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The Writers Strike, the Political Pundits, and We, the People

With the writers on strike, Hollywood has moved away from distorting our social relationships to our political ones.
We all know the typical Hollywood love story: boy pursues girl, girl pushes away boy, eventually girl falls for boy who by then has grown frustrated. Before girl is able to express her feeings boy moves on to a different girl engendering a big fallout between boy and girl #1. Eventually boy comes around, realizing girl #2 is not right for him and runs back to girl #1. Boy and girl now embrace, get married and live happily every after.

There is no love story repeated more often in Hollywood. The back and forth and up and down of tale keeps people watching and audiences interested. It does so not because it is indicative of reality, but specifically because it has little to no resemblance to reality. In promoting this story, Hollywood has perhaps done more than any other institution to promote unrealistic and distorted love relationships.
Real peoples’ relationships never match up to the bold drama, tragedy, and roller coaster love stories seen on the movie screen. Its not just that sometimes boys end up loving boys or that some relationships end in yelling and screaming or that, in many cases, second choices are the ones that end up making more sense. It’s also that we never can predict what the future holds, yet, like junkies, we keep watching and wanting more.
For last few months Hollywood’s writer’s guild has been on strike, but just in case you were worried that you would not be getting your love story “fix,” fear not. Hollywood producers have found a new field to distort: the political field.
Contrary to the claims of some, the miscalling of the New Hampshire primary is nothing new. Remember Howard Dean? The truth of the matter is that more than anything else, political pundits, TV producers, and newspaper editors want people to keep watching, reading, and listening. To do that they need a good love story. Weather or not that story has any resemblance to reality is irrelevant. What is most critical is that the newspapers stay open and the TVs stay on. The sad part is that in the end We, the People are the big losers.
Tom Brokow, the one time NBC news anchor, put it best when he said that political pundits should stick to analysis and stay away from predications and story telling.
The 2008 presidential campaign has the potential to be one of the greatest in American history. There is no clear front runner in either party. From security to the economy, virtually every major political issue is on the table and up for discussion. Americans are eager for a change and are truly interested in the substance of the issues. The media has a chance to create the conditions of possibility for Americans to be better informed or it can fall into the Hollywood trap of predications and punditry. Like us, it remains to be seen what side they will choose.

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Marian Neudel

posted January 22, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Oh, good grief. Ever since the Iowa caucus, the pundits have been saying OMG we were wrong about Iowa, OMG the Iowa winner didn’t win New Hampshire and besides we were wrong about New Hampshire, OMG we got the Nevada caucus wrong, and so on. All of the weeping and wailing seemed to derive from two premises: it is possible for any competent pundit to predict the outcome of a primary or caucus, and once a particular candidate has been named by the said pundits as The Winner, he or she should go ON winning indefinitely. Where are the voters (or caucusers) in all this? Whatever their job is, it defnitely isn’t validating the collective punditory ego. If the pundits got it wrong, that’s THEIR problem, not ours, and they should bloody well keep their dismay to themselves.

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