Meditations on Scott Baio

Why we care that the former Charles in Charge and Joanie Loves Chachi star is speaking at the RNC tonight.

For a whole lot of journalists, and people, of a certain age(s), it would probably have been better if actor and now RNC speaker Scott Baio had remained in the warm, safe spaces within our hippocampus, existing in our memories solely as a character in a sitcom.

In our grown-up understanding of the world we get that characters and actors are not the same thing, that our appreciation for the art or entertainment that we like may not extend to the political sensibilities of the person creating the art or portraying a role.

But when the character exists in our pre-political awakening years, and the actor and his views come prominently into view when we’re firmly in adulthood, we are forced to reconcile what we knew and who we were as children with what we know and who we are as adults.

It is, admittedly, a solipsistic pursuit, and so naturally engenders a lot of fascination. Add to that the fact that his screen time spanned three shows and two decades, and you get a lot of social chatter, plus a current third place spot on Google Trends’ list of most-searched RNC Monday speakers. Here’s a taste.