January 23, 2011

O & the SOTU

Ho-hum. Tuesday night we will hear President Obama's State of the Union speech. Although I don't have cable television anymore (it's a personal thing between me and Comcast - okay, I'll tell you what it is. See, for some reason my county granted Comcast an exclusive right to dig trenches in all our streets and to install cable so that Comcast, and only Comcast, can deliver cable TV. And what does a monopolist do when given an exclusive market? That's right. Well, mister, I'm not going to play that game. Sure, I could go back to satellite, but to tell you the truth, it's not bad not having TV. For example, I read on the Huffington Post that Keith Olbermann doesn't have a show on MSNBC anymore and you know what I thought? So what. It's not my problem. I used to watch his show once in a while, but after ten or twenty of those "Special Comments," which he would portentously announce during his show ["I'll have a Special Comment on that at the end of tonight's show"], he started to bug me as much as Glenn Beck and his pathetic stick-figure blackboard lectures. Olbermann, right down to the "good night and good luck" sign-off, was consciously modeling his show on Edward R. Murrow, but he did not have the gravitas to pull it off because he's essentially a jumped-up sports announcer trying to pull off a Tom Paine act.)

(Can't seem to get out of these parentheses for some reason. [Actually, I know the reason: it's because the idea of thinking about Barack and his upcoming Student Body President Nothing Speech is pretty boring.] Really, though, there's another, deeper reason that none of these cable shows actually work to mold public opinion, and that's the McLuhanesque explanation. What Olbermann was actually communicating was his anger - that's it. TV is pretty good at getting emotion across, which is why those dumb 60-second commercials can make you cry. But it's terrible at delivering information in a linear way that you can actually follow logically and retain usefully. A lot of the civil liberties issues that Olbermann used to yell about when Bush was in office [denial of habeas corpus, rendition, indefinite detention, military tribunals, the Bagram Black Hole, Guantanamo, targeted assassinations without due process, etc.] have all continued, or even been extended, under President Hologram. So where did Olbermann get with all that ranting and raving? Well, he made a lot of money. The "Special Comment" was his shtick and it was fun while it lasted.)

Bringing us back to the SOTU, I guess. Since I'm an Obama supporter, a campaign donor, I've received advance texting and email on this exciting, upcoming oration. It should be a real barn-burner. Deficit reduction! Working together! We're starting to get somewhere economically!

Ugh. This isn't working. The Hologram really has his work cut out for him trying to make such topics interesting. Maybe he should try the speech in "Special Comment" form. That would be fun, to see the O-Man get wild-eyed, flecks of spit at the corners of his mouth. Although certainly not very likely. What the media will focus on, I guaran-damn-tee, will be this novel "mixing of the parties in the audience" routine they're going to introduce. That will be the theme-meme-trope of 90% of the commentary. I have to say that the willingness of Republican members of Congress to go along with this bipartisan gag is a major coup for Barry. I can't figure out why they would do it, although I have a sneaking suspicion. I think it's because so many Republican Congressmen are gay. They want to meet some new guys. Sexual rationales can often explain the otherwise inexplicable. Worth considering, and perhaps it's yet another way the Imperial City of Washington is beginning to resemble the libertine omnisexuality of Ancient Rome. You'll never convince me a lot of those Republicans wouldn't like to attend next year's SOTU wearing a toga.

1 comment:

  1. Machipongo John11:02 AM

    First, as somebody commented, Olbermann is a pompous windbag, but he's our windbag.
    Second, I think the reason all the Congressmen want to cross-sit is not necessarily that they are gay. They decided that the sight of whole phalanxes of them sitting on their hands and scowling or cheering insanely at the same time doesn't look good on TV.