Sunday, September 04, 2011

Rule of Dumb

Ed nails it. Once again, your intrepid corporate media manages to create and encourage a teabagger movement where there was none. Outside of fringe church book giveaways and conservatard book club specials, Christine O'Donnell will probably not sell, in the honest meaning of the term, more than a dozen books. Count on it.

There are a multitude of reasons for that, not the least of which are that O'Donnell has nothing whatsoever new or interesting to say about anything at all, nor is anyone who is actually enamored with her by definition a reader. I say this not just to be insulting (though that is an important part of it), but to point out an obvious and simple fact: people like O'Donnell, and Palin, Perry, Bachmann, etc., gain notoriety not for anything they've done, have the ability to do, or even intend to do. People like that are popular because they ventriloquize the antagonism, the endless butthurt of a claque of marginalized chumps.

In fact, even going back to the more successful movementarian jeremiads of yore (Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter), it would be surprising if most or even many of the people who obtained their books actually read them. And even if they did read them, it would not be to add to their arsenal of factual information, and certainly not to actually learn anything, or even to gain something resembling a meaningful intellectual perspective on the notions they routinely parrot. No, if they read the books, it would be to simply affirm what they already "knew".

So it is with fifteen journamalists hanging around a book signing with only five customers, and having nothing to say about the actual book in question. It is this sort of just-show-up coverage that has allowed the teabagger "movement" to metastasize far beyond where it would have landed normally, and to have a disproportionate effect on American politics. (And, it should be noted, to become a convenient scapegoat for the self-inflicted woes of the Democrats.)

I swear it's true -- when it comes to the media, there really used to be a time when both we and they understood the distinction between actual news and Jerry Springer reruns.


woodguy said...

As always,a pure joy to read. While my blogtivity is of necessity limited lately, this site is always my first stop and never fails to satisfy my hunger for a sane voice amid the inescapable din.
I've reached the undeniable conclusion that the baggers fall into three catagories: 1)The simply ignorant-those who are so poorly educated or of such a diminished capability that they know no better, 2)The willfully ignorant-who voluntarily choose to dwell in a fantasy world because it is their native habitat and therefore a place of comfort, and 3)The proudly ignorant-who not only wear their stupidity as a badge of honor but give others permission to do likewise because, well hell, everybody in their miserable circle of morons knows that's just the way things are, doncha know.
Sad to say, I've felt for too long that we are well beyond any sane way out of the mess in which we find ourselves, save a major come-to-our-senses epiphany. The whole freak show you so accurately describe in this post makes that seem ever less plausable. I think a violent upheaval is more likely. I'm old enough to wonder if I'll live to see the outcome, but you can be sure I'll be pissed if I don't and die before the real show begins. But I digress.

Thanks as always for your clarity of thought and expression. I was Jonesin' for some rationality and you, as always, came through.

Heywood J. said...

Thanks, woodguy. Your bagger categorizations sound about right to me; they see and hear what they wish to, it's more pleasant for them than what is.