Turning Ideology Into Consumable Pop

Consider the various political acts which have recently burst onto the American popular culture radar – Bill Clinton’s book tour; Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11; Howard Stern’s self-martyring rants against the FCC crackdown; Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ – and it becomes clear that today’s most successful ideologues are those who have managed to cross the line between serious political debate and pop culture mass marketing. While many Americans are still wary of anything that smacks of intellectualism, no one seems to be hesitant to voice an opinion on any intellectual issue that can be marketed on Oprah or Larry King. Is it a new era of national debate, or just the latest cynical marketing device proving its worth?