Friday, December 2, 2011

Pretender Politics

Keith Olbermann fancies himself some sort of reincarnation of Edward R Murrow. Instead, he's proven to be a cross between everybody's favourite creepy uncle, the one who insists on reading you a bedtime story once a week, even though you're forty-five, and a thin-skinned, petulant and spoiled big girl's blouse, the sort of prissy kid who, when things don't go his way, takes his ball and flounces home.

Keith can't accept any opinion divergent to his own. In that respect, he's no different from anyone else on the Professional Left, especially those who interact with the plebs on social networking sites, who respond to opinion challenges with ripostes which are nothing less than blatantly rude.

Somebody's egos are too big, or else their mammas didn't tan their backsides enough when they were bratty children.

Keith's online behaviour hit Age Six Level this week when he summarily blocked a formerly avid fan ho dared address a question to his recent guest, comedian Richard Lewis, wherein she referred to him as "Lewis."

Olbermann took umbrage at this, thinking it rude she referred to the guest by his surname (hard to believe such an inveterate tweeter wouldn't realise that there's a 140-character limit on Twitter), blocked the woman. As the woman in question was a pretty high-profiled Keithbot, when other fans tweeted Olbermann about this, he responded by announcing that he wouldn't be responding to anyone's tweets in the future. In other words, he wouldn't be responding to the plebescite anymore, thank you very much, so there!

You can read about the hilarious and highly unprofessional confrontation from the injured party's point of view here.

Hell hath no fury like a scorned female fan, however. This woman could be pretty obnoxious to anyone who dared question Olbermann's judgement in the past. She really was the Keeper of the Flame for Keith's fanbase, but she left him with an absolute peach of a parting shot (the emphasis is mine):-

So what do I have to say to this all? Honestly, I'm more confused than anything else right now, but there's some undeniable sadness and anger. Mr Olbermann, I think what you did was extremely petty. Not just blocking me but blocking anyone who you construe as disagreeing with you or daring to question you. I understand that you must get a lot of extremely insulting and possibly threatening messages every day and I can't imagine what it's like to deal with that, but your actions here are downright confusing at best. I've supported you and your show for so long, even during times when you were heavily criticised, because I stood firm in my belief that you stood up for what was right. But I'm done now. I'm not going to creep around on egg-shells for you or anyone else. I believe in the power of words and the responsibility that comes with them. If you think I'm being some sort of bully for using someone's surname then maybe you should think about the impact you have when you refer to a network as a "political whorehouse" or a female commentator as "a mashed up bag of meat with lipstick" or when one of your guests calls a rape accusation "hooey" or when a frequent guest on your show says, in reply to GOP's false equivalences over violent rhetoric "Well, I think that's what they said about the burning of the Reichstag, if I recall correctly." Practice what you preach, Mr Olbermann. I call you that because it's polite. So I'm done.

I also vote.

I realise that in a democracy all citizens should have a voice, and that "voice" is most effectively heard via the ballot. That's one thing. But that doesn't mean every Tom, Dick and Harry has a right to appear on a political commentary-and-opinion program in order to pontificate as if he or she were a seasoned pundit. I appreciate that comedians and entertainers are entitled to their own opinions politically (but not their own facts). I just object to their propensity to hide behind their entertainer's mask whenever they say something irresponsible, controversial or just plain stupid.

Thursday evening, Ed Murrow's Olbermann's political pundit of the day was Jackson Browne. That's right, that Jackson Browne. The Old Pretender, himself. These days, however, it looks as though Jackson's pretending he's not 63 years old anymore, judging from the amount of botox it looked as though he'd injected into his face and a particularly dire eye job.

Jackson had on his political cap last night and was invited by Olbermann in order to pontificate about the efficacy of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In that capacity, Jackson made an observation that was not only not astute, it was borderline stupid.

“But the fact that it’s sprung up in so many places, and it has such a resonance with the Arab Spring and with demonstrations with other parts of the world — I used to think, when all of France was shut down by unionists and students, why can’t that happen in the United States?” he said. “But I think that it is possible this will have a real effect on our electoral politics.”

I'm a big Jackson Browne fan. I have been for nearly forty years. I think he's a great singer and an excellent songwriter, and I think he should play to his strengths. By that and based on the above remark, Jackson should stick to the day job, because when he makes an observation like that, I'm more than a little inclined to think he's maybe running on empty a bit.

First of all, Occupy Wall Street can, in no way, be compared to Arab Spring. What happened across the Middle East, and is still happening in some parts, was a protest in demand for democracy, for the status quo dictators to stand aside and allow free elections so people might vote in order to determine their political future.

Occupy Wall Street, although it originally sought to heighten income inequality, has devolved into an intransigent demand for a right to camp in places where camping isn't allowed and has been co-opted ruthlessly by Michael Moore, who's using it as an exercise in self-publicity to bolster sales of his recent book.

Where Arab Spring was a movement demanding the right to exercise their voice through the ballot box, the message OWS have been spewing of late is that voting isn't important. It's not worth it, and it doesn't matter. They're a movement which seems only to respond to the presence of whatever celebrity seems to appear with cameras and microphones in tow. They can mic check the President of the United States, but when he appears to engage with them, they don't want that. I'm not sure what they want, but I am sure that the only politician to whom they give even a modicum of respect is Ron Paul. Go figure that.

Secondly, when Jackson waxes lyrical about unionists and students shutting down France, please tell me when that occurred recently? I well remember 1968, but there hasn't been a Leftwing government in France since Mitterand. France, like most Western countries, has been inching more and more to the Right. From Chirac, we got Sarko; and in the French elections next year, the French have the delectable choice of Sarko (Centre-Right) and Marin LePen (Right Wingnut Nazi).

Sure, there are student strikes and industrial action, but never more than a day, and the government just shrugs its collective shoulders and carries on - so much for that bit of romanticism, Jackson.

Finally, Jackson thinks OWS will have a real effect on electoral politics. Well, yes, it could - but only if its protesters start at grass roots level and get behind, support and encourage politicians to run, who reflect their own ideals. And only if they vote.

You can watch this piece of political prescience (not) here below:-

It's no wonder that Europe consider our political commentariat to be nothing less than amateur or something more akin to one of Jackson Browne's better known songs ...

No comments:

Post a Comment