Friday, April 14, 2017

Rachel Maddow | Lefsetz Letter

She’s the left wing explainer.

I’ve become addicted to the news. Not only the papers, which arrive every day, whose apps I’m constantly checking on my phone, but TV, which I mostly catch on the satellite, Sirius XM.

That’s right, there’s everything from Fox to CNN, MSNBC to Bloomberg, NPR and the BBC. I want to know what’s going on.

And so does everybody else.

As George Drakoulias famously said, he used to fight over bands, now we fight over politics.

I did not see this coming. The long national primary season, which seemed to start immediately after Obama’s last electoral victory, resulted in two candidates who fought hard with Trump emerging victorious and now seemingly no one is happy.

And it’s hard to say it doesn’t matter.

Want an abortion? Want corporations out of politics? Then Gorsuch in the Supreme Court will keep you awake at night.

Want to get rid of Obamacare? Want to get rid of the welfare state? Well, that turns out to be much harder to do, turns out talk is cheap, and that wall ain’t gonna be erected anytime soon.

So what we’ve got is a lot of people yelling. On TV and in person. Figuring if they just shout loud enough, they’ll win. Not realizing no one who disagrees with them is tuning in anyway.

And then we’ve got Ms. Maddow, who takes a different tack.

Yes, yes, she was excoriated over her tedious buildup to the tax return reveal, but the truth is the media builds you up and then destroys you and if you believe it all you’ve got enough whiplash to end up in physical therapy.

And it’s weird playing the home game. With a President who constantly contradicts himself. Not only in statement, but policy.

But the whole world is watching.

America used to be the leader, now we’re not quite a pawn in their game, but other countries are suddenly no longer taking us that seriously, their quality of life is better, as is upward mobility, we’ve taken ourselves down a wrong path just like MTV with its endless reality shows, to the point where the channel died.

And then comes the curious case of Paramount Pictures. Which just named a usual suspect to run its operation. Jim Gianopulos has a long history of running studios, is this the disrupter you want in charge in the twenty first century?

Of course not. But those with the money play it safe and those who understand computers rule the world.

And they tell us the left wing is caught up in gender politics, too busy being a safe big tent, but then we end up listening to an educated lesbian who did not train for the job who holds us like putty in her hand, all the while imploring us to think for ourselves.

Everybody’s running for something in America. President, king of the internet, come on, what do you think all of those followers and likes are all about. But Maddow doesn’t seem to be running for anything. Unlike her compatriot Brian Williams who should be banished for his bluster, just because you look good that does not mean you’re entitled to read the news.

But the point here is America wants to learn. We keep hearing how stupid we are, set in our own ways. But every day Rachel respects us and tells us about that which we do not know but should. So when we go to cocktail parties (does anybody really do that anymore actually?), we can talk educatedly. Is that even a word? It does not matter. The point is politics is bringing us together, it’s the only thing we all pay attention to and can weigh in on. Not music, not movies, not TV, we’re all listening to and watching something different. Isn’t it interesting how everybody is suddenly concerned with society and its well-being?

Which is why the artists are out of touch. Batting us over the head to pay attention, their wares no different from the latest offering from Ronco, which just filed to go public, need a Pocket Fisherman? If you want to make it today…

You’ve got to treat your opponent, your customer, as an equal.

Yes, it’s respect, but it’s more than that.

The customer is not always right, but you should try to engage them on a level playing field, without subterfuge, unlike Wells Fargo.

And if money is the only thing you care about it’s suddenly gonna backfire on you, like United.

Yes, we love some brands, but we hate most corporations.

And we hate so many of the talking heads on TV.

Bill O’Reilly goes for the jugular, he’s holier-than-thou. If you’re a believer, fine, if you’re not, eegads, and that’s even before the sexual harassment. Bill thinks he’s better than you, and then they point to his old writings and his present contradictions and all you can have is contempt for this blowhard.

Or the bimbos on Fox and the other channels, especially the morning shows, laughing up a storm as if we’re all buddies, having a fine time.


The downtrodden white males switched parties and voted for Trump and the educated elites have been freaking out ever since and who is gonna take both of us seriously?

Everybody wants to know more. And although cable TV and the internet anesthetize, they also educate. We live in an information society and we all want more.

And in a world where there is no tech help, no one you can rely on, ask for an interpretation, in walks Rachel Maddow.

She’s not like Lawrence O’Donnell, constantly playing GOTCHA!

She’s not strident.

She’s just laying it all out for us to make our own judgments, come to our own conclusions, her program is addictive, if you ran into her on the street you wouldn’t ask for an autograph or a selfie, but posit a question about the legislative agenda, hoping to engender a conversation.

And she’s not dour, she can laugh.

And if she came to your house you could get into it over a few drinks and still remain friends, even if you were a right winger.

But the longer you listen to her, the more she makes sense, she’s convincing people.

And now Rachel is beating Bill in the ratings.

Because it’s a long hard race and when there’s endless noise we’re looking for a safe haven where we can quietly engage.

This is a big deal, akin to Colbert beating Fallon.

Everything you know is wrong. People are not dumb, they’re smart. They want more, they want to engage. Ignore those trying to work the refs and pay attention to those trying to explain.

And listen to your neighbor, and when he or she gets on their high horse and tells you how it is…

Ignore them.

And then maybe after being ostracized they’ll calm down and engage.

That’s what’s gonna bring our nation together, heal us as a people, engagement.

And we’re getting none of this from D.C., and we’re getting none of this from the entertainers.

But we’re getting a ton of it from Rachel Maddow.


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