- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Political madness

“When a former president makes unsubstantiated allegations that political opponents are inciting people to violence, when regular columnists for the Washington Post and the New York Times liken mainstream critics of the president to the bigotry of David Duke, when protests are denounced as racist simply because most of the people attending them are white, that kind of rhetoric — sometimes calculated, sometimes incautious — is itself a contribution to the coarsening of our public discourse.

“Or perhaps it is something worse. Political passions in this country have been inflamed since at least the 2000 Florida recount, maybe the Clinton impeachment two years before. Demographically, America is becoming more diverse. In such a climate, racializing disputes that are not inherently racial in nature and inflating the profile of real hate groups is not just wrong — it is profoundly irresponsible.

“‘All politics are local,’ Tip O’Neill famously observed. That kind of provincialism is compatible with social harmony. ‘All politics are identity politics’ is a maxim that will tear the country apart, as it ignores any concept of the common good.”

W. James Antle, writing on “Crying Hate, Suppressing Debate” on April 19 at the American Spectator

TV madness

“For many years, VH1 has been the home to television’s most awful reality series: The Bret Michaels-pimping ‘Rock of Love,’ ‘I Love Money’ and the show that helped fashion Tila Tequila into the thing she is, ‘Surviving Nugent.’ VH1 has decided to change all that, and tonight the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that VH1 is unveiling 44 new, more-conventional series within three categories: ‘Music, celebrity, and “real life stories”.’

“Notice that setting up people in situations one-degree away from outright prostitution is not included! The new series include ‘You’re Cut Off!’ about ‘spoiled party girls’ and a new run of ‘Behind the Music,’ which kicks off with Christina Aguilera.

“There is a pretty obvious reason why VH1 would make this shift: Their previous shows were designed expressly to show off the worst parts of human character. Someone realized that they had become pornographers of the soul, and finally became ashamed. Nope! Instead, VH1 made up a whole new demographic, which then they said their new programming was targeting. It is called ‘Gen Mix,’ and you are probably part of it.”

Adrian Chen, writing on “VH1 Will No Longer Make the Worst Shows on Television” at the Gawker blog Defamer

No more Mad-ness

“The world really will end in 2012! This week, ‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner reportedly announced that the show won’t go beyond six seasons. Weiner is said to have ‘unceremoniously’ revealed the news at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, where he participated in a Q&A Tuesday night.

“Weiner’s fixed-end-date decision (which he’s hinted at before) is similar to those made by the creators of ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Lost.’ While it’s hard to imagine a Mad Men-less summer and early fall, it’s even harder to contemplate Don Draper disco dancing at Studio 54, now isn’t it?”

Lindsay Robertson, writing on “Is Mad Men Half Over?” on April 16 at the New York Magazine blog Vulture

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