Not since the runaway bride has the US media focused so much attention on such little substance.
Members of the media elite (take the swooning news anchors, for example) have dusted off their vintage editions of Roget's Thesaurus for new adjectives to describe their latest product, the new, improved, bubble-wrapped hockey-mom action figure, Sarah Palin:
Tom Brokaw, NBC: “A very auspicious debut.”
Jeff Greenfield, CBS: “Perfect populist pitch.”
Wolf Blitzer, CNN: “It wasn’t just a home run, it may have been a grand slam.”
Chris Wallace (Fox), Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer (CNN), on cue: “A Star is Born.”
Those superlatives, gushed by aging men in their first reactions to Sarah's "scintillating" teleprompter reading at the Republican National Convention, foreshadowed the media love affair with the high-heeled pit bull.
Reality on the nation's airwaves is in short supply. Hold onto your hats -- or whatever else sparks your imagination. Picture Zena the Warrior Princess at the Daytona 500, Britney at the MTV Video Music Awards, Jennifer Wilbanks on a Greyhound bus to nowhere.
Sarah Barracuda is bigger. She has become the steam-regulating conductor of a political runaway train. Whoo hoo!
We can't avert our eyes because the male-dominated press, the shallow but well-paid hucksters for their corporate bosses, are blinding us with a hailstorm of atmospherics. We are, after all, watching the all too predictable behavior of the same hyperventilating watchdogs of democracy that gave us the "uniter" president, the "WMD" war, the "straight talk express" and, yes, the "runaway bride."
And, if it's within their power to focus the voters' attention away from the issues that actually matter -- things like the recurring national crises that keep us awake at night -- onto the McCain-Palin misdirection of the day, we may wake up November 5 to discover that nothing has changed.
Our only hope is that, for a change, voters see through the media diversions, recognize the straight talk express with a runaway conductor as another train wreck waiting to happen, and put the country first.