This analysis takes the cake.
He writes that “the idea of self-government became feasible after the
printing press.” With this machine, people suddenly had the ability
to use the printed word to debate ideas and proceed logically to democratic
conclusions. As Gore writes in his best graduate school manner, “The
eighteenth century witnessed more and more ordinary citizens able to use knowledge
as a source of power to mediate between wealth and privilege.”
This Age of Reason produced the American Revolution. But in the 20th century,
television threatened it all. In Gore’s view, TV immobilizes the reasoning
centers in the brain and stimulates the primitive, instinctive parts. TV creates
a “visceral vividness” that is not “modulated by logic,
reason and reflective thought.”
Oh, but then you get the real problem David Brooks has with Al Gore’s new book.
Fortunately, another technology is here to save us. “The Internet is
perhaps the greatest source of hope for re-establishing an open communications
environment in which the conversation of democracy can flourish,” he
writes. The Internet will restore reason, logic and the pursuit of truth.
The first response to this argument is: Has Al Gore ever actually looked
at the Internet? He spends much of this book praising cold, dispassionate
logic, but is that really what he finds on most political blogs or in his
Brooks and his bunch are scared of the Internet. The biggest reason is that
we’re cutting into their wingnut monopoly, established through radio Rush and
Ken doll Sean Hannity. It infuriates Republicans who are used to controlling things.
It’s also interesting that Brooks obviously doesn’t understand Gore’s main
thread of the book. Brooks raises the point that Gore doesn’t talk about family
as part of the structure. Maybe that’s because family can only do so much when
the onslaught of media directed at us all focuses on Rosie and Elizabeth, while
our senators run amok in Washington.
Since Brooks doesn’t get it, here are just a few topics not being discussed
in depth because everyone has to get ratings and talk trash, or they’ll lose
their jobs. They’re not sexy and don’t sell, but they’re going to have a big
impact on our lives.
But if you want to talk about something that really hurts, it’s that the media,
as Al Gore stipulates in “Assault on Reason,” is in love with myths,
as opposed to truths. You know, like Saddam had something to do with 9/11. This whole fictionalization of reality is continuing into the ’08 election cycle. Rudy Giuliani is exhibit A. His aura of 9/11 is like a
shield for any facts that prove his competency is anything other than what the
propaganda purports. Politico.com
is canonizing him. Chris Matthews never misses a moment to do the same with
Rudy on 9/11. Greg
Sargent has more, compliments of John Harwood, all about Rudy’s alleged
“combat” experience. Is he kidding? Combat experience?
So it’s no wonder Brooks has a problem with the blogs, er, I mean
the Internet. We hold the hack pack’s lazy relationship to reality to account. Brooks can’t
have that, now can he?