My new Think Again column is called “Fearmaking, Then and Now.” It was inspired by all the time I spend watching TCM and it’s here.
Kinky Friedman in Concert
I caught one of the twenty-five shows Kinky Friedman is doing in twenty-six days on his current “BiPolar” tour at the always raucous Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett last weekend. It was my first Kinky show ever, but I assume most of them are like this one. He plays the old hits (“Sold American,” “They Sure Don’t Make Jews Like Jesus…,” “Asshole from El Paso”), tells some of the worst and most tasteless jokes imaginable, and reads from his latest book. That last part, which turned out to be about his dad, was actually deeply moving. And the shtick, well, it’s a matter of taste. It works better with lots of alcohol—I think Kinky thinks so too, since he was hawking tequila from the stage. Having had a little too much Grey Goose myself, I can’t remember the name of his opener, who was pretty good, but I do remember the woman called Dr. Love, who is apparently an alternative medicinist of some type, but also a terrific singer who accompanies herself on ukulele. She really should have an actual musical career of her own. (The song she sang, which she wrote, was pretty good too.) And yes, while they sure don’t make Jews like Kinky anymore, that’s OK: one is plenty. And he was a friend of Molly’s, so that’s good too. His site is here. (I’ll be seeing my new doppelgänger, Southside Johnny, there this weekend and the great David Bromberg the next.)
Now here’s Reed:
Batten Down the Hatches—the Obamacare Media Storm Is Coming
by Reed Richardson
It’s no secret—the media love a good hurricane.
OK, maybe members of the press don’t really love the whole devastation-and-potential-loss-of-life parts of it. (Although, at times, one kind of has to wonder about this guy.) Still, there’s no denying that a hurricane’s slow-to-develop, varying-in-intensity and stubbornly hard-to-predict nature is practically tailor-made for today’s Twitter-fied and event-packaged news cycles. What’s more, the drama surrounding a major storm making landfall has an almost refreshingly real, newsworthy quality to it in a media landscape otherwise awash in mindless manufactured debates and breathless obsessions over the minutiae of the day.
Of course, just because hurricanes, heat waves and blizzards lack any ideological affiliation doesn’t mean that weather and climate coverage can’t or shouldn’t be viewed through a political prism. Reporting on how our government prioritizes funding for disaster preparedness and plans for climate change are perfectly legitimate, even if the counterproductive and absurd solutions proposed by a certain political party seldom are. Sometimes, however, the public gets nakedly partisan spin—for example, the specious schoolyard logic behind recent right-wing news memes such as “Snowmageddon” and “Snowpocalypse.” (Funny how that same reasoning didn’t occasion wall-to-wall Fox News chyrons decrying “Droughtastations” and “Heat Tsunamis” this past spring.)