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The Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Celebrity and Cruelty in American Politicsby Gary Indiana
Synopses & Reviews
"It's the most difficult decision I've made in my entire life, except the one I made in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax." ? Arnold Schwarzenegger, announcing his candidacy for governor of California in 2003
From the California recall circus, in which Gary Coleman, Larry Flynt, and Arianna Huffington vied with over one hundred other candidates to replace a supposedly inept governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger emerged triumphant. How did this one-time bodybuilding champion and gay pinup, with no political experience and a string of mediocre action movies to his name, come to take over the world's fifth-largest economy? In The Schwarzenegger Syndrome, celebrated journalist and novelist Gary Indiana makes the case that this tale is a product of a media-soaked culture in which image matters more than substance. The recall process, a parody of direct democracy, gave Schwarzenegger the chance of a lifetime. With so many candidates in the race, he certainly wasn't the most qualified, the most articulate, or the most credible — but he was the most famous. And for the majority of Californians, that was enough. A witty and biting travelogue through the intersection of celebrity culture with American political life, The Schwarzenegger Syndrome lays bare the dark implications of Schwarzenegger's rise to power in the Golden State.
"Extravagant and full of wisecracks, but also deadly serious, as the best satirical writing always is." Boston Globe
"One of America's darkest and funniest chroniclers." The Guardian
"Indiana writes with an art critic's eye for detail and a poet's ear for language." The Philadelphia Inquirer
Book News Annotation:
The recall referendum that elevated actor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Calfornia governorship provides cultural critic and novelist Indiana with a window into what's wrong with California politics and American society in general in the current era. Combining analysis of a number of Schwarzenegger's films with discussion of the new governor's character and political criticism of the machinations of the recall, the role of money in politics, the energy company swindle of California taxpayers, and other issues, Indiana provides an idiosyncratic view of California politics.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
How did a onetime bodybuilding champion and gay pinup, with no political experience and a string of mediocre action movies to his name, come to take over the world's fifth-largest economy? This witty and biting travelogue through the intersection of celebrity culture with American political life lays bare the dark implications of Schwarzenegger's rise to power in the Golden State.
About the Author
Gary Indiana, whose essays have appeared in the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and the London Review of Books, is the author of six novels and several nonfiction books. He lives in New York City and Los Angeles.
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History and Social Science » Politics » General