My ad man dad used to say that every person's motto was, "There will never be another me."
After the election last year, I switched my morning TV masochism from MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to C-SPAN's "Washington Journal."
Why? Because "Morning Joe" is a bunch of utterly smug know-it-alls demonstrating their magnificent grasp of the obvious.
Whereas, "Washington Journal" is an egalitarian call-in show open to any American with access to a telephone. The comically neutral C-SPAN host introduces a topical subject and invites citizens to discuss it. It took me more than a year of willful self-delusion to realize that "Washington Journal" is also a bunch of utterly smug know-it-alls demonstrating a magnificent grasp of the obvious.
These unpaid pundits hail from towns you've never heard of—hell, sometimes states you've never heard of—and they aren't usually very good with their words, especially as nervous as they are to be on TV. And some of their ideas are Wack-a-Doodle-Doo.
But when it comes to supreme self-assurance that they possess a unique, incisive, world-shattering point of view, Joe Scarborough has nothing on Joe Six Pack.
There's no point in listing the sorts of opinions you hear on the Washington Journal, because you've heard most of them thousand times before. But the way they're expressed—it's like a child showing holding up her first lost tooth. And even the C3PO-like C-SPAN hosts seethe underneath when the callers refuse to answer the question posed, instead insisting on delivering their muddle-headed manifesto, cockeyed conspiracy theory, or political pet peeve delivered with an air of Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker—Dottie Parker or Oscar the Grouch, more like it.
No wonder Americans don't vote. We all think of ourselves as philosophers, not rank-and-file citizens. We sit around our dinner tables and tell our families how to think, sit around our greasy spoons and tell our neighbors how to think, sit it in bars and tell our drinking buddies how to think, sit on Facebook and tell our Facebook friends how to think. And we're so fucking wise that we don't have to personally get involved. We must only speak our precious truths and set a million others marching.
And then the C-SPAN host pushes a button to end the call. And introduces a new me, another one there will never be.