Jon and Kate, who have recently become immensely famous, have, apparently, been on television for many years. They are a type of apparitional news. They've always been there, entirely irrelevant to almost everyone, and, then, suddenly, they're a cultural phenomenon, for no reason that anyone can quite tell you. With a little critical interpretation, that makes them like Sonia Sotomayor, who, out of view, has lived her own reality show sort of life, and is now elevated to stardom.
It is all about the story. Jon and Kate have a better story than their reality show competitors. Although, of course, I don't know the story. Which in a way may be better than actually knowing the story--it's more about the bits and pieces that hit you (and fill you with both wonder and contempt). I don't know Sonia Sotomayor's story either, and don't particularly want to. But I know it's also made to order--and that if I'm not careful I'll have to hear it (she's a "trailblazer and a dreamer," in the Times' summation). Every Supreme Court justice has to have a story, not least of all because the confirmation process has become a selling or branding deal.
But stories are not just what they seem. Sonia Sotomayor's may be about hard work, the indomitable human spirit, and the changing face of America, but it's also a story that would make the Republicans look bad if they try to knock it down (case in point, Rush Limbaugh is calling her a "reverse racist," which should help her case).
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