individuals tend to pop up, whack-a-mole like, at unpredictable intervals, but rarely, it seems, in such a way that they ever come any closer to entering the public imagination on their own.

The "father of Palin's grandson" is merely the latest iteration of this strangeness. The young man has a name, and while many people (like myself) know what it is, his name on its own isn't enough to gather eyeballs. Which makes me wonder how successful his latest publicity stunt will wind up being. But that aside, I wonder how long it will be before he ceases to be a strange appendage of the former Alaska governor, and either fades away, or manages to somehow become the one at the center of a group of vaguely famous unknowns.

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