Jon Stewart and his writers do a very good job making fun of right-wing fools and knaves. Stephen Colbert and his writers do an even better job. You’d think that if the people they make fun of ever saw themselves being made fun of, they’d mend their ways. But that doesn’t happen.
There is a popular left-wing website called Daily Kos that features an almost continuous stream of news and commentary, much of which calls attention to the ridiculous behavior of right-wing fools and knaves. There are many positive stories, but I often end up reading the negative ones. So I get to learn a lot about Fox News and Mitch McConnell.
The problem is that I’d rather know a lot less about Fox News, Mitch McConnell and their ilk. They are a blight on our nation. So I’ve stopped watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and I’m trying to stop looking at Daily Kos.
You could argue that it’s my responsibility as an American citizen to stay informed about current events, so it would be better to pay attention to what the right-wing knaves and fools are saying. But what these people and organizations do is mainly generate noise, which distracts us from more important things.
For example, it’s more important to know that the incredibly wealthy Koch Brothers want to buy the Los Angeles Times and turn it into a right-wing propaganda machine than it is to hear the latest stupid remark from Michele Bachmann, sponsor of the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act.
A few days ago, New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote about Rep. Bachmann’s decision not to run for re-election next year:
In honor of her departure, Michele-watchers around the country rolled out their favorite Bachmann quotes. Mine was her contention that the theory of evolution was disputed by “hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes.”
We may not see her like again. Or, if one shows up, we may decide not to pay attention.
Collins often writes entertaining but depressing columns about the latest Republican offense against justice or rationality. But wouldn’t it be better if she and we paid less attention (not no attention, but less attention) to what right-wing fools and knaves have to say?