Faking it?

So today we read that Casey Affleck has confirmed what some of us suspected all along, namely that the 'documentary' following Joaquin Phoenix's lurch from an acting career to hip hop experimentation was staged. Fake is a word being bandied about. That seems a little strong given that the clip of him on Letterman that announced his apparent celebrity meltdown did actually happen. However when it comes to the integrity, or credibility, he was claiming it's true Phoenix is left in need of a resurrection. Still, this little Hollywood side show serves as an interesting parallel to the real news here in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It's election time. You can tell because, as much as anything, something like a million political posters have been plastered over Mostar. Rowan and I are not here for any politically motivated reason, and we don't have voting rights for this country, but living here we've obviously interested in the effect of the political situation on everyday people. I'm clearly a bit of a cynic when it comes to celebrity shenanigans and it seems some people share a similarly cynical view when it comes to elected officials.

One person told me they didn't see anything changing because, basically, all politicians were a rotten bunch. I expressed some surprise. They went on to explain a jailbird relative had been in prison with a guy who became one of the first presidents of the country. They shared a cell. Somewhat cheekily, I asked if this meant the relative ended up with a government job. No, I was told. They were a straightforward thief, not like a hyena. Someone else told how one year they worked counting votes for an election. They were disillusioned by the people they saw altering ballot papers as they counted them. They say they won't be voting in this election.

Clearly such stories can not be taken to represent the whole of politics here. We could have stumbled on two very isolated cases; two lone voices of disillusionment. I would like that to be the case but then I look across the Adriatic at the soap opera that the media so frequently make out of Berlusconi's administration, or the British government that gave us the world's most famous duck house, and think perhaps, like Hollywood, the political world is one caught in an unending battle for integrity and credibility. Let's hope there are people here who aren't faking it.


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