The paper and the airwaves are crammed with phony news about the elites in a land far, far away.  But this rubbish is, first of all, entirely artificial. It is non-news, manufactured information that is fundamentally false. It is to entertain the masses as to the doings of the rich and famous. It endows the average person in the audience with an artificial sense of closeness to these manufactured human puppets. Sometimes psychotic fans trail their favorite star around madly, besotted with an utter fascination that is manufactured and pumped out to get revenue. This is Industrial Age entertainment – constantly available, superficially filling, like CrackerJack.

(I do enjoy CrackerJack, but remember it’s simply one of many alternatives for stuffing down sugars and carbohydrates.)

Next, it augments the Cult of Personality. There are no such things as M-F transsexuals in our phony world, but there is Kaitlyn Jenner, who shows people how beautiful you can be with a massive expenditure of product and makeup and clothes and accessories. Wait for the Kaitlyn Jenner connection. Are most M-F transsexuals so beautiful? They can be, with thousands of dollars worth of retail purchases. I don’t think that transgender issues came to the consciousness of the public until there was recognition of a huge market demographic that was un-exploited.

It turns the celebrities into puppets. Phony stories about Rock Hudson’s newest actress heart-throb were pumped into the magazine media, creating a false image of the celebrity. Rarely does the true human being peek through; often it is as genuine as The Art of The Deal. How much would have been understood if Hudson could have shared his sexual orientation!

It enhances a bad habit which I see in America; namely, out of sight=out of mind. We are trained to have an attention span of 30 seconds – just enough to roll through one commercial after another. Celebrities are specks of the foam of the public attention span; they sink to the bottom and are forgotten after a few days or weeks or seconds. Celebrities pop up, flash in the pan, and drop down and are forgotten. People wonder why Americans don’t learn geography or history well – we’re not trained to turn our own attention to whatever interests us, but we see a bright and ever-changing rainbow of…stuff. Kim Kardashian, like OMG! Lamar Odom! Lionel Ritchie (WHO?) We know nothing about them except for a few sentences’ worth of factlike trivia. We pretend that’s important. It teaches us to be shallow, and gullible. We are easy pickins’ of political spin machines.

So I don’t mind that it’s vacuous; it’s the Cheezy Poofs of the information media stream. But it makes some very bad habits seem normative. When it comes to the famous, we are eager to suck up any factlike assertions that confirm our prejudices.

This habit of fascination with celebrity is toxic, and spills over into our understanding of vitally serious matters.

Let people have their fun. Allow people to dive into the silly and superficial for the sake of their own sanity or for the simple fact that – gasp – they actually care about culture.

If culture means paying attention to what we are given under the title of culture – Taylor Swift, perhaps – then our definition of “culture” is entertainment by means of the excretion of a synthetic industrial product into our minds.

A relative told me that she was ready to vote for Trump, now that she has seen him interact with his family, she feels that he really has good character down deep. But wait until the Democratic Convention. Hillary will show you pictures of her grandchild, and everyone will hit the reset button.  Awww.

That is an intellectually bankrupt and dangerous way to assess the fitness of an individual for a task. “Character” is an entirely manufactured element in our “Culture.” No wonder the Europeans tend to think America’s gone insane.

Bill Clinton was a fiscally prudent, right-leaning Democrat who improved some aspects of our governance. He also liberalized the trade deals that may have brought impoverishment to the American middle class. He softened the firewall separating banking from investment, thus contributing to the mortgage catastrophe in 2007. Those are Bill Clinton’s deeds. They can be discussed and argued about.

Intelligent people can argue about Bill Clinton’s actions while President without being moral degenerates, idiots or despicable. Not so character and morality.

Bill Clinton had a blow-job in the Oval Office. That is a sign of bad character. Then, under oath, he lied about it. That confirms that he has bad character in the mind of most, because he ejaculated and then lied about it. Therefore, he was impeached and nearly convicted, and expelled from office. That is insane.

I don’t really give a damn whether Bill Clinton is of “Good Character” or “Bad Character.” That is the stuff of absolute nonsense. If George W. Bush was of superlative character, but oversaw the war in Iraq, he was a bad President, no matter if he escorts little old ladies across the street and does noble and virtuous things in person. I don’t care. He screwed the pooch, he screwed America and others in the Iraq fiasco.

The Chilcot Report is, contrary to American understanding, NOT a vindictive witch hunt against Tony Blair. It is a stern and pitiless investigation of the British contribution to a multinational fuck-up, and Blair was instrumental in causing it. There is no question about whether he is a puppy-patter or kitty-kicker. He was a bad Prime Minister in this matter.

We will certainly vote, we will predominantly vote about the balance of Trump’s character to Hillary Clinton’s character. We wholeheartedly embrace the synthetic marketed rubbish about vile deeds committed by one or the other. We do not bother with whom is more fit to govern – that is a hard question and nobody is handing us the answer. Far better to read about the Swift-Kardashian brouhaha, “Oh no she di’int!” hair-puller, to determine whom is the tortfeasor and the wronged, and base our judgment on our highly refined character-detector. It’s been trained by People Magazine and soap operas for many hours. How can we go wrong?

THAT’s the problem with phony crap celebritard news. Somehow, we have slid backwards a few hundred years into predestinationism. We now believe that most people are of bad character, that character is a fixed element that cannot change, one that can be summarized on the back of a matchbook. That’s the concepts that the wiggier of the Puritans embraced during the English Civil War. Most people are predestined to damnation; only a few of the elect are Saved.

We were sold that “Cruz’s Father Helps Assassinate JFK.” We sort of believed it. All we need is a video with the goods on Trump or Clinton’s moral horribleness, and we are done with our voting selection.

Character is complex, sometimes internally inconsistent, and eternally changeable. Dostoevsky wrote a whole book on the evolution of one person’s character in Crime and Punishment.

Why do we wish to perpetuate the myth that a person’s entire humanity and complexity can be snapped by a tabloid photographer? That, to me, seems anti-human. We are only as decent as we are brave to question our prejudices. Celebrity journalism doesn’t do that.