Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tune Out

If "turn on, tune in, drop out" was the cry of the counterculture in 1968, surely "tune out" is the cry of the general population today. O showed me a YouTube of funny 911 calls in which a woman called in to complain about a guy hitting another guy in a movie she was watching. Today, Frank Rich, who is rapidly proving to be the writer best able to conflate pop culture with American history, writes:
Even if military "victory" were achievable in Iraq, America could not win a war abandoned by its own citizens. The evaporation of that support was ratified by voters last November. For that, they were rewarded with the "surge." Now their mood has turned darker. Americans have not merely abandoned the war; they don't want to hear anything that might remind them of it, or of war in general. Katie Couric's much-promoted weeklong visit to the front produced ratings matching the CBS newscast's all-time low. Angelina Jolie's movie about Daniel Pearl sank without a trace. Even Clint Eastwood's wildly acclaimed movies about World War II went begging. Over its latest season, "24" lost a third of its viewers, just as Mr. Bush did between January's prime-time address and last week's.

You can't blame the public for changing the channel. People realize that the president's real "plan for victory" is to let his successor clean up the mess. They don't want to see American troops dying for that cause, but what can be done?
It's our new inability to distinguish reality from reality TV that leads us to call for help in a fictional crisis and ignore a real one.

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