Friday, January 31, 2014

Blogging for Fun and Profit

“It is a truth universally acknowledged,” Jane Austen should have said, “that the easiest thing in the world is to start a blog. The most difficult thing is to keep writing it.”

When I think about it, probably half the sites on the web are blogs that have been started and abandoned, detailing thrilling events from 2002. I myself rediscovered this yesterday. I was reminded of something I had written on Facebook explaining why the film version of Dennis Potter’s “Pennies from Heaven” is so awful, especially as compared to its brilliant television version. (You can read it below, and yes, it’s more than “Steve Martin stars in it.”) I didn’t want the post to molder in Facebook’s attic (I mean, I labored to write more than 1400 words on the topic), so I went into the bowels of the archive and rescued it.

I decided to put the post into the blog I’d started just a while back (and abandoned, of course) and was astounded to find I hadn’t done a damn thing with it since April. So here’s my resolution. I’m going to write at least 100 words a day on topics of the day. It may be arts, it may be sports, it may be politics, but dammit, I’m going to write.

To kick things off, I’m going to note (as I did on Facebook) that, in spite of the “revelations” that Chris Christie knew about the closing of the George Washington Bridge in real time, those “revelations” (because did anyone think he didn’t know all along?) won’t do a damn thing to derail his career. There is literally nothing a Republican or a right-wing politician can do in this country that will harm his or her career. There used to be a saying that the only thing that could harm a Southern politician would be “waking up with a dead girl or a live boy,” but I don’t think even that would apply nowadays. Just like I don’t think that Elia (“The Rat”) Kazan’s film “A Face in the Crowd” would have any relevance if it were remade today. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Andy Griffith gives a breathtaking performance as a hick singer who, through the machinations of a number of people, ends up on television and becomes a demagogue, pimping for his own reprehensible personal causes. He meets his downfall when his producer (spurned in a love affair) leaves his mic open, causing his real opinions about his public (that they’re a bunch of easily-manipulated tools) to go out over the air. In a matter of minutes, he’s ruined. If something like that were to happen now, though, the media personality would claim he’d been misquoted, taken out of context, and victimized by the liberal media, and business would continue as usual.

Regardless, despite the initial uproar from the usual suspects, the other usual suspects will go on the Sunday morning talk shows (and isn’t it luckily coincidental that this news breaks on Super Bowl weekend, when no one is paying attention?), defend Christie, claim the Democrats – especially Obama – do far worse (“Benghazi!”), go unchallenged by the hosts (because that would be distastefully unseemly), and Christie will go on, ruffled but unbroken. That he knew about the closings and lied about it won’t matter. It never matters if you’re a Republican. I don’t think he’s going to be the Party’s nominee in 2016 (like your humble correspondent, I think he’s too much of a hothead), but he’ll never be out of the public spotlight.

Is this a big deal? Not really, other than showing Christie to be a bully, but it’s not like we didn’t know that, either. It points to his management style, but we knew that Cheney was a bully and no one seemed to care about that. (To paraphrase Cheney’s own comment on Reagan and deficits, Cheney proved that being a dick doesn’t matter.) I see it yet another example of the media’s intense concentration on trivia at the expense of greater matters. Who’s got time to worry about human rights violations or Keystone XL or the TPP or the Koch brothers or the NSA monitoring all our communications or Wall Street or anything else when there’s Chris Christie and the bridge or Justin Bieber doing anything or “What Obama Thinks About Richard Sherman.”



  1. What about Trey Radel R- FL who's resigning from his congressional seat due to a drug scandal (busted for buying coke). I think drugs and sex scandals are still enough to bring people down, doesn't matter their political affiliation. Personally I don't even think Bridgegate is that big of a deal, but I actually do believe it will be Christie's Waterloo. Not that I think he would have been the 2016 presidential candidate. I can't believe a fat guy has a chance for the top spot. America has come a long way on a lot of issues. Being fat is the last bastion of "fair game" discrimination.

    As for "A Face in the Crowd" - I agree that there would be no there there in a remake today. The 24x7 news cycle has so diluted the noise to signal ratio that most things don't stick. Which is why I believe Bridgegate will be the ostensible end for Christie -- it's lasted so many days it really feels like it's going to make the difference. I don't listen to/read as much news as you do, so it seems to me like I have more of a bird's eye view of what's really getting traction.

    And I don't hate Republicans the way you do :)

    1. I'm inwardly as anti-Republican as Dave, outwardly as kind as Pidge. Which makes me a wee bit hypocritical, but I can live with it! Looking forward to reading more of Dave's blog!

  2. For every Radel there's a David Vitter, caught up in the DC Madam case and yet re-elected handily and apparently still in the good graces of the Republican leadership. It's amazing. You can have assignations with prostitutes which include wearing diapers and yet you can keep your political career, at least in Louisiana.

  3. Let me say that I'm not "anit-Republican" per se; I actually know a few Republicans, and they're quite nice people. What I am against is the way the "liberal media" looks out for their interests and coddles the worst offenders and never makes them pay for their crap.