Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Don't try this at home

Michael O'Hare, at a site I like to read "The Reality Based Community" hits the perfect level of sarcasm in this post about today's political/media climate.

Once upon a time, people made their own music in their living rooms with friends, or went out in the park to throw a ball around. The music they made required a lot of practicing and was still never really good; no-one I knew could play any ball game as well as even a middle-rank NFL player. Now, thank God, we have a few certified specialist experts making wonderful music for our iPods, and playing superb ball for us all to watch, and we can do it alone, which saves no end of taking care of other people's feelings. How could anyone want the art, or sports, of a great nation to be mostly made ineptly, by anyone and everyone, taking a lot of time that could be spent on the job? Surely it's better for all of us to leave this kind of thing to the few stars who are better than we could ever be. Kids used to have to make their own stuff with blocks, and pretend a rag doll was crying, laughing, talking, etc., but now every kid can have brightly colored, really complicated electronic toys that each do one amazing thing as soon as the batteries are put in, toys that are made by real professional designers and engineers instead of clueless six-year-olds. How are kids supposed to know when a doll should cry? With today's toys, they don't have to.

In politics, opinions and judgments made by amateurs, looking with untrained eyes at actual phenomena, are as bad as the home-made piano-playing we used to suffer. Why would we do this when we have famous and (usually) attractive people to do that for us? A few paid professional conservatives and liberals can give their tribes really good opinions, cunningly packaged in quick witty hits with super production values. It's just truculent and wilful to want to read a book, or watch a debate, when real pros have already done that so much better than we can, and are happy to give us really excellent opinions and judgments. Why would anyone want to hear views about the surge, or Social Security, from some friend who's not at all famous, badly lit, unrehearsed, with home-made makeup - or none! - and with some random office or restaurant background and dirty dishes on the table?



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