It's springtime, and that means that our lives are in utter and complete chaos. Future life-possibilities tend to change radically and in unpredictable ways about...oh, say, every half hour. Anyway, that's my excuse for the continued quiet here. Rebecca would have a much better excuse, as she's the one travelling all over the world, but she seems to post with regularity.
I've been wanting to say something about Stephen Colbert's keynote at the Whitehouse correspondents dinner, but I think Paul has all the bases covered there.
And I have all sorts of commentary on the topic of grading/politics broached recently by TMcD.
But I suppose if you're reading this blog, then you're likely to have seen those entries anyway. So I'll leave you with one more link. I have had a number of thoughts concerning the Colbert speech bouncing around in my head. They tend to condense into one question: why is it that in American culture and politics today the only form of political critique that resonates is one that comes through humour? I swear: during 04-05, The Daily Show was my salvation; I'm not sure where I would have been without it. Despite the fact that it's comedy (and I'm not a big comedy fan), it always seemed like a refuge – the one place where one could find some reason.
This Salon piece helps to provide part of an answer, at least for me. I've been screaming for years that the 'liberal media' monikor is the most bogus political invention in recent history. If you'd asked me whether the MSM (when did this acronym get invented, by the way, I feel like I'm late to the party) failed in its duties over the past 5 years I would have unflinchingly said yes. But I had no idea how bad the picture really is. The article doesn't so much make an argument as it strings together a series of facts, the weight of which becomes simply unbearably before you are even half way through.
The bigger question that the article fails to pose – but which I will pose to you, gentle and brilliant readers – is what do we do now? Some might suggest that the MSM must return to being an independent-minded, critical-thinking, watchdog of government. But I think that ship has sailed. The Bush administration and Fox News have simply changed the terrain too fundamentally for it to be possible to 'go back'. There is no longer a space above the partisan fray. It's odd, then, that reading the 'partisan' newspapers in the UK, they come across as less unified in their perspective than American newspapers today (e.g. the Guardian criticises both Labour and the far-left more often than the Washington Post criticises the Bush administration). So is a European media model the American future? I'm not making a case for it because I don't have the arguments or evidence, but if that's not the trajectory, then what is?