Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Michael Jackson's Media Attention
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJeff Goldblum

When I came out of a stay in the wilderness on Thursday, I checked into a private campground. Almost the the first human speech I had heard in days was the lady at the campground office, a perfect stranger, telling me "Michael Jackson died!"

Now, five days later, the news channels are starting to talk about other things. The weekend that just ended reminded me of the weekend after John Kennedy was shot (which happened on a Friday) -- a weekend in which the media seemed to have only one thing on their mind.

These have been five days during which Americans who listens to music that is not transparently easy to understand at first listening, or who occasionally read a book, has been reminded that most of the people in this country aren't like them at all.

I suppose this is a good thing to remember every once in a while. We live in a system of capitalist democracy, which means everything is driven by the voter/consumer. The tastes and interests of l'homme moyen sensuel explain a lot of what we see in the public forum. Why is Congress jamming through a crippling anti-global-warming bill, though there has been no global warming since 1998? Why did we go to war against Iraq, a country that posed no threat to us whatsoever? We have here is not the whole answer, but surely it is an indispensable part of it.

I find this rather comforting, oddly enough. The world is not really insane, as it often seems. It just isn't terribly bright. That's better. Isn't it?
Added later: It is now a week since his passing and, turning on the TV, I see that CNN, Headline News, Fox, and MSNBC are all talking about him simultaneously. I gather that he is still dead, and turn the thing off.
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