21 November 2010
Signs Of The Apocalypse -- First In A Continuing Series
I've never watched an episode of Dancing With The Stars, and had never seen any part of it until I went looking for this clip. Bristol Palin seems like a nice if somewhat vague and unformed young woman and certainly dances better than I ever have, would or could. On the other hand, I'm perfectly willing to accept the view of those who actually know something about dancing, or Dancing, that she isn't nearly good enough to have made the finals on her own. I could not care less is she wins or gets voted off.
But apparently lots of people do care and that strikes me as a sign of the apocalypse.
We seem to be treating politics now like just another team sport. In Boston sports talk, you'll sometimes hear the phrase "they wear our laundry." The point is that how a fan feels about some supposed scandal in sports (tape-gate, or Rodney Harrison taking HGH, or David Ortiz possibly having taken steroids, or Barry Bonds supposedly having taken steroids, or Manny being a lazy undisciplined player) depends entirely on whether they play for "your" team. Caring whether Bristol Palin wins or loses a tv dance contest because her mother is Sarah Palin isn't politics, it isn't rational, it's just down to who's laundry she wears. (Yeah, I know, but I didn't realize where this was going until it was too late to turn around.)
There's no rational basis on which to prefer the Red Sox to the Yankees, the Raiders to the 'Niners, or Manchester to ... some other soccer team. I strongly believe that there is a rational basis to prefer conservative government to liberal government, and probably for preferring Republican government to Democratic government -- and I'll freely concede that if you start with another set of axioms, there are reasons to prefer Democrats to Republicans. (Generally, the reason for the latter is "they'll give me stuff," but that's perfectly rational.) But that doesn't mean that we are rational about these decisions and caring about Bristol Palin, one way or another (I mean, we're three weeks from an election in which we swept the Democrats from the House and people care whether Sarah Palin's daughter wins a dancing contest?) means that we've moved beyond rational argument.
For the people who would win a rational argument, that's bad news.
Posted by David at 11:12 AM