Nix the Bread; Just Give Us Circuses

In the middle of this piece by Amy Sullivan about the debate, comes this line:
"Boring" and "zzzzz" were popular reviews of Obama's performance from blogosphere pundits, but apparently the people have had enough excitement watching the market plummet and are in the mood for some mellowness.
It wasn't just in the blogosphere. As the results of their polling rolled in at CNN, various members of the largest pundit panel on the planet expressed shock that American voters felt Obama had so thoroughly trounced McCain with such a low-key performance.

And while their bewilderment, conveyed via perplexed tones and consternatedly knitted brows, at people judging the candidates based on—can it be?—substance, was amusing, it was frightening to find an undercurrent of disappointment about Obama's imperturbable showing, too. Cool to the point of sleepy, they seemed to grouse.

None of them was foolish enough to say it plainly, but they were evidently dissatisfied that Obama had failed to entertain them.

Detecting that wee bit of disappointment at the increasingly likely prospect that they're going to have to cover "the boring guy" for at least the next four years sent a chill up my spine, but it also pissed me right off. Press who express regret, overtly or subtly, that the future president is calm, cool, collected, and competent, because it might make their jobs less fun, have lost the plot (and their role in it). That's the dominion of comedians—and even comedians have a point at which the good of the country means more to them than a joke.

We spend a lot of time in the blogosphere talking about ideological bias in the press, but what really matters even more than a member of the media leaning right or left is how much they're doing that job for themselves instead of doing it on behalf of their viewers, listeners, readers.

Maybe the best president for the media is a bloody buffoon who regularly makes an arse of himself, but that is not the best president for the average American, who depends on hir president to be a goddamned grown-up. I really don't think it's too much to request of our Fourth Estate to bear in mind that they have a serious job to do.

Circuses don't sate hungry bellies. Say what you like about Barack Obama, but he appears to know that much at least.

There are a lot of hungry bellies in America these days.

Maybe that's why he's so serious.

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