Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Al Gore blames Britney

Jack Shafer:
In condemning Britney-obsessed reporters and readers, Gore takes the easy route. If he possessed any real courage in his conviction that news coverage of the frivolous blocks the discussion of serious "issues," he'd attack sports coverage. Sports capture a billion times the attention that celebrities do and probably swallow 20 percent of the news budget of dailies. The reason Gore gives sports coverage a bye while castigating Britney coverage is simple: Sports fans talk back -- loudly -- and folks who crave entertainment-news coverage are too embarrassed to defend their innocent diversion.
But I think the problem here is that it isn't really a zero-sum game, this business of "frivolous" vs. "serious" news. Obviously there are all sorts of media covering all sorts of things, and why not? There's no contradiction in being simultaneously interested in Monica Goodling, Iraq, Cubs scores and American Idol. They're all interesting!

Mostly, when people make the argument that pop culture is shallow or there's too much talk about Britney Spears or whatever, what they're really asserting is that it's vulgar to discuss such things, in the old blueblood sense. (And yes you betcha that's what most anti-rap screeds are saying.) But it amounts to a call to keep people from being interested in interesting things. And that is silly.

1 comment:

Daniel B. Honigman said...

Did you check out this story in last week's Time Magazine?