Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Defending snobbery

dKos linked approvingly to a piece on Steve Gilliard's News Blog arguing that we need to at least fake an interest in pop culture in order to grab the proles and lead them slowly back into the real world, as opposed the MTY's Real World.

If CNN basically covers this story all Saturday, it's news. It's not a debate. It is news, and malaria isn't. Instead of wishing it wasn't news, we need to subvert it. We need to discuss it in wider terms, class, race, sex. We need to bring depth to the debate. I mean this story gets weirder by the day. But if you don't engage it, bring different perspectives to it, the media gets away clean again. When people say "you don't cover this story" people think "liberal whiner". If they want to talk about runaway brides, let's talk about runaway brides, but intelligently, questioning the sex roles of men and women and the economic cost and pressure in a large wedding. There is fertile ground for smart people, but they have to seize the target and change the debate.

One of the great tricks of conservative pundits was to talk about ANY topic. No matter what it was, they had an opinion, got face time and then book deals. They saw this as fertile ground to extend the debate. We have to engage these issues and bring new perspectives on them.
There's a sort of snobishness about news on the left. I don't watch TV, I only read the Guardian. Give me a fucking break. Most people think Angel comes after Guardian and when you don't watch TV, you might as well say pinko hippie. If you want to change minds, you have to speak their language and it's in things people care about.

If you don't have an opinion on the latest circus, your opinion on more serious matters will not count. You don't have to spend every day repeating Eonline, but you have to understand the culture, even the vulgar parts, to change it. If you do not engage the debate at hand, you will become irrelevant. Even if the debate is not a big deal in the end. Walking away, as we did so many times before, is no longer an option.

Now I am probably the worst person in the world to listen to on this issue. My most culturally literate friends all consider me an insufferable snob. I despise reality TV. I steadfastly refuse to join the Paris Hilton/Michael Jackson/BenJLoBrad rubbernecking. I know intelligent people who watch and enjoy this stuff. Please include me out.

But more to the point, I don't see how pandering and pretending to give a rat's ass about this stuff gets us anywhere we want to go. And if anyone thinks that trying to open a debate on the sociological implications of the runaway bride is going to make the flesh-eating zombies see us as less leper-like, then I have a used bowl of Wendy's chili to sell you.


Anonymous Steve said...

Considering that almost 70% of America gets its news from TV, until Soros or someone like that buys a major cable media outlet, like, say, a ratings-weakened MSNBC, whatever, to counter the corporate-owned opiates that we`re now being fed daily, then, yeah, you`re absolutely right. But as much as I hate to say it, Gilliard has a point--When in Rome, speak as the the Romans.

10:18 PM  

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