A former presidential candidate thinks the pyramids were made for grain, the President makes headlines with porn stars and mayors across the country are somersaulting backwards to get Jeff Bezos to come to their town.
"Veep" is looking more like a newsreel than an escapist sitcom. Real politics is oftentimes the farce now, a spectator’s sport worthy of a trip to the concession stand (or minifridge). Stale rhetoric matches more stale rhetoric, absurdities abound and every election is painted as a Manichean clash between Satan and Jesus. The whole of American politics seems to be an exercise in morally-gilded demagoguery where how loud you’re yelling counts more than what you are saying.
Welcome to The Gilded Now.
One hundred and forty years ago, author Mark Twain lamented the massive inequality of his day, veiled by an ostensible pursuit of good and wrapped in the gold leaf of progress. His Gilded Age has been remembered for vote-buying, hefty voter turnout and political veins bursting with corporate cash. American "democracy" was a farcical play wherein politicians pretended to be righteously beholden to public will but self-dealt behind the elaborate, gold-hued charade.
Others have compared today’s problems to those of Twain’s time, primarily focused on the recent resurgence of appalling societal inequality. But the comparisons shouldn’t stop there.