Bread and Circuses

The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything.  Except what is worth knowing.  Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.  ~ Oscar Wilde

The GOP held a debate last night and a chess match broke out. After which the media bemoaned the lack of enmity and wondered aloud as to whatever happened to hubris. Nothing throws the pundits off their game quite like amicable discourse on the part of political candidates. And with Newt “Contract With America Killer” Gingrich in attendance, no less.

Don’t get me wrong, last night’s debate was more forgettable than Mitt Romney’s musical leanings. The pablum poker party was a Twitterized false start. But seriously? Nothing short of Ron Paul bringing a gun to a word fight was going to knock Anthony Weiner off the top spot at the box office anyway.

If there’s one thing the general media hates more than mud slinging, it’s the lack thereof. Because it forces them to write up stories on the issues, which has become more of a lost art than letter writing. Sure, the masses like to gather at the trough to feed on scandal over substance. But is there not some kind of responsibility being shirked by the fourth estate when Representative Weiner’s political briefs get max coverage while the real job deficit numbers are tucked somewhere between horoscopes and the obits?

Homeowners are currently humping around less equity than a dominatrix. The Fed is weeks away from making like Willie Wonka on that cranky debt ceiling legislators have been squabbling about. Teachers positions are being eliminated for budgetary reasons in the most shortsighted move since deck chairs were thrown off the Titanic.

The reason these topics aren’t more salient is because they’re not salacious.

If you’re dumbed down and you’re sexy, you’re the news. I’m pretty sure the majority did not get a vote in this lowest common denominator taste test, but oh well. So Weiner wins, Palin pontificates and Arnold gets maid service. It’s fun, I’ll give you that. But it’s empty calories fun. It’s one night stand fun. It’s lampoon.

Hey, I’m not asking for the Wall Street Journal. But I sure as hell didn’t sign up for Mad magazine either.

To borrow from Don Henley, just give me something . .  something I can use.

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