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Why is Bird Still the Word?

October 11, 2012

A day after the debates, my Facebook page was full of people on the Left decrying Mitt Romney’s hatred of Big Bird.  I made a couple reasonable responses, then gave up commenting because I thought it was, to be honest, kinda’ dumb.  Why are we talking about funding public broadcasting when — for example — the economy is still tilting on the edge, Libya is a firestorm of innuendo and misinformation, and we’re still facing a fiscal cliff at the end of the year if we can’t find a way to agree on something else?

But here we are a week later, and the Obama campaign is still running ads, even after being asked not to.  Oh, and we’re still seeing staunch defense of PBS in the opinion columns.  Really?  We have to defend PBS funding based on arguments like this?

First and foremost, one of the main priorities of government should be support for the arts and creative education, which is at the heart of PBS’s mission. Public broadcasting is a public good, with a central principle being the provision of coverage for interests for which there is a small or missing market.

I always thought that the role of the US government was along the lines of protecting our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness… but I didn’t realize that this required funding television programs.

And honestly, do we really think that anyone is really going to cut public broadcasting?  It’s one thing to talk about it in a debate, but it’s another to get it through a congressional budget process with a substantial part of the nation ringing the phone of every office-holder.  I’ll just take the fatalistic approach that a well-executing Romney administration with a willing congress could at least grow the government more slowly than that last couple administrations.  Actual cuts will likely be something for which right-leaning blogs like this one will continue to beg in the coming years.

So, is there really nothing more substantial to discuss than some dorky yellow thing that’s worth more than I’ll likely ever be?  Can we talk about ways to come together to reduce debt?  Perhaps could we find ways to reinvigorate the discussion on driving more success in American business on the local and global fronts?

There’s only one candidate in this race who’ll fight for Big Bird and Elmo.

I guess not.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2012 7:46 pm

    “So, is there really nothing more substantial to discuss than some dorky yellow thing that’s worth more than I’ll likely ever be?”

    If you are committed to today’s Democratic platform, no. No there isn’t.

    Well, maybe the War on Women is more substantial.

    • October 18, 2012 8:21 am

      Well, women in binders at least…

      This strikes me as an argument of style and not substance. You can’t really claim that the other side is wrong, so you focus on something silly in order to make them seem dumb. Then you hope that people don’t listen to the argument.

      “I can see Russia from my house,” would be another fine example of that.

      • October 18, 2012 3:57 pm

        The “I can see Russia from my house” would be an example of something else, I think. It was a line used by Tina Fey in an SNL attack on Sarah Palin; it was not something Palin actually said. Her real statement — that you can see Russia from Alaska, is certainly true. As she put it, when specifically asked about the proximity of Russia and its effect upon her thinking: “You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.” The “Africa is a country” bit has the same sort of origin.

        Russia’s proximity did affect her thinking. Alaska’s role in our missile defense system is much larger than that of any other state. Governor Palin has had experience at commanding one of our military defense systems. Obama has not actually seemed to have gotten the hang of this yet; it is evidently a distasteful task to the Obamas to associate with military folks based upon their own statements and years of observation. If that is true both ways, the military is generally too polite to mention it.

        Michelle Obama went further, of course, basing her thesis on the idea that associating with white people was harmful to blacks, and increased the risk of assimilating into the American culture — something she considered inherently bad.

        Since the two hit it off so well, it would be interesting to read Barack Obama’s own thesis. How much of his stated resentment of white people went into it? (He declined to visit his dying mother because she was white, and he was holed up with fiercely racist Jeremiah Wright at the time.) His thesis will be released someday, long after the harm is done.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  2. October 12, 2012 6:19 pm

    The admission contained in these complaints is that the show is not popular enough to survive based upon private and corporate charity. Since so very much IS maintained that way, it suggests that they are having trouble in the marketplace. But in fact, such charities and foundations are involved, and this business is (of course) overblown.

    Next, they’ll demand government-funded South Park. It is bad enough that the government has funded mass purchases of “Rules for Radicals” and Zinn’s communist-perspective US history book for schools.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    • October 12, 2012 6:59 pm

      Southpark makes fun of the wrong religions. The government would never sponsor it.

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