There has been much buzz about John McCain running an ad suggesting that his opponent Barack Obama is just a "celebrity" in the same vein as Paris Hilton. McCain's strategy may backfire because many Americans — especially the young — hold celebrity status as a benchmark of worth, even it that's illogical.

It is a disservice to paint a caricature of an opponent instead of discussing differences on issues. However, the real disservice is degrad

ing public service itself into a celebrity cook-off. Both Obama and McCain are spending millions of dollars generating their own self-serving propaganda. They pretend to know how to "cook a gourmet meal" when most Americans need help with basic "bread and butter" necessities.

James A. Marples