Camelot for a new Age

On January 21st, 2009, historians would remember the day change swept America and perhaps the entire world.

Barack Obama is poised to become the 44th President of the United States of America, a country that came out in its stride demanding for change. More so than others, it was perhaps an insistence from Hollywood; an insistence for George W. Bush to leave and an insistence for Obama to take his place; that was the most effective.

The most powerful nation in the land boasts some of the most powerful entertainment and media houses. And almost every president, since Kennedy, has to come to terms with the media and eventually Hollywood.

During the last few months and years of Bush's presidency, there has been an outcry from Hollywood for his outing, some public, some subtle and even some shouting. We have seen Michael Moore craft an entire series of award winning pseudo-documentaries attacking George W Bush. We have seen Al Gore transform from a goofy Vice-President to a venerable environmental messiah. We have also seen an African American woo not only the world of politics but the world of Hollywood as well.

Hollywood and Politics have quite the love and hate relationship. And there have been some poignant times in the history of the United States where we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly side of this relationship.

The most prominent display happened during the 1960 race to the White House. Vice-President Richard Nixon hoped to secure a republican presidency but he did not count on his candidate being so strong with Hollywood.

Contrary to Nixon, who represented the dull and boring establishment, Kennedy stood out almost like a movie star. He was tanned and always smiling, appearing confident and calm in front of cameras, whereas Nixon appeared confused and pale. For example, during the debates of the 1960 election, Kennedy used his image to great advantage. In the first ever televised debates, Kennedy knew that his image would play a big role. He rested before the debates and used make-up unlike his opponent, who deemed it too "feminine." Instead, Nixon appeared almost haggard like and unkempt, viewers of the debate clearly favored with the younger, dashing, candidate.

And the results clearly had an effect; Kennedy won and eventually went on to have a favorable relationship with Hollywood. His reign over the White House was such a pristine picture that would end up being associated with the fairy tale of King Arthur. They would call his reign, Camelot.

In recent times though, that relationship has been quite strained. George W Bush wasn't a media darling, in fact, he's had a troublesome relationship with Hollywood and Michael Moore has been spearheading that trouble, since Bush's election.

In 2002, we saw the release of Bowling for Columbine which was an attack on Republican ideals, such as Gun Control and media violence. Though it didn't attack Bush directly, the pseudo-documentary gave Moore more ammunition than before. Two years later, Moore led an all out assault against Bush and his war in Fahrenheit 9/11. Hollywood had suddenly created a new craze, it had made a nation mock its own leader and the world loved it. Every move that Bush made during his remaining tenure of Presidency became the object of scrutiny or mockery.

The most recent jab comes from Oliver Stone in the form of W. Although some dub the movie controversial and an attack, the movie is perhaps humanizes Bush from the past demonizing of Moore's perspective.

Bill Clinton's reign, though marred by controversy, was much favorable with Hollywood. In one of his last televised addresses as President, he prepared a video of his last day at the White House. Included in the video was a small snippet of him accepting an Academy Award. Though that was simply a skit, it clearly indicated that Clinton liked Hollywood and vice versa.

Obama has had a similar journey. He first came into the spotlight in the 2004 election when he made a key note address. He then caught the attention of the producers of the West Wing, who even modeled a character after him in the show. Some say that it was the character of Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits) on the West Wing that braced America for the change they now have.

In February 2007, Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the 2008 Presidential Elections. He made the announcement in front of the Old Capitol building and set his campaign ablaze. Obama's popularity would ultimately spill over into Hollywood, with the likes of Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney carrying the torch for him.

Obama's status with Hollywood was completely clear when the choice between him and Hillary Clinton became wasn't much of a choice. Immediately, the majority of Hollywood would side with Obama, even the likes of Oprah Winfrey.

Will I Am, of the Black Eyed Peas, released a song about the Obama campaign, called, "Yes We Can." The lyrics of the song are composed almost entirely of excerpts from Obama's speech on January 8, 2008, following the New Hampshire presidential primary election. The video features appearances from numerous celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Kate Walsh, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Adam Rodríguez, Kelly Hu, Hill Harper, Amber Valletta, Eric Balfour, Aisha Tyler, Nicole Scherzinger, Nick Cannon and Bryan Greenberg. Within a week of its release over four million viewers on had seen the video on YouTube alone. Clearly Hollywood had given Obama its blessing.

Edward Norton believed in the campaign so much that he had arranged for a documentary crew to follow the campaign wherever it went. And now, HBO plans on releasing the documentary in the near future.

Will Smith and his family were so sure that he'd win that he and his family filmed the entire election day in all of their home cameras. African Americans in Hollywood especially took a much bigger interest in this Election. Obama's heritage played an important role in the election. His critics accused it of being his greatest weakness, but his followers saw it as a sign of change.

Now Obama is poised at a new age, an age one hopes that will be filled with prosperity and betterment, an age where historians will begin with a fairy tale-esque "A long time ago…" as the new age of Camelot once again begins.

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