Monday, October 15, 2007

Puncturing the Pinhead Pundits (Who Promote Faux Patriotism)

Bill Maher mocks the ostentatious display of patriotic symbols on the grounds that these accessories simply provide cover to faux patriots, people eager to give the illusion that they're supporting the country, the troops, the military, etc. but who would prefer not to make an actual sacrifice.

Kudos to Maher for his spirited defense of Barack Obama's explanation for not wearing an American flag lapel pin (the pins have become a "substitute for true patriotism") and for calling the mainstream media, including ABC's Claire Shipman, for its blantant hypocrisy and for manufacturing faux news events. The punditocracy promotes the notion that political candidates should be judged according to nebulous and subjective criteria such as "authenticity" and "character" and candidates who don't spout the predictable platitudes the pundits and their handlers want to hear are quickly deemed "unelectable."

Thanks to Jim for e-mailing me this article. On the one hand, I'm glad to get some breathing room here in Sweden from the moronic press coverage of the US presidential race. The vacuousness of the discourse is especially apparent when you're outside looking in to the fishbowl. On the other hand, I'm fascinated by the techniques used to depoliticize the public sphere by diverting attention away from real problems that the government leaders need to confront, e.g., the rotting infrastructure, the health-care crisis, the declining standard of living, the rising debt, etc. And these are just a few of the domestic issues.