24
Jan
11

Zing!

Conor Friedersdorf on Keith Olbermann’s retirement:

Exhausted by day’s end, I’d metro back to Woodley Park, eager for a wind down beer, always forgetting that Countdown would be blaring. I didn’t care about its politics. But watching gave me that anxious, vaguely pissed off feeling one gets sitting for an hour without air-conditioning in gridlocked freeway traffic, behind a semi and next to a guy blasting Eminem. It was all about the mood. I needed a mindless break before retiring to my room for some freelancing. Instead I came as close as I’ll ever be to understanding what the audience felt during the debut of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”

[…]

Let me put it to you this way. You’re talking to a recent immigrant at jury duty. He is telling you how determined he is to be a good citizen and civic role model for his kid. a) “So I’ve been trying to read Tocqueville in the evenings after work.” b) “So I try to attend an occasional City Council meeting.” c) “So I’ve been volunteering as a precinct captain during elections.” d) “So I keep up with the Supreme Court by reading the most significant opinions each session. e) “So I keep up with what Congress is doing by reading The New York Times.” f) “So I read the blogs of a few political scientists each day.” g) “So I watch Keith Olbermann every night.”

Is there any doubt that “g” is the worst option?

With very few exceptions, the retirement of a popular political talking head is great news: it’s likely to result in fewer people watching political television.

(Emphasis added.)

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