TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2021
...Our Town sends in the clowning: It's hard to have sufficient contempt for the work of the upper-end press corps.
We recommend that you hold contempt for the work, not for the various people who produce it. If you insist on focusing on the people, we recommend that you think about the people who prescribe the type of work in question, not just the people who go out and perform in the manner requested.
We further suggest that you consider the vast limitations which obtain whenever we humans try to analyze, report or describe some incident or some issue. We simply aren't the "rational animals" of wildly popular lore.
Even when we try our best, our work will often be gruesomely bad. We suggest that you consider the basic point which is repeatedly made by major top skilled anthropologists:
In the end, it's pretty much the best we humans can do.
The work produced by our upper-end press corps may be the best we can do! That said, in a world like the one we inhabit, it's hard to avoid feeling contempt for the stunning intellectual incompetence routinely exhibited by our upper-end press corps—by this hapless, upper-class guild of badly flawed women and men.
Also, for the persistent clowning in which they engage, a corporate practice which has sometimes been described as "showmanship.".
In recent years, nowhere has the clowning been worse than on The Rachel Maddow Show. Even when the clowning is absent, the intellectual performance on this show has also been appalling on a fairly consistent basis.
Last Friday night, the clowning which began the show rose to the level of outright disgrace. In a world where children are drowning in the sea; in a world where frightened children and teenagers keep arriving at our southern border; in a nation awash in gun violence on a scale known nowhere else;
In a world of so many other descriptions, it may be hard to avoid feeling contempt for the profit-seeking corporate process which produces exhibitions like the one staged last Friday night on Our Town's favorite "cable news" show.
On the corporate level, the Maddow Show is owned by Comcast, a giant profit-seeking enterprise. Not that there's (necessarily) anything wrong with it!
The host of the show is paid vast sums to create profit for the parent company. Despite our love of transparency here in Our Town, we aren't allowed to know how much the host (and her colleagues) are paid.
(In substantial part, they're paid for their obedience. Surely we all can grasp that.)
In all probability, the problem starts with the corporate owners. That said, the problem reaches the public through the increasingly ridiculous work of the host, Our Town's favorite TV star.
We're prepared to assume that the host of the Maddow Show has been behaving in good faith—that it hasn't occurred to her that she's been doing something wrong, let alone something disgraceful.
Meanwhile, her corporate owners and her "journalistic" supervisors (to the extent that any supervision exists) may themselves be so limited that thoughts like those haven't entered their heads.
That said, the clowning has been disgraceful of late, and the intellectual performance has often been appalling. We think what happened last Friday night was an open insult, an outright disgrace, delivered by a person who pretty much shouldn't be on the air.
Out of respect for recent events, we're going to leave it there for today. Tomorrow, we'll return to the way the host started last Friday's program.
In a world where children are drowning in the sea, where people get shot and killed every day, we thought what we saw last Friday night was disgraceful, appalling, insulting.
Amazingly, though, it's standard fare as the host of this corporate program entertains us with "her performance of the Rachel figure." (We quote an admiring Janet Malcolm, writing strangely in The New Yorker).
Here in Our Town, we just keep cheering this on. As children drown and people get shot, we applaud this rolling mess.
That leaves us with a basic question:
What does that cheering say about us? Where do we fit in this picture?
Tomorrow: It's time for this garbage to go