Saturday, December 12, 2015

Taibbi nails it again: Trump is our Punishment for Letting TV Take Over

Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" has long been on the LOVESalem short list for most important books ever. Now Matt Taibbi updates the reporting on where it leads when your public discourse is all video:

In this he's just like millions and millions of Americans, who have all been raised on a mountain of unthreatening caricatures and clich├ęs. TV is a world in which the customer is always right, especially about hard stuff like race and class. Trump's ideas about Mexicans and Muslims are typical of someone who doesn't know any, except in the shows he chooses to watch about them.
This world of schlock stereotypes and EZ solutions is the one experience a pampered billionaire can share with all of those "paycheck-to-paycheck" voters the candidates are always trying to reach. TV is the ultimate leveling phenomenon. It makes everyone, rich and poor, equally incapable of dealing with reality.
That's why it's so ironic that some people think the solution to the Trump problem is turning him off. What got us into this mess was the impulse to change the channel the moment we feel uncomfortable. Even if we take the man off the air, the problem he represents is still going to be there, just like poverty, corruption, mass incarceration, pollution and all of the other things we keep off the airwaves.

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