2008 Belated Blogging, Part II
posted by April 11 at 17:30 PMon
There’s a bunch of crap on my desk, including the arts section from the April 2 issue of New York Times. On the cover of the section is the headline “Like the Candidates, TV’s Political Pundits Show Signs of Diversity,” and under that headline an arrangement of photos of Donna Brazile (on CNN), Michelle Bernard (on MSNBC), Alex Castellanos (on CNN), Rachel Maddow (on MSNBC), Amy Holmes (on CNN), and a panel of four male CNN political commentators (Paul Begala, Jamal Simmons, Roland S. Martin, and Bill Bennett).
This has been sitting on my desk for a week and a half because I keep meaning to blog about the article, but I can’t figure out what I think of it. It’s weird. It’s full of paragraphs like these:
Their counterparts at MSNBC include Michelle Bernard, a lawyer by training, who is black and conservative; Rachel Maddow, who is white and has a show on the liberal Air America Radio; Eugene H. Robinson, a black columnist for The Washington Post; and Joe Watkins, a Republican strategist who is also black. Last week Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman from Tennessee, made his MSNBC debut as a political analyst. Mr. Ford, a black Democrat, had been an analyst at Fox News.
Juan Williams, who is black and a National Public Radio correspondent, is a longtime regular on “Fox News Sunday,” which also uses minority female analysts like Angela McGlowan, a Republican strategist who is black; Michelle Malkin, a conservative Filipino-American journalist; and Linda Chavez, who is Hispanic and held positions in the Reagan administration. A recent addition is Laura Ingraham, a syndicated radio host who is white.
“It sounds like one of those Onion stories that goes, ‘Man Who Saves Family in Fire Is Gay,’” said Jen Graves when I read those paragraphs to her just now. Graves, who is white, was paraphrasing this. (First sentence: “Near-tragedy turned to joy Monday, as area residents Phillip and Karen Widman and their two children were saved from their burning house on Locust Street by Kevin Lassally, a homosexual man.”) That Onion parody is exactly to the point: all this obsessive labeling, while not bad or wrong or anything quite so strong as that, is just weird.
Then comes the weirdest word in the NYT piece:
A more saladlike pundit mix has been front and center in the last couple of weeks…
“Saladlike”? Really? The melting pot became stew became a salad? One can’t but help remember the introduction to Seattle Weekly’s Best of Seattle 2006, wherein “the editors” wrote:
In this 21st edition of Best of Seattle, we’re flavoring our annual review with the freshest of ingredients: immigrant Seattleites.
Immigrants as “ingredients.” Awesome. Mmm! These black and brown chunks are so peppery!