Sunday, October 01, 2006

Distractions

What makes America great? Last week, it was our short attention span and our uncanny ability to be distracted by disingenuous media figures calling out: "look! A unicorn!" or in this case, "look! I can see Bill Clinton's bare leg on TV!" This is a distraction, ladies and gentlemen. There is no unicorn. There was a leg, but just because it's shiny doesn't mean you should let it take your attention away from a certain administration's terra ... excuse me, terror policies. I mean the policies they use to fight terror.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a summary, courtesy of the Columbia Journalism Review:
On Sunday, former President Clinton gave an interview on Fox News during which he sparred with Chris Wallace about his administration's efforts to fight terrorism, and during which Clinton's bare legs were, apparently, peaking out from the ends of his trousers. Monday morning, Rush Limbaugh and Don Imus were blathering on about Clinton's "distracting" and "disconcerting" leg-flashing. Later that day Nora Ephron blogged on HuffingonPost.com, "Was there no one there to see that [Clinton's] pants were hiked up too high and his socks were pulled down too low and the flesh on his legs was showing?" -- comments which CNN later reported on (two days in a row). MSNBC chimed in a day later (on-screen caption: "Sock It To Me: Bill Clinton Shows a Little Leg During Fox Interview"), quizzing two talking heads about Clinton's short socks, a scandal which by then had made its way into print.
Ehpron's post now has 699 comments. Ephron, instead of commenting on the substance of what Clinton said -- which was basically that the Bush Whitehouse has been using an aggressive and transparent disinformation campaign to make the public think that a) the war in Iraq is about bin Laden and b) Clinton was soft on terror when he was in office -- got distracted by the unicorn mirage pointed to by our good friends Rush and Don.

The website Think Progress has both a transcript and a video clip of the Chris Wallace Fox News interview. Commentary on gaffs, fashion faux pas and embarrassing flashes of flesh are best left to US Weekly. CNN and MSNBC both joined the fray. We shouldn't let the news get away with this trivia while real news is happening.

It isn't my intention to suddenly get all political on this blog, but I've been finding politics creeping back into my peripheral vision. Before last election, I read about politics in the papers all the time. I read about it in Harper's and the New Yorker and I sought out the conservative viewpoint from the Weekly Standard and the National Review. I watched all the debates and then read play-by-plays on conservative blogs to see if the opposition saw things I didn't. And then the election happened. And I lost interest.

I've regsitered to vote here in New York -- I had intended to vote last year for the NYC mayoral election (in which Bloomberg was re-elected by a really big margin), but when I checked into the procedure to register, it was, at the 25 day mark, too late. I was used to the Minnesota system where you can register at one table and then go vote at another -- the same day. I was pretty bitter about that bit of disenfranchisement. It was like the moment I realized that I was paying a city income tax as well as a state and federal, and on top of that, New York (again, unlike Minnesota) doesn't have a renter's credit (basically a property tax refund for apartment dwellers).

So after that long digression, my point is that I may be subconsciously readying myself to vote in the upcoming midterm election. Paying more attention to politics -- and noting the atrocious distractions from politics -- is part of getting ready.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Sarah said...

What does it mean to be re-elcted?

5:54 PM  
Blogger The Masticator said...

very funny. You win anther prize -- if you can read that. Is Sarah the only one who spots errors?

2:29 AM  

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