Just as the two-week sports orgy called the Beijing Olympics comes to a close, the pump is primed for a four-day political orgy called the Democratic National Convention. Far from being the sober selection of the best Democratic nominee and running mate to challenge the eventual Republican nominee and running mate (all third parties being irrelevant), the selection has already been made and the greater likelihood is that we’re in for pure spectacle, not unlike the Olympics, where protesters, Republicans, supporters of Hillary Clinton, and anarchists interested in recreating events of 1968 will all make their bids for media coverage, hoping to outlast the 15-minute rule and go down as something greater than a tertiary footnote in history by hijacking the ostensible purpose of the convention. The candidate himself will most likely be contorting himself every which way to avoid giving any ammunition to his detractors and will accordingly be quite easy to outshine.
Of course, the MSM cannot be relied upon to report calmly and rationally. Rather, stories will be selected and shaped to provide the highest degree of controversy, meaning newsworthiness, so that its pundits and anchors can spin them into analysis to justify their air time, egos, credentials, and salaries. And because we’re a populace bred on overstimulation and immediate gratification, we fully expect to have regular adrenaline jolts provided by the political process, which packages itself as the centerpiece of the national narrative with the slickness of the best Hollywood propagandists.
Naturally, I’m watching and waiting for at least a dozen spinning plates to run down and fall from their perches as we enter a season of cataclysm (oddly positioned on the calendar just when we prepare to go to the polls to elect our new masters) to inaugurate a new era of cataclysm. In the meantime, there may be another summer blockbuster yet to be screened that functions as an admirable précis of the current state of American culture, but it’s unlikely that one will appear that captures the new nature of villainy more accurately that the Joker from the new Batman movie, who is an irredeemable agent of chaos. Welcome to the maelstrom.
Update: I am pleased to say I was wrong about at least one thing. Obama did not avoid specifics in his acceptance speech. He has been described as a thematic speaker, using soaring rhetoric but not articulating his plans clearly. That wasn’t the case at the DNC. I just went to his website and downloaded his Blueprint for Change, a 33-pp. document outlining 15 areas of concern.