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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Feb 19, 2006.
krugman op/ed piece
Excellent, thank you. I heard the expression "be a mensch" many times growing up. It's the perfect word for what the people running this administration are not.
You know, among may things - I do blame the media for this mess we have, at least as an aggregate.
I wonder if, in this age of media saturation, we could possibly have an effective leader.
The media is unwilling to ask the important questions, after all they are a business and there is more money in catering to the lowest common denominator and in sensationalist fluff.
They also have the position of being a powerful international institution which is able to deal in unrealistic moral platitudes because they are essentially unaccountable.
Together this seems to create a climate where the harsh realities of politics, that is decision making, cannot and will not be accepted.
Do I mean to take blame off of the Bush Administration for anything they have done? Of course not, but they at least in part owe their existence and continued survival on this climate - one based on style over substance.
It's depressing, and of course more complicated - but I think true.
More preaching to the converted, I'm afraid. I've officially become disillusioned. Sorry, but call me when someone actually does something about it.
solvs, you'd have to un-invent TV. Sorry...
"But how did such people attain power in the first place? Maybe it's the result of our infantilized media culture, in which politicians, like celebrities, are judged by the way they look, not the reality of their achievements. Mr. Bush isn't an effective leader, but he plays one on TV, and that's all that matters."
Again, an advantage of a bunch of years: I watched Austin, Texas, politics after I got back home there in 1963. Historically, the city administration had been run by (mostly) businesmen who had track records of success. Political advertising and interviews on TV hadn't really been much of the big deal it later became.
The change that I saw was that to be a viable candidate, not only did you ahve to say the right things--whether or not you believed them--but you had to be physically attractive.
We wound up with pretty people who worried about the environment and the poor and things like historical designations and a host of other do-good ideas. The problem was that these people didn't understand that there is a limit to how much money can be spent on Doing Good. Shifting priorities away from sewage plants, street maintenance, police, libraries: The quality of life rose a little for some, but declined for the many.
We had a street-corner flower-seller on the council. We had an ex-news-guy from one of the TV stations; he went to the funny farm for a while because of a cocaine jag having him shoot a garden hose in his front yard with a .30-30; "Killing a snake!"
And so Austin's bonded indebtness is among the highest in the nation, per capita; the costs of city services have risen egregiously, and the quality of service is rather poor...
Folks say, "You can't blame all that on TV!" Well, maybe; maybe not. What I've seen with my own eyebones is a change that began when TV became a major factor in who gets elected.
After all, those who heard the debate between Nixon and JFK on the radio thought Nixon had won. Those who watched on TV chose JFK, in part because he didn't look nervous or perspire...
content has lost to presentation. until people in this country start giving a **** about content, which i don't think will ever happen again, we're doomed.
Or just get some prettier smart people.
You bring up an interesting point though. I was traveling at the time, so I was listening to Bush's SOTU on the radio. He came across even worse than he does on TV. The Democratic rebuttal on the other hand didn't seem as bad as everyone was saying it was. Wasn't great, but until I saw the TV footage, I didn't get what everybody was complaining about. Sad that someone like Lincoln probably wouldn't survive in today's world. Though I heard he was charismatic, he wasn't exactly what you'd call telegenic. People are very shallow.
My Sister didn't like Kerry because he was ugly and Bush is "cute".