It’s both sad and a little amusing that we never seem to learn a lesson permanently. We learn, forget, learn again. For instance: In this morning’s NY Times, supercol Tom Friedman includes this lament within a larger lament for a government adrift:
At the same time, the rise of cable TV has transformed politics in our country generally into just another spectator sport, like all-star wrestling. C-Span is just ESPN with only two teams. We watch it for entertainment, not solutions.
Friedman’s right, of course, though I’m not sure I’d lump C-SPAN with Fox or MSNBC. I rarely watch the cable bloodsport anymore, but I did for years, and I can’t recall a shouting match in which a solution broke out. TV is not the place to think, anyway. But all that was predicted almost twenty years ago in a still-worthwhile book called Amusing Ourselves to Death. The author, Neil Postman, saw it all coming: In our time, everything must be on TV or cease to exist. Subtleties that are not TV-friendly must go. So anything on TV is inevitably trivialized.