Why snarly pundits are losing their own battles
I don't think there's ever been a time in my life when politics was as talked about as much or as with as little restraint as it is today. A great deal of this is due, I'm sure, to the advances in communication: the internet, talk-radio, cable shows dedicated to promoting political agendas, and the abandonment of unbiased coverage in favor of promotion of political agenda from the old major television networks. There seems to be books coming out every month, book concentrating on political views and written by individuals who have some smidgeon of experience with politics or just like to talk about politics. The radio is ablaze with commentators. These self-made pundits, generally well-spoken and absolutely unswerving in their beliefs, have captured a cultural niche the likes of which have never before been seen in the media.
In this trending adrenaline-filled culture of outspoken viewpoints, vanishing is the simple idea that everyone is entitled to have their own opinion. Dear gods in Valhalla, dare to make a counter-popular commentary in some forums and its like jumping into shark infested waters. But more so than the amateur assault junkies are several of today's most leading pundits, from liberal and conservative camps alike. They aren't just quick to shout down contrary views, they want to wallow in their reactions and broadcast these venomous reactions wherever they may chance have an audience. Typically, these loudmouth pundits don't give a rat's tushy how nasty, childish or ill-bred their counter-criticisms are. They persevere like cockroaches after a storm, spreading their nastiness with only renewed fervor.
This trend extends to political parodying and stand-up, which I actually enjoy when done well. But this genre of humor is sinking into mediocrity caused by a saturation of rabid views. Take Bill Maher for example. Instead of humor he plies his audience with trashy swipes at people. Case in point: Sarah Palin's family. Ok, I may not like Bristol Palin -and as a matter of fact I don't- but to drag Palin's entire family (including the infants) into his gutter-bred style of comedy isn't comedy at all. Its not cutting-edge, its not funny. It is ugly. And it shows how lame an individual is to rely on pot-shots of innocent children in the aim to score a few laughs among those of like mind.
The other pundits just generally rant and rave, like Michelle Malkin. Poor Michelle; I might take her seriously if she didn't undermine so many assertions with half-researched validation and hypocritical rationalizing. Well, that and the fact her voice gets painfully shrill and her face tends to swell like a puffer fish when she's contradicted. The last thing I want to see when trying to fend off an assault to my ears is seeing an attractive woman morph into Spongebob Squarepants' driving instructor. My nerves can't stand it and my TV set weeps.
Behavior as demonstrated by the likes of Maher and Malkin leave me thinking -as I'm sure some others do- that there may well be some underlying hatred fueling their fire. Conviction alone doesn't breed vulgar insults, verbal abuse or the needy compulsion to go after others. Whether it is Maher attacking someone's children or Malkin attacking someone's tribal rituals, the contemptible things they see in others is nothing compared to the contempt they display.
What is most ironic about this -coming from anywhere- is it is usually the people who most vehemently defend the right of free speech that strive to shout down, scream at, name-call and generally have a rabid hissy fit on those who contradict their personal convictions.
Not everyone pulls this. There are still a lot of people who express themselves with respect to others. But I've come to the sad conclusion that this kind of conduct has become culturally fashionable. Too many people just seem to enjoy being angry. Their inner reactions may start as a simple, firm conviction to a particular ideal; but they go to extremes that trample on the very ideals of proper civility they expect from others. Most galling is when they turn around and excuse their behavior by saying things like you can't be a goody-two-shoes if want to defend the truth. But what, I ask, does acting like a mean, spoiled brat have to do with defending any truth?
a pundit who earned my respect
I like Glenn Beck, even if I don't want to throw my panties at him
I can only hope that the trend won't progress. But I also speculate that if it does continue then pundits will start seeing that such behavior usually costs serious consideration of their views. If an expressed idea is articulated poorly, and poorly often enough, it becomes merely fodder for parody and dismissal. And once people start dismissing your credibility they often dismiss anything worthwhile that just may fly out of your mouth.
Keith Olbermann knows who the Worst People In the World Are
but shouting, "The rats at the IRS who intruded on my PRECIOUS time!!" isn't very constructive to socialist agenda.
Rush Limbaugh recognizes un-American activity when he sees it
as long as he's not in a painkiller-induced fog
Chris Matthews compares the Tea Party to the Muslim Brotherhood..
..the Keebler Elves to Nazis, the Smurfs to Chinese communists and Snoopy to Dino the Dinosaur.