SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2022
Joined now by White House contenders: How dumb does our upper-end discourse get?
It gets amazingly dumb! If you aren't able to grasp that fact, you can't see the world we all live in.
How dumb does it get at the top of the pile? Consider the MOST READ article in the entire, sprawling online universe of the Washington Post.
The article was posted online yesterday morning, at precisely 6 A.M. And at 9 A.M. this very day, it was listed by the Washington Post as the newspaper's MOST READ article.
What article had shot to the top in this way? It's listed as an "Analysis" piece, and it carries this mind-numbing headline:
The top 10 Democratic presidential candidates for 2024, ranked
That dumb! And yes, that article was listed as MOST READ—most read of the endless selection of filler and drivel on display at the online Post.
Full disclosure! The election to which the analysis piece refers will take place in November 2024—thirty-one months from now! At this point, it's sheer insanity to be listing the top ten possibilities for nomination on the Democratic side.
You really have to be out of your mind to mainline "horserace" journalistic culture to such an addictive extent. And please note:
Aaron Blake didn't restrict himself to the top ten possibilities, with Joseph R. Biden ranked at #1 and AOC #10.
Apparently, ten wasn't enough. Blake added these eight more:
Others worth mentioning: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Stacey Abrams, Mitch Landrieu, Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.)
You really have to be nuts! But there it was, listed as the MOST READ article in the whole of the online Post. Post readers were wolfing it down.
Meanwhile, riddle yourself this:
A few days ago, we mentioned the peculiar disconnect which obtains between the rather traditional print edition of the Washington Post and the Post's much dumber, much more extensive online edition.
The front page of the online Post goes on and on and on. No inanity gets left behind—for example, the report about the many tomatoes which grew on the vine.
That's right! This morning marks the eleventh consecutive day on which this "Inspired Life" report has appeared on the front page of the online Washington Post:
He grew 1,269 tomatoes on a single stem and broke his own world record
Way back when, Harold Hill had his 76 trombones. Today, the online Washington Post can't quit those twelve hundred tomatoes.
Meanwhile, consider the following oddness:
The tomato report is featured again on the front page of the online Post. It has been there for eleven straight days.
Meanwhile, consider the five articles which appear on the front page (page A1) of this morning's print edition, along with the three article which appear on the front page (page B1) of today's once-a-week Outlook section.
Those eight articles have been granted the highest visibility in the print edition of this morning's Washington Post. But only five of those articles appear on the front page of the online edition at all.
Twelve hundred tomatoes are still found there; three of those eight front-page print articles are not! It's almost like the online Post is a different publication—different and defiantly dumber.
Anthropologists are telling us this:
On balance, it turns out that we're a very dumb people at this point in time. This is nowhere more true, these experts insist, than at the very top of our upper-end mainstream press, where—to borrow from Lake Wobegon—the children have all attended the finest schools and their work is all below average.
Online, the Post can't quit those tomatoes. Major front-page reports don't appear!