The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


To be frank, politics as a topic on my blog has started to approach the zero point in terms of a graph of my interests. I have been becoming more and more jaded about ALL politicians over the last 10 years or so. My tendency to view each and every side of the political superstructure with a highly jaundiced eye feels wholly appropriate.

If I were to suggest the actual turning point, where I went from a person who *WAS* highly interested and motivated to learn political viewpoints *AND* thought the process of and participation *IN* politics was a valuable pursuit..... that turning point occurred far earlier than 10 years ago. It really started with two concurrent media changes that began in the mid-80s:

1. The blossoming of CNN as a media source really took hold in the mid-80s. Started in 1980, the original CNN was a rather grand channel that took pride in being a deeper, almost academic purveyor of news 24 hours a day. And, for a few years, it was a true delight. However its focus began to change by about 1987. The change was (in my opinion) brought about by the dollar (of course) and the way CNN thought it could continue to grow and expand in influence (and profit).... was in starting to have bombastic political pundits on programs who spouted nothing but harsh, unhelpful rhetoric. These assinine pundits ruined and destroyed the political landscape and wrecked havoc on daytime television as well.

2. The daytime television transition was similarly sinister as what transpired on CNN. In the mid-late 1960s a young fellow came on television and made a remarkable name for himself with a program that had insightful interviews and even reporting during the weekday. Now, I really did not watch this fellow, as I was too busy doing my own things at that time, but my beautiful mother and one of my sisters were utterly enchanted by this fellow and talked of him so often that I *felt* I did watch the shows. The fellows name was Phil Donahue. His "talk-show" was very exotic and different for daytime television of the day because it was not a soap opera, nor was it a gameshow. It was a blend of news reporting with deeper analysis and interviews. Granted some of the shows were a bit "fluffy" for my tastes even though I only heard about them second hand, but even with my only second-hand knowledge, I could sense a rather good, scholarly depth to the program.

Phil had the market all sewn up for a lot of years. But then came along a hellion on wheels (and not in a good way) named Sally Jesse Raphael. She (along with a few others like Oprah) started to make programming that was modeled after Phil Donahue. None of them could make a mark with a show that was as academic as Donahue, so in the Darwinian struggle to survive, they began to modify their shows to attract enough of an audience to garner more of the almighty dollar. Well, Oprah, of course, did a wonderful job appealing to the touchy-feely, emotional groups and as we all know has done very well with her programming. Raphael started out as a rather prissy, meek, mousy sort, and it looked like her days were numbered because she was definitely not getting as much in the way of "buzz" as others. However, she started a trip down the road to hell.... being a pundit sort herself, and creating the start of what has become known as tabloid television. She took the daytime talk show format, and turned it on its head to make it sordid, and nasty and all about looking at the tackiest, sleaziest, underbelly aspects of our society. AND THE DAMN THING ABOUT IT, was that it SOARED in popularity. We have been in that mentality ever since, and it is to a large extent (with the pundit issue above) the reason politics has grown so obnoxious and nasty.

So, I struggled for a lot of years to stay focused and interested in politics. But it is just too much. Everyone, no matter which party or side, lies, and does nothing but look out for themselves. There is not a single politician that represents me. And in my study of history, the last REAL president of merit in my opinion, was Theodore Roosevelt.



Blogger BBC said...

Fuck politics, and don't think for a minute that you can help change them. Leave the mess up to the youth, it's really their problem.

Thursday, 02 February, 2012  

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