Here’s a story pertinent to the situation that cannot be told too often – unless it is told when it is notpertinent to the situation in which case it can– about a moment in television so exposingly revelatory I heard myself saying, possibly out loud though there was no one else in the vicinity,
“Did he just say that?”
As did, without doubt, the people on the TV show he was saying it to.
Somebody once opined, “A ‘gaffe’ is when a politician tells the truth.” Though not delivered by a politician, this public, “letting-the-cat-out-of-the-bag” easily rises to the opiner’s definitional level of “gaffe.”
Here’s what happened. And it would not be overstated to say that anyone who witnessed it – their lives were altered forever. All right, maybe a little overstated, but look at me. It happened years ago and I am still writing about it.
“Would you get to it already, please?”
Okay. Sorry. It just still, you know, makes my head spin around.
Okay, so here it is.
Political commentator John McLaughin is hosting one of his popular adversarial mud-wrestling programs, on which a panel of pugnacious pundits from both sides of the ideological spectrum go “Head-To-Head” over some transient-though-seemingly-vital-at-the-time “Issue of the Day.”
Suddenly, “Host Commentator” McLaughlin crashes the verbal cacophony and says, concerning the issue under passionate debate:
“The question is not‘Is is good for the ‘Left’? or ‘Is it good for the ‘Right’? The question is… (“HOLDING” FOR HEIGHTENING TENSION)… ‘Is it good for our show?’”
I sat there, utterly dumbstruck, my faculties under sufficient control only to weakly go, “Wow.” (The “on-air” contributors look like they just swallowed their gum.)
That’s the whole ballgame, right there.
“Is it good for our show?”
A reverberating mantra that applies, I think, everywhere.
Including the issue in yesterday’s post.
The Dodgershave no prayer of defeating the Red Soxin the 2018 World Series. The evidence behind that assertion is indisputable, and, more importantly, staring everyone interested right in the face. (And everyone not interested.) Yes, there is always the possibility of an “upset”, but as I said yesterday, although not in these exact words, “upsets” are “upsets” because their unlikelihood as an outcome are demonstrably apparent. (This seems like a duller version of what I said yesterday. Though I may be dealing in a “haloing” nostalgia for the past.)
Despite this supportable certainty – in a seeming parallel universe – you watch the pre-game prognostications, or the game itself, even nearing its end when the contest’s winner is no longer in doubt, and, from what they are telling you on the air,
You would think it was still close.
It is notclose.
It was predictably – and you do not have to be some great “Wizard of Wisdom” to see it – never going to be close. (And, by the way, I do not in any arena, claim that I am one.)
You can detect the transparent mismatch with your unlying eyes.
Yet the announcers keep telling us it’s close.
“The Red Soxhold a commanding lead here in the eighth (inning, out of nine, for those unfamiliar with baseball),but the always-explosive Dodgers are only a grand-slam home run, a couple of more home runs, some singles and doubles and maybe another home run from climbing back into this game.”
Why do they do that?
“Is it good for our show?
(Likely Unnecessary Translation: So we will continue to watch.)
Ditto – feeding his argumentative fire – with the recent mid-term election coverage. (Validating Side-Note: When asked my opinion concerning some surprisingly tight races in traditional “Red” states, my studied prediction was, “The Democrats will lose by less.” Not being a “smarty-pants.” Just saying “What is.”)
Yet they kept telling us what our clear-eyed understanding said otherwise.
Why did they do that?
All together now…
“Is it good for our show?”
I will now use the word “confluence” without looking it up to see if it’s right because I like how it sounds.
Okay, I looked it up and it’s close. “Confluence” refers to rivers flowing together, which, if not exactly, then “in-the-general-neighborhood” fits the bill.
People believe what they choose to believe, even if it’s wrong. Some are natural optimists whose inborn proclivities send them in that sunny direction. Others are devoted fans – if its baseball – or unwavering partisans – if it’s the political bacchanal.
They want it to be the way they want it to be.
Then they see people on television saying, in the case of the political arena, diametrically opposite things – there is no “Fox News of Baseball”, proclaiming, “The score is ‘Fake news.’” – the boiled-down version of their broadcast pronouncements being,
“Despite the mountain of proof suggesting the contrary, you may actually be correct.”
And there’s your word “confluence”, right there.
River One: People desiring a highly unlikely outcome, encouraged to believe in the possibility of that highly unlikely outcome by – River Two: – people who – at least according to an eye-opening John McLaughlin, and his ad-libbed assertion’s “Ring of Truth” made me an immediate Believer – have an alternate purpose for stringing us along.
Punk. (Because I couldn’t think of a fourth one.)
Believe whatever you want for whatever reason you want to.
Do not be persuaded by people whose interests stem from an entirely different agenda.
“Is it good for our show”?
That’s not our issue.