Media Scandals Stir Up a Stagnant World

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

In Washington, D.C., national politics is always the talk of the town, until the NFL season and babble-babble about the Redskins starts. But this may not happen this year, due to the deadlock between players and owners over how to divide up billions in revenue, an unseemly labor quarrel in the summer of our economic discontent. If there’s no football, folks may finally realize that Owner Dan Snyder really is not only the face of the Redskins organization, but its heart and soul, which is to say it, has neither.

Locally, the mayor’s woes and that of sundry council men stuck with unseemly problems seems to have brought local politics to a serious case of the slows, nearing stagnation.

On the national front, on the other hand, some odd, weird, media-pushed and otherwise scandals, mishaps and downright strangeness are about the only things that are keeping at bay the creeping stagnation that now exists.

Consider the economy, which is stagnant, and promises to remain that way, wiping away whatever surge in popularity President Barack Obama may have gained from the death of Osama Bin Laden. Jobs are trumping almost every other other issue, and yet, the Republicans continue to insist that the national debt trumps jobs, and anyway, that’s Obama’s job and fault. This, in a climate where the unemployment rate actually crept upward, while Wall Street, alarmed, saw the Dow Jones drop below 12,000 for the first time in quite some time. The recovery, assumed to be steadily happening, now looked as vulnerable as a rabbit running into a mongoose

State polls, where GOP governors have been trying to solve the debt problem by firing public employees show that that’s perhaps not the way to go. Almost every GOP governor elected by Tea Party support has a lower approval rating than the president, which was sinking slightly.

Stagnant—in its own way—was the Middle East where revolution and the Arab spring (although perhaps we should could it summer) were a continuing saga that refused to come to a climax. The turmoil though is now a consistent part of the landscape in the Middle East, sort of like a long overtime soccer match that just goes on forever. The results or lack of are full of dangerous portents.

It also appears that the administration, the military and the nation is now exhausted and tired of Afghanistan and all the turmoil there, where President Karzai, the Taliban, Pakistan and U.S. forces are enmeshed in some long-standing, interminable violent dance without end. But more and more the talk is of withdrawal, less so of some convincing final victory.

You can just see the national malaise creeping on.

Mother nature is no help: floods, fires, tornadoes have wreaked so much havoc here that we’ve almost forgotten how much worse things were in Japan.

Given all this gloom and doom, what are the pundits talking about? There’s Arnold. There’s the aftermath of the John Edwards meltdown. There’s the Palin express and the Palin e-mails. There’s the Newt Gingrich meltdown. There’s Weiner-Twitter (ew) and there’s Beast-Twitter, and no doubt a few twits.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the terminator, the governator, Conan the Barbarian and the Eraser, is about to get a new title: ex-husband. After being discovered not only having a mistress, but a love child for a number of years, Arnold is now considering reviving his movie career. Let’s see, what comic book franchise could he start: Doctor Doom?

The John Edwards sad saga rose up again like a reminder of his hubris-filled, once-promising political career and all the things you can lose in life. The Feds are now going after him on a possible indictment for using funds gifted to him by rich supporters to hide his affair and resulting offspring from the media... This while his wife, who passed away last year, was suffering from terminal cancer.

Larry King, I think got this right on the Bill Maher show, saying it was an American tragedy. But it did not prevent the town from buzzing for at least all of two or three days.

Sara Palin took off on a bus trip across the country to take the pulse of, you know, us. She also managed to mangle the Paul Revere story, and insisted that her version—Revere was warning the British—was right and anyway it was a gotcha question that got her. Meanwhile, thousands of e-mails from her abbreviated days as Alaska governor were made public, and elicited nothing much more than her consistent whines about the media.

Newt Gingrich imploded. This is perhaps the least surprising political news in the land, matching everyone’s expectations. But he outdid himself—almost all of his senior staff bolted the campaign, which has to be some kind of record.

And lets not forget the twitter saga of Anthony Weiner, (pronounced apparently wiener, to the joy of every late night talk show host), who may not be a congressman by the time you read this, who twittered pictures of his boxer briefs containing obviously himself, or at an outline of the part most men think with. Denial, backtrack, more changes of story, admission, apologies, full responsibility, and a blah and a blah, but no wife at his side and seeking treatment and so on. This may have been the first true case of the weird nether world of the internet expressing itself in a real national scandal that goes on and on and on until it too will become stagnant.

The endless chatter about this whole thing is inexplicable. It is a media malaise all of its own.

But speaking of Twitter, thank good for Beast. Dane Cook, a comedian, twittered about his missing Chihuahua named, yup, “Beast,” who was found instantly. And perhaps cast in the next “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” movie.

Now that’s news you can use.

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Fri, 25 Jul 2014 02:48:13 -0400

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