The GOP Primary As Reality Television
I've been wondering if our political leadership (both parties) is now perceived as being so far removed from our actual lives and, instead, seen as entertainment that the actual effects of an election are incidental. The impact of who wins is about as significant in the minds of voters as who wins on "American Idol." Why did the Italians continue to elect Silvio Berlusconi? Because he was entertaining and seeing him on television turned him into someone with "fans" and not a constituency.This is not a screed. Just a thought.
Years ago I did a study on the uses of television. Marshall McLuhan was right in saying "the medium is the message" and the medium of television is entertainment - pure and simple. The content it can bear is limited because, unlike reading or listening, it is a medium of flickering images. Yes, we do have local cable channels that carry city council and school board meetings but that is not really television, is it? First and foremost, television is about entertainment and everything must conform to that for it to work. Every medium – print, radio, visual arts – has rules that make it work to carry the message. That’s not good or bad. It just is.
In “Amusing Ourselves to Death” Neil Postman said, “Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.” We watch our “leaders” and the debates as mere entertainment and increasingly have lost any sense of these actors having any genuine sense of the issues.
Sting said it years ago. “You could say I'd lost my belief in our politicians. They all seemed like game show hosts to me.”
|Leigh||February 2, 2012, 3:28 pm|
|The world tunes in to John Stewart and Stephen Colbert to see who said the craziest, most ridiculous thing in last night's debate,not to understand the issues. Entertain us with how stupid we are!|