Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Something Someone Else Said

"Pick something that you pay no attention to. For my dad, I always suggest NASCAR. My dad has read a sports page every day since he was a little kid; he still gets (as do I) a real, honest-to-goodness local newspaper on his front porch every morning. He must have seen the names of NASCAR drivers thousands of times, but odds are he's only stopped to read a story if it had something in the headline that really caught his attention (someone from the Bronx, or Jewish, or both, might do it). If you asked him to name a NASCAR driver he'd probably look at you as if you were nuts...but if you named some of them, he'd probably recognize the names. The idea is that lots and lots of people have about that level of knowledge about most of what happens in politics. It's just background noise. We, the people who write and read political blogs, and watch debates, and pay attention to politics even in the off season --we're the minority." -Jonathan Bernstein, A plain blog about politics.

The analogy of NASCAR drivers is an apt one for me. Even when I got a paper back in the day I always found the sports section extremely boring and rarely read it but because of SportsCenter on ESPN my knowledge level of NASCAR is similar to that of Bernstein's father. I have to say that if the average American's knowledge of politics is indeed comparable to my own ignorance about NASCAR then it's no wonder we wallow in this perpetual cycle of electing corrupt politicians to a bloated inefficient bureaucracy. I mean, George W. Bush actually got reelected after all of the stupid shit he did during his first term in office. If that doesn't indicate that most Americans aren't paying attention to the actions of their elected officials then I don't know what does. It's lines of thought like this that scare me into considering the possibility that Sarah Palin just might be able to win the presidency someday: because lazy, ignorant people vote. Busch/Earnhardt Jr. in 2012!



JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Therein lies a problem with us blogging for Libs JBW. We're(You anyway. I hate sounding rightious and smug. Humility is one of my trademarks.) are just too smart to convince the idiots, bigots and homophobes that make up the base of the republican party to vote for someone else.

The people demand entertainment above all else. A well written essay on the evils of supply side economics is easily dismissed by the idiots when they can listen to Rush say the word "socialist" eight times in two minutes. They know that's evil. Better do what the guy that says "socialist" says.

Beekeepers Apprentice said...

Um, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but most people's knowledge on ANY subject, including NASCAR and politics, is slim. Very, very slim.

No, I have no hope for humanity, LOL.

JBW said...

I guess I'm fortunate that I don't labor under the yoke of humility that you do, T101. I just assume that anything I can't do well is a result of being too smart: saves time.

I also agree with you on your latter point. The 24 hour news cycle and our relatively new found access to instantaneous information and media have unfortunately made "quick" and "incendiary" a winning formula in modern politics.

JBW said...

Perhaps I should have been more specific and said "working knowledge", BkA. I look at voting like changing a tire: I don't expect the average American to obsess over it every day but they should at least have enough knowledge to be able to do it semi-competently when the occasion presents itself every once in a while.