I seldom deliberately bring up the broadcast media, which is regularly menticidal. But there is a radio in the kitchen (we don’t even own a TV), and if it’s top of the news hour, and I am doing the dishes or microwaving, I might flip it on. Yet even that much is enough to expose the cerebrum to toxic molecules.
(1) Covering the Boorstinean “pseudo-event” known as the Iowa Caucus, NPR selected the following from candidate Ted Cruz, summing up his principal pitch to the voters: if he is the next President (or, as he put it, with just a touch of préciosité, if his wife is the next First Lady), “French fries are coming back to the cafeteria”. No context or explanation was given; but the statement was followed by wild cheers.
Now, to those of you who were born last Tuesday, that won’t mean much. But I am old enough to recall a time, a decade or so back (before you were born), when the House Republicans, in a snit over some imagined slight from France, removed “French fries” from the menu, replacing the item with “Freedom fries”. That tantrum was widely reported in Europe, and our national reputation for gravitas slipped down another notch.
So the first thing that occurred to me was: Statesman Cruz, repudiating such whiny childishness though it be from within his own party, vowed to have no more truck with such puerile displays, and to deal with our allies as grown-ups.
Only … The loud-lungs in his audience, can scarcely have followed the intellectual zigzags of such an analysis. Their understanding, and his meaning, must therefore have been something -- much simpler. More likely the Republican candidate was hooking up with the great Reaganite legacy of “ketchup is a vegetable”, and pledging to provide plenty of grease-fries to soak in it: thus upholding the right of schoolchildren to become diabetic fatsos.
(2) Next came the, mmm, analysis. Rather than expose you to any more of this mediatized twaddle, I shall some up the segment, along with all such segments over the past few months, and more to come:
Q: If (so&so) wins in (such & such a venue) [fill in the blanks], would this provide him/her/them/it with “momentum”.
A: It would! -- Or rather -- the media being the epistemological minimalists that they are, chary to go beyond the evidence -- it: could. -- For these are the media that, if some pointy-headed professor from the Ivy League claims that the world is round, balance his assertion with counter-testimony from a Flat Earther, thus seeking to be inclusive of the Flat Earth community.