15 minutes of political fame
Even if they appear to be terribly different - Haredi, high-tech entrepreneur, news anchor - there is nothing new under the sun, and the cosmetic differences between the candidates are nothing more than attempts to vary and improve the model a bit.
Everyone's talking about Naftali Bennett. No conversation is complete these days without the Habayit Hayehudi chairman. Naftali Bennett said such-and-such, Naftali Bennett did this or that. Any minute now they'll be interviewing Naftali Bennett's mother and Naftali Bennett's teachers and Naftali Bennett's first girlfriend.
Six weeks ago Naftali Bennett was Rabbi Chaim Amsellem. Everyone was crazy about Rabbi Chaim Amsellem. Rabbi Amsellem was the new Haredi, Rabbi Amsellem was a hero, Rabbi Amsellem was suddenly a force that could not be ignored. And before Rabbi Amsellem there was another one, also non-Ashkenazi and socially conscious, also a manly man - Moshe Kahlon. It was impossible to get through dinner without Kahlon. Kahlon was worth 20 Knesset seats. Everyone wanted to get to know Kahlon's mother, whom he calls every morning. And before Kahlon there was Yair Lapid. And before Lapid there were a hundred thousand others.
Members of the Order of Intriguing and Desirable Celebrities top the charts for a few days, weeks or even months. Then, sometimes for no apparent reason, their star suddenly dims. Suddenly they're "frivolous", or wishy-washy, or false, and they quietly exit the stage, leaving it to the next big thing.
Trend Syndrome is not a figment of politics alone, of course. In the capital market, for example, the trend is the very raison d'etre in some cases; every so often the shares of some anonymous company take off without anyone knowing what it manufactures, how or for whom. The share balloons, quickly turning from an esoteric stock with negligible turnover to a hot commodity whose name is heard in every finance conversation, until it reaches the investment adviser, who gets the word out to the public. Suddenly everyone's an expert in the cloud, IT and network data transmission, explaining how this is the next Intel, Check Point or Apple.
And then, while the share price breaks one high after another, the graph shoots down, burying all the latecomers to the pyramid (we and our pension funds, usually ), until it flatlines. How is it that within less time than the lifecycle of a flirt, everything turns upside down; how, in the blink of an eye, do companies go from being "the next big thing" to today's worthless bubble?
That is the destructive power of the trend, and especially of the feelings that give birth to it: emptiness, boredom, anxiety and revulsion. In order to escape from the horror of these terrible feelings, every once in a while, there needs to be an illusion of breaking the cycle - that is, the crowning of a new prince - though it is in fact nothing more than the enhancement and perpetuation of the cycle.
When the same things are said about each of these momentary stars - every one of them is courageous, honest, charismatic, principled, refreshing and thinks "outside of the box" - when each of then becomes a savior overnight, they are all doomed to be a brief trend. Even if they appear to be terribly different - Haredi, high-tech entrepreneur, news anchor - there is nothing new under the sun, and the cosmetic differences between the candidates are nothing more than attempts to vary and improve the model a bit.
Who can predict who the lucky one will be, come January 23? The average lifespan of any trend is growing increasingly shorter - which is to say there has been a rise in boredom, anxiety and shallowness - and that means it should be ready any time now. It's very likely that Bennett came in one wave too early.