The not-so-affable Eva Braun

The NYT paints an unflattering portrait of Katie Couric:

Viewers – and most of them are women – like Ms. Couric’s cheeky, easygoing manner; affection grew into admiration after her husband died of colon cancer in 1998 and Ms. Couric made early detection her cause. (In 2000 she underwent a colonoscopy on the program.)

But “Today” has turned her popularity into a Marxist-style cult of personality. The camera fixates on Ms. Couric’s legs during interviews, she performs in innumerable skits and stunts, and her clowning is given center stage even during news events. “Today” hit a low point in July, when Saddam Hussein appeared in a Baghdad courtroom to hear the charges he will face when he goes to trial as a war criminal. All the networks interrupted their programming to show live images of Mr. Hussein – all except NBC. “Today” stayed on Ms. Couric swatting shuttlecocks with the United States Olympic badminton team.

A Marxist-style cult… how very apropos! As some of you may know, I am an anti-democrat as well as being against both the Democratic and National Democratic parties, and the fact that anyone cares even the slightest about what this woman thinks, says or does should suffice to prove the inadequacy of the concept.

I find the cult of the celebrity to be massively distasteful. It is a mistaken conflation; the fact that one of the SF writers I consider to be the most talented and insightful is a blithering cretin when it comes to politics takes absolutely nothing away from my admiration for him or my appreciation for his writing and ideas about the future. But the celebrity cult is a form of demigod worship, as we assign importance and values on the basis of what is often nothing more than physical attractivness or even just familiarity with a friendly fake smile on the television screen.

I hope that the decentralization of the media will lead to the reduction in importance and influence of these celeb-cults. I suppose that’s unlikely, however, since it has always suited the Imperators to make sure the eyes of the people are focused on what is happening in the Coliseum and the Arena, not on the Palatine Hill.