I saw Bill Bennett, the pundit, at the Republican convention this week. He’s still on the radio, talking about values, punditing up a storm. He is interesting choice for values-pundit, since his own understanding of values comes from having none or dubious values himself. He is guilty of several of the Seven Deadly Sins, like Gluttony, obviously, Pride, Greed at least, probably more if I don’t miss my guess. But he’s a pundit. What does that mean?
I’m not certain, but I think that pundits these days do the job that was once done by public intellectuals. Those were some educated people, wow, did they know things, were they full of ideas! I read a joke the other day: guy says to his friend, Lionel Trilling lives over there. Friend wonders, do you think he has a view of the river? Guy tells him, Lionel Trilling has a view of everything! And a great education too, it was required of public intellectuals, they were intellectuals after all, weren’t they? Nowadays old Lionel could make ten times as much money (adjusted for inflation) and do one-tenth the work, he could be a pundit. Wouldn’t have needed all that education either, it only gets in the way of punditry.
To be sure, not all pundits are rich, the Internet has made pundit status available to anyone with opinions and a computer. Some of today’s pundits sit in plain circumstances, in their underwear, sit at their computers, longing to share their opinions with anyone who will happen upon them. For inspiration they close their eyes and try to imagine what righteous indignation would feel like, and then they try to incorporate that emotion into their opinionizing. Some of them are quite ingenious and well educated, others less so or not at all, many of them are very industrious, and any of these conditions can lead to entertaining opinions.
Pundits these days write books, just like the old public intellectuals in their turn wrote books. Those intellectuals were really something, they wrote books about the damndest things, books with titles like “Early Netherlandish Painting,” or “The Iconography of Death in Early Elizabethan Poetry.” Somehow they used this arcane knowledge as a basis for their opinions about the society that they lived in. The classical references could make you dizzy, they make me dizzy anyway. Now pundits write books with titles like, “Why Bush Sucks Eggs,” or “How to Cut the Head Off a Liberal.” I read and enjoyed the one about Dutch painting; the others don’t interest me.
The really sad feature of all this punditry is that they don’t really believe the opinions that they espouse. They have been enlisted by the media that employs them to masquerade as outside observers, independent “experts.” The so-called Conservative pundits read up on the days talking points and repeat them with great emotion, and the so-called Liberal pundits mostly smile and put up with abuse from the Conservatives. Those who produce and direct these shows allow this to happen, because their dual agenda is: 1) to present something lively that will sell advertising; and 2) to deliver the days Conservative talking points with great emotion. This agenda is set by the business entities way up the food chain from the people involved with the show. It’s big business, this TV thing, and up the ladder are the biggest corporations in America. They know which side of their bread the butter is on. It is buttered in particular by one of our two major political parties.
It is often said that there is no difference between the two major political parties. No, be assured that if there were indeed no difference between the two parties none of the big corporations would care who got elected. But they do care, so there must be a difference. If only the choice were black or white! The choice between: a) brutal, selfish bosses who want to keep you and your children in diseased poverty; or b) benevolent social servants who want you to be prosperous and happy. But nothing is ever that easy. The choice that is offered is between Nazism-Light and Weak Democracy; between Corporate Fascism and Benign Big-Brotherism.
The Mainstream Media is Corporate America, and their choice to win this election is clearly John McCain, high school bully turned Naval Academy anchor-man turned mediocre ground-attack pilot turned Prisoner-of-War turned North Vietnamese propaganda tool turned self-aggrandizing asshole . Regarding Mr. McCain, all we hear in the media is what a hero he is, his heroic service to America, how he’s a maverick who loves to work bi-partisanly for the good of America, a man of principles, that’s all we hear. There’s nothing at all to suggest his recent alteration of everything he previously believed in to fit the strict Reactionary Conservative line; nothing at all about his frequent, astonishingly rapid changes in position, make that “stated position,” on almost every subject; nothing about his outright lies about prior statements on the record; nothing about his involvement in old scandals; nothing about his stupid, uninformed comments about important issues, nothing at all about him selfishly jettisoning at perfectly good family like they were excess fuel before a difficult landing. Guess who the Mainstream Media wants to win?
Isn’t that enough of a reason to vote for Mr. Obama? Being so certain that corporate America is afraid of him? They do their damndest to make him look bad but he doesn’t give them much to work with. What do they have against him? They haven’t found anything of substance, and they’ve been looking. All they have come up with is the sheerest bullshit, things like: he listened for years to this preacher, Wright, and he never once nailed a manifesto to the church door! He is inexperienced! He is a Muslim! Maybe even a Jew! He’s the candidate of Al Qaeda! He won’t wear an American flag pin! He is the most Liberal Senator of all! Worst of all, he is arrogant! He is a typical politician! His wife hates America! He is elitist! These are all such crap that it is hard to fight them without giving them additional power to persuade. They prove that an Obama presidency would push the scales back in favor of the working man, at least a little. And they prove that there is really no reason at all to worry about an Obama presidency, it’s obvious, people have been looking for worrying deeds or ideas and they can’t find any.
My advice is vote for Obama, unless you like the idea of being ruled by Nazis dressed as bankers, Nazis who don’t even have the guts to wear swastikas. Nazis without even the cool uniforms to recommend them. That’s if they’re human at all, sometimes I wonder about the fat, girly ones. These are the corporations and people who rage against socialism when it is meant to benefit ordinary citizens. What they actually long for is state-socialism that benefits them, and their “elected” stooges. And if that doesn’t sound like the “State Socialism” of Krupp and Hitler, you haven’t been paying attention. Hitler didn’t care a fig about politics, German culture or philosophy, he and his cronies were only interested in making money. Did you know he got paid for every time his image appeared on a postage stamp, a coin, or a bill of money? And he was on all of them, guess who’s idea that was?
My name is Fred Ceely, and I approve this message.