POLITAINMENT OR ENTERTAINMENT STYLE IN POLITICS
Prof. D. Sc. Lubomir Stoykov
– – Editor-in-Chief of
“Fashion Lifestyle Magazine”
Entertaining, informal and seemingly light styles of behavior and communication are increasingly conquering the political space. The phenomenon, style and concept of "politainment", which means combining, mixing, merging and interpenetrating between politics and entertainment, was born and is now quite legitimate. Generally speaking, "politainment" is the result of the growing penetration of entertainment in the structures of the media, culture and society. Its stylistic manifestations can be found in several directions: the filling of political communication with more and more moments from the personal life and everyday life of state and party leaders; the entry of political themes in the entertainment genres - satirical, comedy, reality formats; the drastic change in public behavior of politics, leading to his behavior as a showman, and sometimes as a clown and a jester. If we look at politicians as celebrities, it is obvious that the boundaries between the public and the personal, between the public and the everyday, between the political mission and everyday existence are increasingly blurred.
Pop culture has its own platform, which is like a river without banks. And when the politician is "released" along this river, he has two options - either to swim and survive, i.e. to fit appropriately into the attitudes, ideas and expectations of the electorate, or to sink and drown, precisely because of his inability to behave informally, naturally and accessible. In order to send messages in line with the "popular culture" genre, a politician must still have both qualities and talent in this regard - to be able to joke, to be witty, to see the fun in himself, to be self-ironic, to allow people closer to his personal life and - even, not to hide his shortcomings. There is nothing wrong with famous politicians who have artistic or musical skills showing them in public. Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, played the guitar. US President Bill Clinton was also known for his musical abilities. He did a great job with the saxophone and played in public with obvious pleasure - in nightclubs or on TV appearances. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a positive impression when in 2010 he sang at a charity in support of children with serious illnesses. He sang the song "Blueberry Hill" on a specially organized evening and was sung by such world stars as Kevin Costner, Sharon Stone, Paul Anka, Monica Bellucci, Alain Delon, Mickey Rourke and others, who also joined the humanitarian work.
There are no obstacles for a politician to be both a full-fledged statesman and a standing ovation celebrity or a star, as long as he is mainly focused on his political commitments and does not turn his "role" into a showman or pop star into a presenter. Politainment must come from within and happen naturally - either as a manifestation of a sense of humor, or as a demonstration of cooking skills, or as artistic, sporting, attractive manifestations. Political history abounds with such examples - Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Mikhail Gorbachev.
The style of "politainment" has developed thanks to the increasing number of statesmen, party leaders and politicians who have emerged from show business and the art world. In the past, an example of this was US President Ronald Reagan, a former Hollywood actor whose rule was a resounding success. Today, "Politainment" enriches its color with such showmen and artists as Beppe Grillo in Italy, Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine and Slavi Trifonov in Bulgaria.
However, the risk of profanation of politics through the style of politainment should not be underestimated. This risk becomes very real when the politician becomes too engrossed in the role of showman and clown, and turns his back on the most important thing: his concrete work for the good of the people, for the betterment of their lives, for the observance of the law, justice and citizens' rights. The admission of cynical behaviour and vulgar expressions hits hard not only on the image and reputation of the individual politician, but also on politics as a whole. Hence the expression "politics is a dirty business". The power of politainment is in strengthening realism in politics, in shortening the distance between "those above" and "those below", in activating true unadulterated political communication.
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