The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, January 21, 2004  

Meltdown? Call Me Skeptical.

I missed the whole Howard Dean “meltdown” thing, probably because I don’t watch television. Instead, I rely on newspapers (off and on the web) and radio (off and on the web, including the much-reviled, but in my mind invaluable, BBC World Service).

I suppose I could troll around and find a site that has the video clip and all that, but I won’t.

Why? Because I think it’s all silly. And I’m skeptical that what I would find would be a “meltdown” under any definition of the term. On this point I’ll accept the assessment of Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla: “To me, he just looks like a wired, tired man trying to have a little fun and shake off his defeat by rousing the troops.”

It’s just the latest of the media’s effort to steer their collective coverage away from the hard stuff, like issues, issues they have proved time and again to be incapable of understanding, in order to focus on such fun Alpha-girl trivialities as the candidates’ appearances, personalities, “character,” and relationships, as if the presidential aspirants were running for Prom King or Prom Queen.

Besides, why are we just hearing all about this today, Wednesday? The Iowa caucus was on Monday night, as was the purported meltdown. Granted, many newspapers couldn’t run with the pack in time for Tuesday’s editions, but radio stations could have reported about it yesterday. And while I can’t claim to have listened to anything more than a fraction of the available radio outlets here and abroad, I heard nothing.

You know, what the hell is the point of having, or trying to have, diverse media voices if they’re all just going to parrot each other anyway?

(By the way, if you have any interest at all in reading the stupidest of all the opinion pieces about this matter, check in with someone named Rick Horowitz.)

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