Friday, March 11, 2011

The reason that the Press hates Sarah Palin

The Press is filled with people who were the smartest in their class.  They learned what their teachers taught, got good grades, went to good Universities, and became entirely conventional in their wisdom.  In this, the capture of higher education by "progressive" dogma hurts them, but it's not like the conventional doesn't have its rewards: to be a professional in today's media is by definition to be a Progressive.

The downside, of course, has been known for decades, but seems to either not have been learned by our heroes and heroines of the Fifth Estate, or to have been forgotten by them:
Nor is it to be supposed that the man of conventional wisdom is an object of pity.  Apart from his socially useful role, he has come to good terms with his life.  He can think of himself with justice as socially elect, for society in fact accords him the applause which his ideas are so arranged as to evoke.  Secure in this applause he is well armed against the annoyance of dissent.  His bargain is to exchange a strong and even lofty position in the present for a weak one in the future. 

- John Kenneth Galbreath, The Affluent Society [1958]
Indeed, the Conventional Wisdom risks being overthrown by new forces, forces antithetical to current comfortable notions.  Pity our typical member of the press, who sees his role as a political sportscaster.  Reporting what's happening - with a bit of a bias for the home team, of course - he is better informed than his listener.

And along comes Sarah Palin, and the Conventional Wisdom crumbles:

Before 39-million viewers [when giving her Vice Presidential nomination acceptance speech], Palin was the first public figure to openly and successfully ridicule the hitherto untouchable Barack Obama. She also was the first American woman to campaign for high office by paying homage, but no ideological dues, to the Sisterhood. This Alaskan small-town huntin’, fishin’ God-fearin,’ abortion-hatin’ mom of five showed that a woman can break through any glass ceiling she wants without the imprimatur of the feminist politburo.
Who is this Sarah Palin person was all their readers and viewers wanted to know, and they didn't know anything about her.  The Conventional Wisdom never held that an attractive, female, outdoorsy, non-Ivy League Governor might get tapped for high office.  Of course, that's why it was such a huge story, and why their readers and viewers kept tuning in to find out.

But our "sportscaster" reporters knew all of bupkis about her, and so they looked like this:

They looked like idiots.  Have you even been paying attention to the game, wondered their readers and viewers.  In truth, the answer is "no", because Sarah Palin wasn't Conventional Wisdom.  Their strong position in the present had suddenly been switched with their weak position in the future, because with Palin the future had arrived.

And  everyone could see that they're not the smartest kids in class anymore.  That's why they hate her, and are trying to destroy her.

Of course, they don't understand that their Conventional Wisdom is done for, which is why she keeps turning the tables on them: Death Panels, party like it's 1773, millions of followers on Facebook.  Because they don't understand - because their intelligence makes them stupid, she keeps outwitting them and making them look even dumber.
The enemy of the Conventional Wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.  As I have noted, the Conventional Wisdom accommodates itself not to the world that it is meant to interpret, but to the audience's view of the world.  Since the latter remains with the comfortable and the familiar, while the world moves on, the Conventional Wisdom is always in danger of obsolescence.  This is not immediately fatal.  The fatal blow to the Conventional Wisdom comes when the conventional ideas fail signally to deal with some contingency to which obsolescence has made them palpably inapplicable.  This, sooner or later, must be the fate of ideas which have lost their relation to the world.

- John Kenneth Galbreath, The Affluent Society [1958]
They hate her for this, hate her with the fire of a thousand suns.  But it doesn't matterThe future's here, and it's decidedly unconventional.  The dinosaurs smell a change on the air, and roar their defiance.

Postscript: They know this.  For all of their revulsion, they can't quite bring themselves to look away.  They keep trying to drive a stake in her (political) heart, and she keeps rising from the (political) dead.  For all that they can't stand her, they can't leave her alone, either.


genedunn said...

Isn't the press the FOURTH estate? Maybe your thinking of the FIFTH column. Honest mistake (wink).

h/t: Kolchak

ASM826 said...

Just a shame she had the McCain anchor chained to her ankle. Let's not make the same mistake with Romney in '12.

NotClauswitz said...

Good use of Galbraith to shoot down the anointed tin ducks.

Anonymous said...

Huh. I was thinking this would've been another Godsmack tune, that fits in a way pretty well...

Hey! Oh, Mr. backstabbing son of a bitch
You're living in a world that will soon be dying
And I know, everybody knows you try to be like me
But even at your best, as a man you couldn't even be a half of me

I am realizing, that everybody's lost their simple ways
And now that is here, I see it all so clearly
I've come face to face with the enemy, oh the enemy!

You! You're another sh*t-talking punk to me
You're living inspiration for what I never wanna be
And I see, you've been blinded by what you believe
And now back up and sit and I'll show the act you need to be...