Saturday, June 14, 2008

Politics, Like Hollywood Comedies, Is Getting Cruder

There has been a whole lot of penis talk in the news recently. I'm not talking about obscure bloggers, but some of the most popular, most highly remunerated and most influential infotainers in US media:

Christopher Hitchens: "I might orgasm in my trousers" (talking of his delight at the recent media bashing of Bill Clinton)

Tucker Carlson: "I have often said, when [Senator Clinton] comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs." and "[Lawyer Nancy Grace] scares me. I cross my legs every time she talks." and "It's like those pictures you see of the soccer goalie when they're about to get the free kick. That's me when [Senator Clinton] talks. I can't help it."

Chris Matthews: "[When Barack Obama spoke] I felt this thrill going up my leg."

Chris Matthews has also talks about being castrated. About Speaker of the House of Representantives, Nancy Pelosi, he said, "Is she going to castrate [him]?"

And of course, once said, eveyone else quotes the comments. Mark Steyn received a secondary rush of notoriety for his article called Obama, Political Viagra: "On the strength of Chris Matthews's vibrating calves, Mr. Obama raised a ton of money and massively outspent Mrs. Clinton."

One could argue that these guys are only masquerading as journalists and pundits and are really just shock-jocks, building up their careers by saying outrageous things - really not so different from Howard Stern or Don Imus. The difference is that they're on cable news in prime time, and their shows are taken seriously.

As Hollywood comedies get cruder, it seems that each must always raise the ante and be cruder than its predecessors in order to get the shock that brings laughter. Crudity in media seems to be going the same way (Hitchens' comment is the most recent and most explicit). The way it's going, and with the success these guys are getting with virtually no backlash, it will almost certainly get much, much worse in the months and years to come. And since shock-jock media seems to target women particularly, we should be prepared for even more misogyny and bashing.



penlan said...

Well there was a reporter on MSNBC (whose name escapes me at the moment) who was suspended for awhile when he spoke of Hillary "pimping out Chelsea" to stump for her. But it was only when Hillary objected, strongly & was possibly going to sue, to the term he used that he was suspended.

I agree with you on the more & more sexually explicit language being used by the political punditry.

Haven't seen anyone else speak to this - thanks for making a point of it.

Anonymous said...

But Yappa, didn't we always know that sex is the ultimate power play? Mixed with politics, then, it's unbeatable, crude or not. Hope you can hear/read that my tongue is firmly in my cheek. .

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