The problem with places like Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Venezuela, Africa in general and Haiti in particular is their dearth of entertainment industry celebrities. Let me explain:
A few days ago, commenting on Obama’s lack of progress on various agendas, Kanye West observed:
People want to say Obama can’t make these moves or he’s not executing. That’s because he ain’t got those connections. Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people.
Goddam Jews are hanging up on Obama when he calls, I guess, or he can’t get their unlisted cell numbers — one or the other. It doesn’t seem quite right, and I’m not sure what can be done about it, but good for Kanye for calling those clannish and secretive Hebrews out on their churlish refusal to deal squarely with a righteous brother. Whether it’s the crackers and Toms stealing Beyonce’s Grammy or the Elders of Zion shutting him out of their golf games, we can rely on this honest broker to set the record straight.
One of the wonderful things about America is the number of hugely popular entertainers it can throw at any social problem. In times past, these issues remained the purview of statesmen, lesser politicians, editorial page scribes and the occasional soapbox orator. Now, however, thanks to the rise of electronic media and the internet, anyone with a satisfactorily high Q factor can weigh in on anything from gun control to zoning laws, and be heard with respect and gravity by hundreds of millions of people. Trouble is, most of those entertainers live in this country, and, even when they speak on the devastation of Haitian forests by manufacturers of charcoal briquettes, or the savagery of Nike in Indonesia, they are not heard there.
Worse still, in places like the ones mentioned above, they have a very low capability in terms of native celebrities. To be sure, they may exist, but simply don’t have the charisma or aura that goes with a centimillion dollar net worth and a mantleplace stuffed with gleaming statuettes. And this suggests a solution to providing meaningful nation-building for beleaguered states. We need folks like Kanye to go where they are most needed, and bring justice to the perpetually oppressed.
Alec Baldwin, for example, is a natural ombudsman for Afghanistan, where the supply of gay paparazzi is negligible. This kills two birds with one stone; Afghanistan gets a hugely famous celeb to tweak the noses of the powerful and bring sunshine into the dark corners of Kabul politics, and Alec’s irrepressible bursts of violent homophobic threats will cause hardly a ripple in the local audience. Heck, they’ll probably even give him his own talk show.
As for Kanye, he can pick his slot: Tripoli, Cairo, Damascus, Khartoum, you name it. You could throw darts at the map of that region and find no place that wouldn’t benefit from the watchful eye of America’s leading social analyst. Kanye West, can you go east? The world is waiting.