Saturday, May 5, 2007

Why I Don't Care About Rocky v. Hannity

I did not watch or listen to the “debate” last night. Everything about the whole event seemed contrived and pointless. Instead I chose to watch an old movie that pretty much summarized/prophesied what modern politics has turned into, though I had never seen the movie before. In John Ford's The Last Hurrah, Spencer Tracy's character makes a prescient statement, asking his sports columnist nephew a question:

Now tell me this. What would you consider the greatest spectator sport in the country today? Would you say it was baseball, basketball, football?... It’s politics. That’s right, politics. Millions and millions of people following it every day in the newspapers, over the TV and the radio. Now mind you, they wouldn’t get mixed up in this themselves for all the tea in China, but they know the names and numbers of all the players. And what they can’t tell the coaches about strategy. Oh, you should see some of the letters I get.

That is what I was afraid of last night: a spectator sport, not a political dialogue. I suspect there were more cogent arguments at last night's Blaze game; however, I bet attendance was higher at the debate than at the Delta Center.

While some see the Internet as a hope for greater political involvement, where individuals can make the kind impact not seen in earlier generations, I am pessimistic. I feel that until people stop seeing politics as that spectator sport and more as something they can participate in (i.e. run for office themselves), we won't evolve beyond Rocky v. Hannity. I have a friend who worked on the Ashdown campaign who is running for SLC mayor, but is so low in the polls and campaign funds now that no one pays attention to him. At least he is jumping out of the stands and on to the playing field, though.


Anonymous said...

It is ironic you decry the tragedy of politics becoming a spectator sport after you admit to sitting home and watching the movie instead of a debate you feared would turn into a spectator sport.

We have to spectate at least somewhat, or we will learn nothing. And if you want something to be a political discourse rather than a circus, GO TO IT, and do what you can to ensure that is turns out the way you would like.

If we all stayed at home and watched a movie, every time an unsure opportunity for discourse arose, we would NEVER have discourse.

Please don't encourage any MORE Utahn's to not learn by writing things like this.

Davis Didjeridu said...

Further irony you write anonymously, but I do leave that option open so that is your choice. However, if you have read my blog (while obviously not rapidly updated), you would see that I am engaged in the discourse. However, my point in this post was that the "debate" was not part of this discourse. It was as much a spectator sport as pro-wrestling. Does that mean we should not have it? Does it mean I wish it wasn't happening? Does it mean I think we should talk less? No on all counts. I am glad it is happening at all, but I yearn for a more broad-based political action. I hope people came out of the event wanting to do more, but I seriously doubt it. My experience has shown that most people believe they have done their duty by heckling their opponents and not doing anything more substantive.

WP said...

DD, I am in Boston MA for a couple days and of course the subject of Mitt and Mormons and Mayor Rocky have come up. Gov. Romney is not liked by most everyone I have talked with. In fact I have not found anyone who likes/ed him. Mayor Rocky gets high marks and is viewed with respect around here. Amazing what a change a neighborhood makes.

Nick said...

I think you're right on, here, Didj. Hannity and Rocky are everything that's wrong with today's political discourse. I watched about two minutes of them not answering each other's speeches-posing-as-questions and gave up.