Tuesday, July 15, 2008

laughing at a belief

I'm almost loath to keep throwing words at Covergate, but I think it points to some things that perennially get the Grizzly goat, so, a few thoughts.

I'm very tired of being painted as an elitist or somehow out of touch with America because I have, and expect my fellow Americans to have, a slight tendency towards thoughtfulness. It has been my hope that an Obama presidency might be a harbinger or catalyst towards bringing us out of these anti-intellectual Dark Ages we've plunged ourselves into. Although I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the Obama campaign issued a "oh yeah, we're offended too 'cause we're as dumb as you are we promise" as a response, it does on some level disappoint.

Is it really naive to think there's a level of stupidity that doesn't deserve to be legitimized?

As usual, someone has expressed my view of Coverfuffle more astutely than I am able, and even though it's in Newsweek I think it's pretty good.

A few snippets that I found particularly noteworthy:

This line of reasoning--i.e., don't satirize something stupid because the people who believe it might be stupid enough to take you seriously--strikes me as painfully paternalistic.

Does it help Obama to have Blitt's sketch broadcast on television? Maybe not--which why his press shop lashed out...

...it's not Remnick's job to do what's best for Obama. The fact is there's nothing wrong with pointing out the absurdity of a rumor ("Obama is a Muslim") by amplifying it to ridiculous, obviously satirical proportions ("Obama is a Muslim who will dress in Islamist garb and worship bin Laden as president"). In fact, laughing at a worthless belief is one of the best ways to show that it isn't worth believing.

Please also see the Slate article linked in the Newsweek piece, wherein another "thing I wish I said" is said, by Jack Shafer:

Only weak thinkers fear strong images. The publication that convenes itself as a polite dinner party, serving only polenta and pureed peas, need not invite me to sup.

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