Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stewart's Rally

I didn't go to the rally, despite living less than 3 hours from the Mall. (Various reasons--insomnia flaring up with a vengeance, lots of grading to do, worried it would be nothing more than an episode of The Daily Show, etc.) But I did watch it while I was taking care of some mindless work, and I thought Stewart did a damn fine job.

I mean, one guy--and a comedian no less--can't save the country with one rally, of course. But he struck a good tone, and did a damn fine job. According to me, anyway.

It's too bad that rhetorical considerations force him to basically pretend that the left and the right are currently equally kooky--but that's the nature of the beast. Best to err in that direction, I'd say.

Needless to say, I don't know what to do about our current troubles. This rally is not going to make Limbaugh or Beck less popular, and it's fairly unlikely to make, say, Olbermann throttle back. But you can only do what you can do. Sometimes all you have to do is say something out loud, and reasonable people will wake up and realize that they've been semi-thinking the same thing all along. I've got no doubt that this will have some effect; the question, really, is: how much of one? Perhaps not appreciable; but perhaps not not appreciable.

I can say that, speaking for myself, it made me renew my interest in searching around for reasonable conservative voices on the web. There's clearly a place for ridiculing the stupid, but it's not clear how effective that really is. Perhaps encouraging the non-stupid is a better way to go...

Anyway, its back to grading for me. But there's my take on things, FWIW.

[Incidentally: my hypothesis is that most of the Mythbusters stuff was in the service of estimating crowd size. I eagerly anticipate confirmation and/or disconfirmation...]


Anonymous The Dark Avenger said...

If you have watched Olbermann recently, could you please inform us what exactly he should 'throttle back' about specifically?

10:35 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Well, you've got me. I almost never watch Olbermann anymore, nor Maddow. With both of them, it's the strident tone that bugs me...a venial sin, of course, in comparison to e.g. Beck. Also: Olbermann's overly-complex syntax bugs me, largely because he can so rarely resolve his sentences correctly in the end. You don't count as articulate in my book if you start a long, Baroque sentence that you can't finish correctly. And the self-righteous exasperation bit...he's just overdone it. And the "interviews" are just awful...KO disguising assertions as questions over and over...I just can't take it.

Look, I think he did a good thing, speaking up and laying out the unvarnished truth about Bush when nobody else on the teevee would do so. I respect him for that. But I had to quit watching the guy like two years ago or so.

I also think that tone matters; it's one of the things that polarizes and turns discussion into argument. So there's that suggestion.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous The Dark Avenger said...

I prefer Olbermann and Maddow because they do apologize when either of them makes a mistake, which isn't true of other members of the SCLM.

You can read the transcripts online as well, and you should catch an episode of "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell, as he's someone who actually knows how the Senate works and isn't afraid to use simple words in explaining it to viewers.

9:56 AM  

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