Friday, October 22, 2004

we the puppets

You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls.
There is very little time for blogging - in your life, too, if truth were told. One thing, though, to see, is that Jon Stewart on Crossfire is a metaphor. As is the entire trope of castigating media for failing to see how bad it is at doing its job. Media is not degrading democracy; like a dull hubcap, it merely offers us the image of democracy degraded.

Look at it this way: right about now, we have two parties, two power structures, in a dead heat. Two candidates chasing "undecided" voters around the countryside, sucking up to any small town in Pennsylvania (home of the Main Line, aka richfucks inc.), any Ohio mall, any Florida country club ("President who?") that will have them.

And there we can be found, pleezed as punch, Vegas tourists wowed by their first Elvis impersonator. "We" - that is, the electorate that in a couple of weeks will no longer be in quite such demand, who have not used this rare leverage to make demands of our own. We have not said: End this war. We have not said: Raise wages. We have not said: Sound healthcare for everyone. Instead of saying, look, if you want this job, do this, or we will recall your ass before it has time to warm your throne, we prefer to make it look like two proponents of one macho national agenda are enacting democracy as they both promise to keep our society pretty much closed, hidebound, and oligarchic, because, you see, they see this is what we want. We are puppeteers who think we are a roomful of dumb people.

This is less democracy than participatory laugh-trackism. We are, as Colin says in this comment, backdrops, and these are no longer realistically rendered. Cheap sketches of masses stretching into a threadbare distance of sockpuppets.

Stewart on Crossfire was, giddily, seriously, seeking to disrupt the format, and has acquired symbolic power just for trying. His "boring" turn jarred, if momentarily. The jester refusing to jest, the claymation hero straining to grasp the clay.


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