Saturday, August 09, 2003

If you're anything like me—and heaven help you if you are—you've probably heard talk radio hosts, mostly conservative, ranting themselves into a froth for hours at a time, and you probably wondered why anybody would want to listen to that kind of thing for very long. I think Hendrik Hertzberg comes close to explaining it in the July 11 New Yorker:

"Remember the old joke about politics being show business for ugly people? Well, right-wing radio is niche entertainment for the spiritually unattractive. It succeeds because a substantial segment of the right-wing rank and file enjoys listening, hour after hour, as smug, angry, disdainful middle-aged men spew raw contempt at reified enemies, named and unnamed. The radiocons seldom offer analysis or argument."

To paraphrase Brett Butler, "Some day we'll have a white man in the White House, and then things will be different."

No wonder this article By John Derbyshire recently appeared in the conservative National Review Online. I can't say I'm shocked to learn that "thinking too much" is not compatible with the modern conservative mindset. When he writes that "We are all intellectuals today, encouraged to think about everything all the time," I have to wonder if he's living on the same planet as I am, where as far as I can tell people are constantly being discouraged from thinking too deeply about anything that matters. There were people like that around when I was in school, and you can identify them by the way they'd punch you in the shoulder and call you "ya brain" if you got 100% on your math test. "Ya brain" wasn't a compliment then, and it still isn't today.


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