Sunday, August 23, 2009

Joke Line v. Crazy Hobo

Over at No More Mister Nice Blog, Aimai has a post about a lucky confrontation with Joe Klein at a friend's cook-out, and it reminded me of a time earlier this week when I was at my neighborhood pool and overheard this homeless guy ranting to some poor guy about how the government is taking all our guns, is about to takeover our lives, the movie Red Dawn is about to come true, and how the Book of Revelations is coming true and we're in the End Times.

And this is in the pool mind you, with little kids all around. And this guy's going on and on about the end of the world and how everything's going to hell. Good time had by all. And so while Aimai gets to have Joe Klein rant in defense of himself, I'm stuck hiding my head underwater just to make sure my laughs weren't audible.

Not that I didn't want to engage with this guy, as I'm dumb enough to debate anyone. But I see this guy at the pool every time I go and if I struck up a conversation with him this time, I'd be stuck talking to him every time I went and would have to find a new place to swim. And so instead, I got to pity the poor schmo who was stuck talking to this guy.

Yet all the same, while the homeless guy's silly rant was nonsensical, as it involved a Red Dawn style invasion, tied in with a government takeover, and the return of Satan; I felt that his worldview still made more sense than Joe Klein's. At least this guy was sincere in his apocalyptic nonsense. Klein, on the other hand, considers politics to be little more than a diversion for his otherwise pointless life and frowns upon those who take it seriously or consider it to have repercussions beyond his social life.

Klein's Social Network

And that's why Klein considers someone like Glenn Greenwald to be evil and crazy, because Greenwald actually cares. Klein apparently even complained to Aimai that Greenwald "'sicced' his blog readers on my EDITOR and she was going through a DIVORCE at the time." Because yes, his editor's personal problems are more important than her professional responsibilities, and civil liberties take a backseat to politeness.

Yet this is the problem with our entire modern media. It's not that they're corporate entities shilling for the Man, though there are certainly some inherent problems with that. The bigger problem is that they simply don't know what their jobs are anymore. Sure, Joe Klein is a journalist, but he's also a celebrity and part of a social network. And maintaining that is the driving factor behind his seemingly random positions.

Yes, he was against the Iraq War, but he couldn't outright oppose it, as he would have lost his status with his media buddies had he done so. And doubting Bush on wiretaps was simply unthinkable. After all, one of his buddies told him everything was ok, and the guy was a Democrat. So there's no need to look any further. And that's why the media is as bad as it is. It's not about upholding the tenets of the profession, but rather, staying on the good side of your fellow professionals.

And that's how some random homeless guy can put forth a more consistent worldview than a professional pundit like Klein. No, there was no logic or reason behind the hobo's doom-mongering, but at least I could see where he was going with it. Klein, on the other hand, hasn't a clue what his next position will be; but whatever it is, he's damn sure that you'd have to be crazy to disagree.

1 comment:

JimV said...

This is somewhat off-topic, but your ranting hobo sounds a lot like an old friend of mine, who was a Program Manager at Honeywell, until sometime in his late 20's-early 30's, when he lost his job, was divorced, and eventually diagnosed as bi-polar. The drugs he was prescribed are expensive and have bad side-effects, so he stopped taking them. He lives in a one-room apartment on a small Social Security disability pension, and roams the streets ranting to acquaintences, in his case mainly based on Revelations. He told me that he "wrestles demons" every night.