It's worth pondering what the propaganda machines of Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union could have done with reality television. Thankfully, the Bush Administration is doing its part to help that thought experiment along:
In its standard format, the popular ABC series finds hard-pressed but deserving families, sends them away for short vacations and then, in a whirlwind of carpentry and appliance-shopping, gives them new homes. This time, though, the show will broadcast from an underserved shelter near Biloxi, where a convoy of trucks stocked with everything from mattresses to pants will arrive, courtesy of Sears, one of the show's sponsors.Walter Benjamin advised us to respond to the aestheticization of politics by politicizing art. But when you can't tell which is which, that move becomes more difficult to make.
It's not clear exactly what Mrs. Bush will do, but Tom Forman, executive producer and creator, said he is hoping that she'll just pitch in and help unload.
"I think we say, 'Mrs. Bush, the stuff is over here, the people are over there, could you grab the other end of that mattress?' " Forman said. Press secretary Susan Whitson envisioned something closer to handing out clothing and thanking volunteers.