Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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September 03, 2009

Rick Perlstein now has reiterated, here, a point that perhaps cannot not not not not not not not be reiterated enough:
Much of what passes for analytical discussion about politics on American TV resembles celebrity gossip -- the celebrities just happen to be politicians.

TiR idly wondered about the American overlap between the realms of entertainment & political media coverage two summers ago when, for a day or two, we entertained the pet theory that in the USA:

all political pundits secretly wish that they were movie reviewers (e.g., Medved);

all movie reviewers secretly want to become political pundits (e.g., Ebert); and

both sides will go out of their way to push their actual job closer to their dream job at every opportunity, for a convergence somewhere in the middle.

For example, we will see political pundits with increased openness "review" political speeches, press conferences, campaigns and, of course, broadcast advertisements exactly and only as if they were reviewing movies -- and expect their audiences to see nothing stupid, strange or troubling in this practice.

Related, we imagined, were:
the phenomena of commentators who aspire to wear hats in both the film & politics worlds (e.g., Steve Sailer);

the unremarkability in the USA's experience of movie or TV performers who become politicians (e.g., Reagan, Schwarzenegger, Fred Thompson);

the rise of the political movie documentary blockbuster (e.g., Michael Moore, "Inconvenient Truth"); and

the possibly tangential connnection, useful for comparison, between the punditries of politics & sports (e.g., Rush, Olbermann, Malzberg).

Anyway, as per usual, TiR got bored [someone will say: understandably] with the material and shelved it before we could be bothered to develop it into a blog post.

[Note: Many readers should automatically say in response to whatever Perlstein has to say & to anything that anyone (esp. us) could possibly have to say about it:

"Duh! Yawn. What a trite and therefore stupid observation. Tell us something we don't already know! Please try to come up with something new to say. Lame. Superficial. Shopworn. Highly unoriginal. Next! Booooring."

These rejoinders are well nigh unanswerable.

Dilemma though: How to react to the old, busted, boring, superficial, non-engaging?

One possibly creditable thing to say in defense of the font of celebrity gossip is that it will at least always keep you tuning in every day, trying to guess what it will say next.

Yes, if you are an expert on knowing what's lame and what's not, you successfully will be able to predict, on most days, what the next new gossip will be, especially if you word your prediction vaguely enough (always a winning wording to use: "More b.s.").

However, no matter how smart, savvy, cynical and jaded you are, you will nevertheless be surprised on some days by celebrity gossip.

We imagine that the surprise enwraps the humiliating revelation that you were unable precisely to guess the new day's next plot twist because you as audience member must realize that you have not yet sunk low enough to become even more cynical, jaded, pessimistic, and all-knowing about the infinite aspects of the cruelties & idiocy of other humans than you already believe you have. You somehow have been outflanked by someone even more cynical than yourself. You thought that you were an expert but you see that you're still an amateur.

[Helpful & inevitable suggestion: What could boost your expertise on human stupidity better than paying a little more attention to celebrity gossip?]

To win such a race to the bottom is a constant challenge.

If that's your thing.]


We remembered all this because of a new dispatch from the fault zone between celebrity entertainment gossip and political analysis, here.

TiR's favorite response so far to the piece is here:
Still, there was something rather troubling about the article: Almost none of the words within it were more than two syllables long. . . .

Wouldn't it be even more authentic if every word, excluding proper nouns, that came out of Levi Johnston's mouth were only one syllable? You can be the judge of that.

A "translation" into single syllable words of LJ's account is then provided.

TiR encourages the author of the piece, Mr. Johnston or anyone else to take up and complete our monosyallabic translation of Kant's first critique, the CPR, here. We never made it past the first paragraph. Or wanted to.

Monosyllabomaniacs can find efforts in a similar spirit, so we now discover, in the "Words of One Beat" poetry sites, here and with numerous translations here.

The translated sonnet "Shall I say how thou'rt like a mid-year's day?" by one "Will the Bard" is especially brilliant.

(A link to the text of the original sonnet, with its words of up to three syllables, is here.)