As I was perusing some meanings that were vaguely familiar I came across this term. Of course it was somehow familiar, due to AstroTurf being developed at a time when it seemed that maintaining the grass football and baseball fields seemed inordinately expensive. I’m not sure, but I think it’s still popular up in the northern states.
Anyway, as I delved deeper I gradually became aware of the more sinister connotations of this seemingly innocuous term. Well, that’s quite alright. I am not one to take such things seriously. My father always suggested that this attitude was at my peril.
So after spending a day ruminating on this new-found cool term (to me), I thought I’d write about it. So here I am. But it’s a roundabout kind of thing. After all, it was due to research into another of my favorite things, movies.
Rather, it was a certain movie, a veritable tour-de-force of what astroturfing is all about. The generation of fake grass-roots support for a movement or even a diversion from what’s real.
Basically, the movie, “Wag the Dog”, is about a political troubleshooter rescuing the President’s re-election. He (the President) hires a Hollywood producer type who brings in a whole entourage to help manage a disaster instigated by the President. Together, they start a war with Albania.
All this activity has an actress depicted running through a bombed out Albanian town while holding a white kitty. Meanwhile, Willie Nelson is creating patriotic and sentimental tunes to tug at the heartstrings, both in support of the war and of the troops from the nonexistent Unit 303. While this is going on, they finally ‘rescue’ the last soldier who was somehow left behind when the 303 pulled out. It gets darker from there.
So, a couple days ago, I see this word and I begin to research it. Then yesterday I pop in “Wag the Dog” to the dvd eater and press play. And there it was, Astroturfing personified in two of my favorite actors, Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman. As well with Anne Heche thrown in for good measure.
Some would call this kind of thing coincidence. Others would say serendipity. I say it’s part of my strange and wonderful learning style. At any rate, at the end of it all, I was entertained.