August 7, 2000
9:19 AM   Subscribe

I approached this review expecting it to be of the "major media providers are the problem, not the solution" sort, but discovered something somewhat different: "It’s not that the medium of the modern political campaign–television advertising–failed to do justice to men of substance, but that men of substance failed to adapt to television advertising..."
posted by dcehr (3 comments total)
...of course, one might note that our culture produces precious few men of substance, and the ones it does avoid the political arena like the plague.
posted by dcehr at 9:21 AM on August 7, 2000

I hate this. Now I have yet another book on my list of books I'm supposed to read. G.K.Chesterton comes before Jamieson though. Dammit.

Who can buy the most television advertising is only a small part of the picture. Our political system doesn't rise and fall dependent on the couch potatoes of this country. I'd like to believe it's run by some old coots in a secluded study somewhere smoking pipes and arguing nonchalantly about the fate of the world, with their underlings hanging on their every word and insuring their every whim is carried out.

Oh if only it were that simple. I'm beginning to believe the handful of people actually running the show aren't even aware that they're doing it.

Ms. Jamieson chides us for our casual political cynicism, for the "widely held belief that politics in the United States is broken." It's not broken. It's just not a democracy. I mean as an illusion of a republic, it's a great smoke screen. A lot of the middle class still falls for it. For those who are actually running the political machine, it's doing exactly what they want it to do. It's no longer by the people for the people blah blah blah. It's for the wealthy, by the masses.

I do plan to read the book, just to hear her side of the story, but if Ms. Jamieson wants to believe the Wizard of Oz is really that big glowing head scaring everybody and not the little guy hiding behind the curtain, she can go right on ahead.

Me? My money's on Toto.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:47 PM on August 7, 2000

It's for the wealthy, by the masses.

At what point did the spirit of paternalistic patriarchy -- by which I mean the aristocratic liberalism of men like FDR and Attlee -- disappear from politics? Possibly during the post-war era of mass media and mass transport, when the notion of the national politician as an absentee "delegate" gives way to one of televisual omnipresence. The point at which political representation becomes literal presentation.

Were our governments more representative when we knew them less well as people?

(I really shouldn't have eaten that Marshall McLuhan for dinner, should I?)
posted by holgate at 6:46 PM on August 7, 2000

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