Edmund Burke once rebuked the French, “Your legislators seem to have taken their opinions of all professions, ranks and offices from the declamations and buffooneries of satirists.” This is our problem as well. Caricatures are supposed to be the province of comedians, who use them to simplify and spoof. And once upon a time they were, which is why the genesis of modern cable news is the aforementioned Jon Stewart. It was Stewart who pioneered the art of clipping Fox News videos out of context and milking them for attention. Now everyone else on cable is ripping off his act.
And I do mean everyone. Tune in to MSNBC right now and you very well might find Stephanie Ruhle responding to Laura Ingraham responding to Chris Cuomo responding to Sean Hannity responding to Rachel Maddow responding to Fox and Friends responding to Don Lemon responding to the ghost of Walter Winchell responding to Skeletor. It’s like a Narcissus infinity mirror. There are simply too many of these drama merchants to trace their complaints all the way on down. Which perhaps is the point: outrage rarely sprouts from deep roots.
As for poor Uncle Mortimer, the truth about him is that he isn’t a caricature. He probably has some interesting lived experience, a couple stories to tell, a sense of humor. Maybe he once met JFK. Maybe he dreams of one day selling his wood carvings on Etsy. Instead, what we get are his political opinions, the most boring thing about him. This year, let’s not turn dinner into another doomed revival of Crossfire; let’s restore that most ancient and venerable of maxims: “no politics or religion at the table.”
While I can certainly understand someone having a “pox on all your houses” opinion, there is one significant difference between the three channels; I don’t think Fox News is running too many of these segments this week: MSNBC: Thanksgiving’s About White Settlers Who Brought ‘Genocide and Violence.’
In any case, America’s Newspaper of Record strikes a sensitive, healing tone this week: Black, White Americans Join Hands Around Common Cause Of Launching Journalists Into The Sun.
h/t Ed Driscoll