A place to rant about politics, the media, and especially the electorate. Much like alcohol, the electorate is both the cause of, and the solution to, all of America's problems.

Location: Seattle, Washington

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

None of the good guys quite gets it... still...

I love Josh Marshall, and I love Krugman even more. Both very bright, insightful, yadayadayada. In the linked articles, they're bitching about the jackass media's debate coverage. And rightly so, as far as it goes - but neither of them seems to have caught on to the fact that such things take place in an environment that allows it. That environment is the consumers of media products - the public.

Kos, Drum, Marshall, Krugman, and the rest can bitch about republicans and the media all they want - to a large degree they're doomed to failure because suppliers only care what the consumer thinks - not commentators. (Similarly, movie producers can look on at Siskel & Ebert with equanimity, while their movies rake in jillions of dollars.)

Let me state it baldly: there will be no rehabilitation of either republicans or the media independent from a more general resuscitation of the public.

It's as if Kos, et al are trying to come up with ways of bailing water faster, while the chainsaw attack on the boat continues unabated.

Or like a saying/fable I 1/2 recall, about two folks saving babies from drowning in a river, and one guy gets sick of it, and takes off, to the other's consternation. After a bit, the periodic appearance of floating babies ceases, and the guy who left comes back, saying he went and popped the jackass who was throwing the damn babies in the damn river.

One more way to put it: Tom Petty had the right of it in Refugee:

Somewhere, somehow somebody
Must have kicked you around some
Tell me why you wanna lay there
And revel in your abandon
Listen it don't make no difference to me baby
Everybody's had to fight to be free
You see you don't have to live like a refugee

The media and the republicans are merely SYMPTOMS of the problem folks. The root is a weak, apathetic, and intellecutally underdeveloped and malleable public.

As long as we (the people) act like stereotypical powerless girls getting raped by big powerful evil black (damn stereotypes) men, we'll continue to get raped like it. If we stop acting like bitches, we'll stop getting fucked like bitches (Pulp Fiction adaptation).

But in any case, my main point is: institutions are an embodiment of the general public. While small, specifc institutional problems might be fixable by reference only to the institution, more wide-ranging and fundamental problems may only be fixed by reference to the larger public environment within which they exist.

And until bigwigs like Krugman, Marshall, Drum, Atrios, Kos, and the rest start getting the word out, we're not going anywhere.

EDIT: In fairness, it seems to me that Howard Dean is largely of the same opinion as I am re: the fundamentals vs symptoms issue. Because he actually talks to real live people, he can't speak so baldly as I can, but I think he's largely there... That's about the only bigwig I can think of though.......


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