The Human Ethics Train Wreck, Levi Johnston

Some people think that Sen. John McCain will go down in infamy for turning a little-known Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, into a wild-card political power. His surprise choice of Palin to join him on the 2008 GOP ticket also set into motion a chaotic series of events that have turned an ordinary, not too bright young man into a celebrity monster, allowing him to display his own serious character deficits while simultaneously enticing others into further degrading their own.

To paraphrase the great Basil Faulty: Thank you, ohhh thank you, so bloody much, Sen. McCain, for giving us Levi Johnston!

Johnston’s single accomplishment in life to date was an act of  irresponsibility: he knocked up the teenage daughter of the Governor of Alaska. Since the, he proved himself unaccountable, saying that he intended to marry Bristol Palin and be a good father to his child, and then failing to do either. Left with an insatiable appetite for celebrity, he displayed disloyalty, lack of fairness and venality while breaching standards of decency and fairness when he denigrated his former future mother-in-law and her family with a series of mean-spirited, dishy tabloid interviews. Ensuring that his offspring would have to hide his face in shame as soon as he could understand who his father was, Johnston posed nude in the trashy mag Playgirl, which has approximately the same high standards as “Bombshell” McGee. When progress toward his goal of membership on the Rod Blagojevich, Jose Canseco, Danny Bonaduce, Omarosa, Dennis Rodman and Co. traveling freak show appeared to be stalling, he launched another juicy tabloid story by weaseling his way back into poor, silly, Bristol Palin’s affections, and immediately began corrupting her, using their child as a commodity to attract that Holy Grail of the talentless and gross, a cable reality show. Shortly after that didn’t materialize, Bristol apparently realized she was being played, and sent Levi packing, but not before thoroughly humiliating herself.

Now, Variety announces:

“Levi Johnston will run for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska — yes, the same job that propelled Sarah Palin to governor of that state (and later, the vice presidential nomination) — in a new reality project being pitched by Stone and Co.
“Loving Levi: The Road to the Mayor’s Office” will center on Johnston’s newfound fame as the baby daddy to Palin’s grandson, Tripp. Johnston will trade on that notoriety to make his run for Wasilla City Hall — when he’s not pursuing a career in Hollywood, of course.”

It apparently hasn’t occurred to Johnson, not that he would care, that actual human beings live in Wasilla, and that the town’s government, as well as the democratic system, is not just some prop for the tabloidization of Levi Johnston. Variety notes that victory for Johnston is not out of the question, as a winning mayor usually only needs about 400 votes. Irrelevant: exploiting apathy and the irresponsibility of Americans for a cynical objective like self-promotion is despicable, whether Johnston wins or not. It is the height of dishonesty and irresponsibility, as well as disrespectful of American institutions, to run for public office without being genuinely committed to public service.

Yes, Sarah Palin entered this dark territory when she quit on the people of Alaska to sell her book. That doesn’t excuse Johnston. Yes, the production company for Levi’s show, and whatever cable network that air it, and the viewers who watch it and the journalists who write about it are all complicit in Johnston’s conduct, but he is the epicenter of this ethics train wreck. Johnston proudly described himself to Variety as “half red-neck, half Hollywood,” which isn’t bad: the description captures his ignorance, slovenly life-style, arrogance, selfishness, warped values, greed, shamelessness and narcissism rather neatly.

Just imagine: if John McCain hadn’t chosen Sarah Palin to run with him, Levi Johnston might be unknown and on his way to an honest, respectable life. On the other hand, if he had even a rudimentary ethical compass, he would be on that path anyway. America’s sick celebrity industry is a corrupting force to be sure, but in Levi Johnston, it found a someone it didn’t have to corrupt.

Bad citizen, feckless boyfriend, ungrateful and disloyal family member,with no integrity and completely untrustworthy in every way, Levi Johnston was ready.

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