James Carville meets Trevor Noah at Politicon 2015
Los Angeles is one of the finalists to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, but L.A. had its own early Summer Olympics this this past Friday and Saturday, at the first L.A. Politicon convention
. The stadium was the L.A. Convention Center, and the athletes were the stars of the political and entertainment worlds who joined together to demonstrate what has become obvious: that politics and entertainment have merged.
The lineup at Politicon reflected this merger between politics and entertainment, and included well-known figures from both worlds such as James Carville, new host of “The Daily Show” Trevor Noah, Cenk Uygur, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Miller, Toure, Alex Wagner, John Fugelsang, Michele Bachmann and Clay Aiken. Even Edward Snowden made an appearance via satellite from Russia. In keeping with the Politicon event, however, Snowden was interviewed by political satirists The Yes Men.
The Olympic athlete status of these stars soon became apparent. Like sprinters running on the track, these political professionals are quick on their feet. Everyone sounded extremely knowledgeable and articulate (though we didn't witness Bachmann first-hand). There were no method-acting mumblers to be heard. And, appropriately, the first L.A. Politicon was very professionally run, sparkly but not flashy. One might even say it was toned-down as far as L.A. entertainment events go.
The pedestrian side of things was represented in the Democracy Village room, with various organizations being represented, as well as live music, poetry and other performances. However, the star presence was felt there too, with booths ranging from Lady Parts Justice manned by “The Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead, to the Log Cabin Republicans manned by a life-size picture of Caitlyn Jenner. Likewise, Politicon’s large art gallery had lots of hard-hitting, satirical art by figures such as Shepard Fairey of Obama “HOPE” poster fame, and street artist Sabo.
As the crowds increased on Saturday, they grew sometimes raucous. At one standing room-only event featuring James Carville, Newt Gingrich and the mild-mannered former Obama strategist David Axelrod, one older man sporting a Bernie Sanders t-shirt had several outbursts, including yelling that Gingrich was “not worthy” of mentioning Sanders by name. Who says Angelenos aren’t passionate about political issues?
One of the most entertaining panels was “The Devil’s Advocate” hosted by Sirius satellite radio host Rick Ungar. The panel featured conservative and liberal talk radio hosts who had to switch roles and advocate for the other side. Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, to his credit, stated the liberal positions on issues so convincingly that he might have been mistaken for a Republican Party defector. But liberal political comedians Stephanie Miller and John Fugelsang went with hilarious, over-the-top defenses of conservative policies. Miller said that she exercises “like a meth-crazed weasel,” so why should her tax dollars go to supporting the Affordable Care Act for others? Likewise, Fugelsang defended Donald Trump‘s immigration policies with an ingenious idea: in order to deport “the illegals,” we’ll first render them unconscious by having them listen to Dr. Ben Carson speak.
San Diego, you can keep your ComiCon. Los Angeles has Politicon, and we made it our own.
[Originally posted at Messaging Matters. Copyright 2015 Messaging Matters -- all rights reserved.]
Photo by Marc Langsam, used under Creative Commons license. http://is.gd/...