Friday, January 15, 2010

When Life Imitates Art. And Vice Versa.

As an information junkie, I consume a lot, and I do mean LOT of talk radio and cable news. A staple of such shows is putting two people with diametrically opposed viewpoints (ie: Liberal vs Conservative) in a steel cage and having them duke it out with each other. While the thinking man in me naturally hates seeing people with dogmatically polarizing opinions go at it[1], I'll admit, this is much more fun than watching a thorough and nuanced analysis of an issue. Nobody like nuance. Nuance is for suckers, and people who live in Takoma Park and drive Subarus, who are also suckers. Two overly -iased people in a death match? Well, that's just plain' ole' good TV.

Still, anyone with half a brain knows this is just a show. It's not even humanly possible for two people to disagree on everything. It just isn't. In my short radio career, I saw this dynamic in action several times, as two people would literally be at each other's throats on-air, then the minute their segment was over, they'd return to the green room to retrieve their belongings and make plans to meet for lunch at the Legal Seafood on 7th Street. It was clear that neither of the folks were all that strong in their convictions. They were simply non-SAG actors with easy-to-memorize scripts, also known as party talking points.

I was reminded of this peculiar dynamic when someone forwarded me this clip from Hannity (a show I simply refuse to watch anymore. It's just a waste of brain cells) the other night. Watch as Rebb'n Al and the infamous Ann Coulter go in on the Harry Reid "Negro" situation. Around the 3:40 mark, Coulter (who just seems to get thinner, and creepier looking every year) literally tells a grown-assed man to "shush". And he barely flinches, which is how you know this is not real.

No self-respecting black man would allow himself to be shushed by a tranny on national TV. And when I last checked, Rebb'n Al (despite those predatory lending commercials he did) had plenty of dignity. The man was James Brown's weedcarrier for crissakes. That's the definition of dignity. Say it loud!

I swear, if you look at Rebb'n Al's initial reaction, it looks like his pimp hand is reflexively about to snap into action, until he remembers the check he's about to cash. Now that woulda been good TV. But of course, they make nice by the end of the clip, just like we knew they would. And then I'm reminded of this classic clip from my favorite animated show of all time.[2]

Is Coulter really that down when the cameras are off? Unlikely, but I wouldn't be surprised if this same scene's actually played out in some fashion.

Question: How much of cable news "debates" are just loosely scripted skits? Do these folks really believe what they're saying, or is it just a Grand Hu$tle, disguised as political activism?!?

[1] Because it just cements the "pick a side, and defend it to the death" ethos that's so wrong about American politricks.

[2] When is The Boondocks returning? Anyone know?!?

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