Earlier this week, I took a risk and turned on “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd. I say a risk, because Colin is the most bi-polar sports guy I know: he’ll make a lot of really astute observations, and then blow you away by saying something that’s astoundingly dumb.
But he immediately caught my interest, because he voiced a thought I had recently, about celebrities, and how the media falls all over itself to say how wonderful and talented they are, when the truth is that mostly, they’re just really good looking people who happened to have connections or were in the right place at the right time. I had originally had this thought as I was listening to NPR preview Terri Gross’s show, “Fresh Air,” which is not actually fresh air, but rather, hot air, blown in the direction of people who make a lot of money.
Anway, I totally agree with the initial point Colin made: what most actors, celebrities, and pundits do is not difficult, original, interesting, or valuable; their success is simply a product of the fact that Americans are a captive audience that spends much of their time seeking entertainment.
But then, to provide counterbalance, he stated that Bill O’Reilly was a tremendous talent. And Glen Beck. And Michael Savage. Now those guys (all right wingers mind you), Cowherd claimed, were the stars in American Media who are actually talented… and then I turned off the radio.
Look, if lying to your audience is a talent; if getting stupid people to believe what you say is difficult; if leading a rabble of people that have more anger than purpose is tough; if making emotional arguments devoid of fact, rationality, or perspective is the very peak of entertaining in the 21st century; then yes, these men are talented.
Look, I’ll grant that it’s got to be difficult to maintain the act without cracking from the pressure that must come from being a professional hypocrite—a shill for the wealthy and powerful—a fraud whose self-aware—sure, I suppose that’s difficult. Come on Colin: these guys are complete hacks! They get good numbers because their hate-filled followers have been brainwashed to believe that Right Wing media has an exclusive ownership on the truth, and they spoon feed their listeners the same rhetoric we see all the time: Obama’s a terrible person, climate change is a hoax, the liberals are taxing American business to death, unions are awful, and poor black and brown people are sucking this country dry through programs like Food Stamps and Medicaid.
And that’s what makes it so difficult to listen to Cowherd: he often makes these interesting, original arguments, but then he says something so stupid five seconds later that you end up having to turn off the radio or jam a spoon in your ear.