Now This Log

« 1 November 2008 « - Back Archives Next - » 3 November 2008 »

day permlink Sunday, 2 November 2008

permlink Making Everyone Dumber; Reformed Maverick

This election article (from July) jumped with both feet into the category I call "Making Everyone Dumber":

obama-smith-mccain-wayne-photo.jpg Leading Men: Barack Obama and John McCain Want the Biggest Role in Politics, Yet Each Candidate Has Very Different Star Qualities to Offer by Stephen Hunter [WPost]

It's not hard to see Sen. John McCain calling the young, fresh-faced Sen. Barack Obama a "blankethead," [as John Wayne did] just as it's easy to imagine Obama interrupting his opponent in a debate with a hectoring, "Hey, old guy." [like Will Smith in Men in Black]

It is? Really? I didn't see any Obama debate performance in the primary (or since) that would make that easy to imagine. Is it easy to imagine just because Will Smith is black too?

You might consider it a lobbying effort not to win an election but to get a starring role in "The Next Four Years."

Or, one might not. One might be a movie reviewer trying really hard to shoehorn a political subject into one's area of expertise. And one might come up with nothing the least bit illuminating or useful in several hundred words.

Even looking at the picture which accompanied it in the print edition (above) can start to make you dumber... Associating Presidential candidates with superficially similar movie stars ("Yes, Will Smith is black too!") and then pretending the movie stars' qualities give you insight into the candidates is really... useless.


...practically designed to give results with little relation to reality.

What was the point of this article? What value did it add, to anyone?

The Post has pushed more than a few of these idiot articles over the campaign, often (but not always) in its "Style" section, famed home of fashion critiques of public figures. (Why such things are deemed worth printing: a mystery.)

Here's another, also from July:

'The One'? Take a Number, Sen. Obama by David Montgomery [WPost]

Wags in John McCain's camp reportedly have taken to referring to Barack Obama as "the One."

At least it's upfront about its source. It takes a weird claim which the McCain camp made up and trumpeted but which Obama does not himself make, then proceeds to both make fun of and scold Obama for not living up to the claim. Is this any way to run a newspaper?

Next, Obama's going to don a full-length black coat, like Keanu Reeves's Neo in the 1999 film, and start jumping really high in the process of saving mankind.

Uh... he is?

At this point I am now dumber for having read this article.

To pad the word count, it gets all Joseph Campbell on us, tells about the journey a "One" usually takes, and throws in several lines from The Matrix. Just because, I guess.

For good measure, the Obama headline is paired with pictures of: Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, Keanu/Neo and Roger Daltrey as Tommy (??!).

Why this article was printed -- aside from giving free amplification to a nonsensical political attack -- is difficult to understand.

Thankfully I've stopped being exposed to much of this deeply stupid writing lately because we recently canceled delivery of the daily Washington Post (we still get Sundays).

If you feel you must associate a candidate with an actor, you really ought to work at it hard enough that you can draw more parallels than the most obvious & superficial. (Will Smith!)

The Daily Show did a more thorough job of matching John McCain's career with... Marlon Brando's.

John McCain: Reformed Maverick

When I saw this in September, the closing footage was really striking.

I remembered the 2000-era McCain somewhat favorably. He seemed to have at least some principles I could appreciate.

But he's pretty systematically dismembered that version of himself since then. See Steve Benen's list of McCain's position-switches in the last few years (currently holding at 76), almost all toward the right wing of the party.

I had read plenty of coverage of his reversals, but the clips the Daily Show used to contrast then (1999-2004) & now really brought it home to me.

He's really not the same guy at all.

If you were everything you say
things would be different today
-- Aimee Mann, "Say Anything", "Whatever"
permlink     0 comment(s)   Add a comment...

« 1 November 2008 « - Back Next - » 3 November 2008 »

Home - Log - NowThis Consulting - Writing - Media - Links - About
© MCMXCVII-MMVI Steve Bogart