Playing With Fire ... Henney Penney warns Prometheus
Topic: Informed Electorate
Richard Cohen's piece in today's Washington Post, Digital Lynch Mob is a commentary on the intensity and magnitude, both in content and sheer numbers of those
who were ignited by Steven Colbert doing for the rest of us what we could not do for ourselves.
Cohen's original critique of Colbert's performance So Not Funny generated some 3500 angry (some over the top) responses. Cohen here seems to pose as some
sort of voice of apologetic pretense where cooler calmer heads must prevail - repudiating the excess of Colbert so as to not
offend certain unnamed voting blocks who might otherwise be aroused. These of course are the same voters - stampeded by the
pretend righteous rage of the Limbaugh's and O'Reilly's of this world - who put the morally and intellectually Left-Behind
president, his spinmakers and admin gofers in power in the first place.
Locally, Carl Washington State Political Report and Goldy at Horses Ass.com offer excellent opinion from both sides of Cohen's points.
Here's my own questionably excellent opinion:
While not advocating the emailing of ugly and rancorous dumbass bar room garbage to the likes
of Cohen, who obviously publishes from inside the bubble where the actual pulse of America is taken fewer times than a donkey's
teeth get brushed, I take with a large grain of salt anyone from inside that bubble lecturing the victims of a mindless manipulated
rage on why they should be nice so as to not hurt the feelings of an electorate presumed to be too dumb to understand the
folly of their original guided voting pattern.
The more we mock voter intelligence, the more we don't need Mr. Rove behind the scenes doing
a single cunning or scheming thing to betray us all again. The presence of any factor that implies we cannot be angry and
speak up - even when our voice shakes - saves Mr. Rove the trouble.
When I started my blog, Carl and Goldy were two of the models upon which I based my writing
and worked to focus my anger. Their dual perspectives are valuable, useful and informed.
As for Colbert and his puny million-person audience, the ratio of viewers to non-viewers (in
Colbert's case, only a million) is a notion skewed again from inside some sort of pretend knowledge bubble that does not take
into account the reactions -visceral or otherwise - that are elicited when Colbert speaks.
O'Reilly ONLY has 4 million viewers I'm told which is only a slightly larger peanut than Colbert
compared to American Idol. But O'Reilly no longer- if he ever did - generates the kind of angry outpouring that his more direct
lying and exaggeration elicited in the past. All he accomplishes now with his anger-mongering is slowing the pace of expiration
of his ever-shrinking angry-white-man base.
Colbert, on the other hand, lights a fire under bloggers that has not been similary lit since
a grandma on a roadside in Texas took issue with a coward and focused her own anger in a very constructive direction. That
in so doing, she unleashed some who then went over the top in their emailing anger is beside the point.
That in so doing she unleashed, prompted and empowered millions to start emailing congress persons,
newspapers, TV and radio stations is indisputable.
Colbert has done a much more powerful good in generating a healthy and cathartic venting rather
than eliciting a frustrated mindless rage based on a feeling of helplessness.
Anger is anger and indignation is not always righteous. But it's Henny Penny who says "don't
go there. Let's stay cold and dark in this cave because this 'fire' stuff might burn us."
It's Prometheus who said, "without fire, you'll stay in that dark and cold place forever."
© Arthur Ruger 2006