The Triumph of the Crazies

Sarah Palin is maybe not what you’d call the world’s most seasoned statesperson. Lightly experienced, clearly uninterested in the nuances of governance, she sticks to the talking points, and when pressed for more reaches into her gingham sack of catch-phrases, platitudes and one-liners. You may worry about the Obama administration’s attempts to balance gov’t regulation and the power of open markets to confront an int’l economic disaster. Palin wants to know how the “hopey, changey thing” is working out for you.

Her contempt for liberalism and (it seems) government as a whole is clear, but beyond that the lines of logic are hard to track. Her recent masterwork: The seething excoriation of Rahm Emanuel for using “retard” in the worst possible way, followed immediately by a smiling defense of Rush Limbaugh — the sternly anti-drug, law-n-order, law-breaking drug addict — for using the same word in exactly the same way, only multiple times, and with his own rip at “the p.c. types,” like Palin, who criticize anyone free enough to wield the mother tongue not like a complete retard.

So no surprises there, I guess, given what we know about both of those characters. But that’s just a start. Consider the industrial-strength narcissism guiding the soul of Sen. John Edwards, whose stirring concern for the underprivileged is not quite extended to his cancer-stricken wife. Yikes. 

Follow the jump to see the part about Arianna Huffington as Lady MacBeth…

But then, any discussion of hypocritical and/or head-clutchingly self-involved politicians would go on all night. And often it does, when you’re watching cable TV or absorbing other faces of the tabloid culture we’ve created for ourselves these days. Policy is boring, I get it, but when virtiually every episode of Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” becomes a breathless account of how this awful accusation from the right led to that blistering press conference from the left, the nation begins to feel like a dark and angry place. On the ‘net you’ve got that shadowy weirdo Matt Drudge combing the globe for whatever right-tilting propaganda the ‘net will muster, while the left’s Lady MacBeth, Arianna Huffington cultivates an entire staff of (unpaid) bloggers and linkers to prove how the conservatives are being smashed, destroyed, annhialated, etc. on a daily basis.

And also, did you hear that the American public’s faith in their leaders and system of governance is at an all-time low? Wonder how that happened?

Largely because virtually all mainstream reportage of politics and cultural events has been reduced to tabloid terms. And while that would be bad enough if politics and culture were still capable of consistently serious business, that’s hardly the case. Because the medium becomes the message, as some Canadian once said, and thus the content must be adjusted in order to fit the delivery system.

And as long as the delivery system is hypnotized by conflict, insults and virtually every form of lunatic behavior you can imagine, the news must be lunatic, too. Worse, the pool of lunatics are both attracted to, and thrive within, the no-longer-quite-so-serious poltical/cultural world.

If Sarah Palin and John Edwards didn’t exist, then Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Wolf Blitzer, and co. would have invented them. Only, um, I think they already did.

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