Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Tale of Two Landscapes: Pop & Political

Would the headlines and photos be any bigger if the president's twin daughters had both been kidnapped by terrorists? Would they even be as big?

It seemed a particularly sorry day for American media in general and the front pages of just about every newspaper in the country in particular. As I walk out of the grocery store, I survey the front pages of about 6-10 papers to see what the zeitgeist is, and today, it's writ obscenely large - a sideshow of perverse adulation and recrimination takes center stage. Not a good thing.

What is it with this nation's lust for celebrity crime? Doesn't this coverage and our "cooler conversations" (not mine, thanks) mean we're just a bunch of prurient puritans, closet cannibals, building up celebs only to tear at their faces and their flesh?

From the prominence of "above the fold" coverage on all those papers, you'd think this might be important news, pronounced in fonts so big it must be not only nationally noteworthy but perhaps even earth-shattering.

Why, do tell, Michael Jackson didn't lay a glove on any boy in a way unbecoming the gentleman and scholar he is, mentor and role model, rich and looney tunes.

That's the pop landscape drowning out substance as we knew it or ought to know it or something like that. Why look at a significant shift in the political and cultural landscape of the nation when a pumped up puppet prince of perversity - innocent or not - comes out of the courtroom in hat and glove? God.

Meanwhile, a pretty big story is buried in those papers somewhere, mostly below the fold or inside, buried as deeply as the editor is a soldier of the anti-liberal media establishment.

But Daniel Schorr, calcifying old school journalist that he is, got the story and reported it in this report on All Things Considered yesterday (June 13). News flash, ALL CAPS! Bold headlines SHOUT!

Michael Jackson's innocence is being shouted to the far corners of the globe, while a few of us learn that, in all recent major polls, President Bush's approval rating has sunk to it's lowest level EVER.

47% of the polled public approves of the president's current performance.

But 49% disapprove, and that seems headed, almost inexorably, toward a majority of Americans. The duck is lame. could it be crippled?

56% say the war against Iraq was "not worth fighting."

And a whopping 73% say the current number of casualties (on all sides) in that war is "unacceptable."

{I went to the Gallup Organization's website via a link to which Schorr refered and, today the 14th, came up with this instead, bolded in the headlines:

Instant Reaction: Plurality of Public Disagrees With Jackson Verdict
A CNN/USA Today/Gallup instant reaction poll finds that a plurality of Americans disagree with the verdict in the Michael Jackson trial, by 48% to 34%. Opinions are highly related to race, with a majority of whites disagreeing with the decision and a majority of nonwhites agreeing with it. About 6 in 10 Americans think that Jackson's celebrity was a major factor in the verdict, and about half were surprised by the verdict. Jackson's fan base appears to have been cut in half, with a sizable quarter of Americans still professing to be fans.

Oh, well, meanwhile back to the Real World outside Never Never Land/Don't Touch That: In broader matters (with me now?), only 38% say they are "satisfied" with the state of the nation while 60% say they are "dissatisfied."

Perhaps most surprising, so soon after last November's 'shoot your country in the foot' election, those polled gave a five point lead to the Democrats as the party best suited to solving the nation's most pressing issues.

Now we are getting someplace. And this is, of course, the answer to those who asked what could be done to ward off a stealthy proto-fascist regime in this country (see the Thursday and Friday posts below). It seems polls can move more mountains than can votes these days. The way to ward off the regressive backlash we have been seeing generally since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 is to shame those guys out of office, out of power, out of favor with the high and mighty who pull the strings.

Maybe the tide is beginning to turn as we know, sooner or later, it will. As Daniel Schorr summed things up, "The political landscape may be changing."

Meanwhile, the pop landscape that's got the primo real estate in the media today and in the minds of the muddling masses is same old, same old, same as it ever was - soap, sex and sin.


At 6/16/2005 7:33 PM, Anonymous O Lily O said...

OOOOhhhh wouldn't it be spooky IF The Glove indiscretion was ala Wag the Dog? alas, that movie has ruined me and i may never never land on my feet again.

At 10/24/2005 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 11/07/2005 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And on a lighter note than pure trial lawyer , check out the funniest trial transcript ever! If it's not serious enough of a topic, well, just pretend it's the Brit's version of trial lawyer !


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