aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Clinton on Colbert tonight & the state of political debates
I’ve got a guest post up at The Moderate Voice commenting on my hopes for Hillary’s appearance on Colbert tonight titled, Matthews, Clinton & Colbert: retributive justince in the modern mediascape. A snip:
There’s nothing saying that appearance will be an interview and it’s too bad, too… A Clinton on the Colbert set the day after a debate that some say could have been scripted for her by a sycophant press caught up in all of the non-issues of the day is all of the license Colbert needs to go for comedy of epic Correspondents Association Dinner proportions.
I had another post at The Moderate Voice on Monday that I am quite proud of and would have pointed to earlier had I had the time. Stephen Colbert: A Media Maestro Plays Philly is an interview with Dr. Robert J. Thompson, Professor of Television and Popular Culture and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.
We discussed Colbert’s four day Philadelphia run, Comedy Central, journalism and the news media. I was very complimented that Ms. Interpreted of the Colbert fan/news site No Fact Zone called it “one of the more thoughtful analyses of The Colbert Report that I can recall reading.”
Thompson is a really terrific interview; a fascinating guy, I revel in our conversations. In that same discussion we talked about the state of political communication as practiced by modern politicians.
As I watched Obama struggle last night under the primitive form of what passes for televised political debate in the twentyfirst century, I thought of what Thompson said about the state of political communication in general, using Al Gore as an example:
Poltical rhetoric and speeches are, like the news, stuck in a time warp a lot further back. At least the evening news is behaving like it’s 1975. A lot of political speeches are behaving like it’s the age of Cicero or before the microphone. I think Al Gore really hit on something and he’s an especially interesting character because he wasn’t a good speechmaker. He was known as being wooden and not terribly compelling and all the rest of it, and he discovered that there’s been a few advances in media since the age of the podium, and he made a movie using those advances in media. Nothing too fancy. Film. PowerPoint. That kind of thing. And all of a sudden he scored one of the most victorious rhetorical coupes to come along in a long time: he got an entire nation to embrace an idea that they had been kicking and screaming against. He got people to take their dates to the movie to watch a political presentation. Essentially, a speech! But not a speech that uses the old nineteenth century, eighteenth century, second century, notion of somebody just getting up and saying some wordsâ€¦ he went to the clips, he showed some graphs, he showed all the stuff. Ross Perot was about the most modern political candidate we’ve had maybe up until now. He at least brought some graphics to his presentations.
Thompson went on to point out that one of the problems is we, the public, tend to criticize the use of technology as a kind of cheating, when in fact it is an entirely appropriate and just means to a desired end. As Gore proved. So we lock our politicians in a box, then complain about them because they’re wooden while locked inside it!