I’ve noticed, throughout my many years on this earth, that most people don’t pay attention to politics. They know it’s important, but they have other stuff they need to do and politicians can be really, really boring. Of course working parents want their kids to get a good education, but does anyone want to listen to a 15 point plan to “reinvigorate our failing schools” after a long day at the salt mines? And a lot of the hot political topics sound an awful lot like chores: balancing the budget, taxes, transportation, financial reform. These aren’t subjects that scream “fun for my free time.”
So is it really any surprise that newspapers are struggling? Is it really a huge shocker that people are politically illiterate? Politics is boring. Anyone who has watched the House on CSPAN will agree. Government is boring. Even the Department of Justice, which sounds like something created by superheroes, is just full of lawyers. Even campaigning, which the media is absolutely obsessed with, is boring. The greatest institution in campaigning, the stump speech, is the speech a candidate gives every day, multiple times. Even before we start talking about the content of the speech, it’s already stale by definition.
But to be fair to the politicians and pundits, it’s not easy getting people interested in this stuff. The shadowy elites tried infusing some action into the process, but no one believed that the President’s motorcade was a fast-paced car chase. Sex scandals catch the attention of the masses, but the pivot from tickling interns back to the open seats on the National Labor Relations Board is pretty tough.
Perhaps it’s just that I’m an elitist, northeastern liberal, or maybe it’s because I fall perfectly into their key demographic groups, but it seems to me that Jon Stewart and Stephan Colbert have been managing to keep politics pretty interesting for the last few years. People like laughing. People even like the sound of laughing; if they didn’t, why is the laugh-track such an irreplaceable institution? The promise of comedy brings people in, and the absolute ridiculousness of politics gets them to stay.
That’s what I will try to do with this blog. I want to infuse politics with comedy and leave people on the other side of my articles with a bit of information they remember. Eventually, those bits will smush together to make a blob, at which point they will be only one letter away from having their own blog. And that’s the American dream isn’t it?