Posted On: Tuesday - April 10th 2018 1:38PM MST
In Topics:   Internets  Pundits  Media Stupidity
I just read another good James Kirkpatrick article (here on unz, for comments) about a supposed conservative pundit at The Atlantic magazine who lasted only a month before being terminated for writing something that other pundits didn't like. Maybe it was something with too much truth in it, I dunno, but either way, it's a pundit-eat-pundit world out there. That's what this post is about. It's not particularly about the information in Mr. Kirkpatrick's VDare article itself, but the article is a good example of Peak Stupidity's thesis here.
There've been pundits around, telling us what to make of current events (doesn't that bring back memories), or politics, for as long as people could read, I suppose. Back in the past, they wrote for newspapers, which got delivered to the doorstep TWICE a day back in the past. I don't have data at my fingertips, but I don't think there's any doubt that, even though literacy numbers may have been lower way back in America's past, those who could read and write did it on average at quite a higher level. Just read some tweets, if you don't believe me here. OK, you're back already, great. Due to the newspaper being pretty much the ONLY source of news, the pundits with their opinions of what we should think about it all were much bigger figures (at least in the "written" world). There were guys like Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle, H.R. Mencken of the Baltimore Sun and others who were not just stars in their day but are still quoted and talked about to this day.
When TV came about, after some years of the same 3 channels - occasionally with that static-y obnoxious ORIGINAL "learning channel", PBS up there in the high VHF range - there had been established the television version of the pundits. I don't know when people started getting back from church so early, but these Sunday morning shows, such as "Meet the Press" were established more than 1/2 a century ago.
Same old Gibber-Jabber, different haircuts and furniture
Now, to the present day, the print world is dying a slow, but decreasingly-slow death due to the www, and that is a good thing. The internet has allowed anyone to be a pundit, and to me, that's also a good thing. The big shots in the current magazines or legacy newspapers, or on the internet versions of these, have to work a lot harder and don't have the job security of a Herb Caen. In the article linked to near the top, and hundreds or thousands like it "printed" every day, the people under discussion in the article are often other pundits. "Pundit-A's article last week, was subject to a nasty review by Pundit-B, who received lots of likes, but also was torn to shreds by Pundit-C, who is not always right, so let me set him straight here." This crosses over into the TV-pundit world too. "Pundit-C will be interviewed by TV-Pundit-D on his show come Sunday morning, and I will point out his stupidity on my blog Monday and interview Pundit-E about it"
It's all in their pundit world, and one wonders how important all the discussion is, even though it may be about all the major problems of the day. It could be VERY IMPORTANT stuff for the public to know about (some of the time), but these guys need to think about once in a while that, hey, not 10 % of the American public has ever heard the names of any of you people, and maybe 2 % read any of you people consistently! What's the point, then?
Hey, that hits close to home! Yeah, the Peak Stupidity blog also has our posts about how we LUV Ann Coulter, and how this other pundit is a complete dipshit, and so on. It's not that much of the time, though if we can help it. I've been trying to get away from that. Do all the millions of pundits (thanks, internet!) out there do it just to get their opinions that they really believe in out there? Sure, but some are trying to make a living at it. Maybe it numbers less than 10,000 of them that do, and those ones have to play the pundit game, and many may even forget trying to stand for their own beliefs and just play along to try to enter the world of Big Pundit. At a slightly lower level are the ones who write what they believe (no matter how stupid, believe me, I've seen it!) that may get a chance to have columns on unz.com or others, depending on their political inclinations.
How does all this gibber-jabber get out to the American public though? It's still about TV, unfortunately. One pundit gets read by a bigger pundit, who is in turn says something that interests a bigger pundit, who is widely read by someone who goes on TV on Sunday morning. Then, a chunk of the American public, and, more importantly some of the a-holes in power, may hear of this idea. That's the way it works for now, though it sounds like a Dr. Suess book. The smaller, but usually wiser pundits might be followed more if the public would get the hell off the TV, as we have recommended at the Peak Stupidity blog for years, well, months running.
Speaking of the TV pundits, a few years back I ran into the right half of this TV power couple, a man named James Carville, or "the Ragin' Cajun" while traveling through Louisiana. Hey we like cajuns here at Peak Stupidly, but not this fuckin' guy. He was President Clinton's press secretary or some such, and then moved onto TV to spout his form of gibber-jab on Sunday mornings. It's been going on for many years, and this revolving door, or pundit-to-politician-to-pundit-to-grave pipeline seems to be a big thing. The worst of it is that with plenty of exceptions, like the illustrious Pat Buchanan, many of these people don't really stand for anything. They just say whatever it takes to REMAIN ON TV. The Ragin' Cajun above WAS (just found out upon searching for the picture about their big "D") married to Mary Matalin, who was big in republican politics earlier. Come on, it's one thing to marry some lady who may be a lefty at heart but it's not her damn living. The marriage of these two pieces of, uh, work, proves they they don't really give a damn much about principles. It was just a good Big Pundit living to these two. I have just slightly more respect for the idiot Communist who actually believes in his form of stupidity ... just slightly.
I think it was a Sunday when I ran into the guy. Once my friend pointed him out, and after leaving him alone for a little bit, I came up to him and said "Hey, are you still on TV?" "Yeah" was all he said. "Oh, I'm off TV. I'm on the internet now."