Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Annual Disappearance of Keith Olberman

yessir, folks, it's that time of year again.  keith olberman has quit or been fired from his TV show--  in a flurry, no doubt,  of tantrums, shrieks, groans, mutual recriminations, and shattered crockery.  last spring, it was msnbc. this spring it's Current.  the easter bunny is on his way in, and keith o. is on his way out.

for viewers, this becomes tedious; probably for mr olberman as well.  but it seems inevitable. which would be okay if we knew for sure he'd be back on tv soon. 

i would imagine from all i've read, and even at times from his affect on the show, that he's a difficult person to work with. he clearly thinks he's hot shit.

this would be a problem, except for one thing: he is hot shit.  and please spare me that awful pat, 'moderate'  cliche, 'he's the left-wing equivalent of rush limbaugh.'  he's not--any more than a lion is the left-wing equivalent of a rat.

olberman thinks. he thinks a lot. he knows a lot. he knows enough that he has no reason to even consider inventing fact.  so when he says something, you may agree, disagree, or be uncertain.  but you know it was worth saying, and it is worth your thinking about.  when he castigates someone for doing something, there's a better than even chance that the person has done it. olberman has, it is true, an authoritative persona, which makes what he says easier to believe than the fox-type growlers and gesticulators.  but the bottom line is that the authority comes from knowledge.

i'm sorry if he's a pain in the butt to his bosses; he's a boon to those of us out there with our little flashlights seeking an honest news commentator.  he is no longer the single honest figure in that position, but this is in large part because he has brought to our attention a few more honest folk--notably though not exclusively rachel maddow.  msnbc now has its crew of courageous successors of edward r. murrow.  they dumped the captain, but the crew goes on well.  let's see if Current can do the same.  so far, slim pickings.

regardless, there aren't so many of them that we can afford to lose this one.  maybe he needs to join the ranks of the growing internet tv producers.  that might be a smaller audience, but so was current. 

mr. o., take a break; have a good rest, if you need to.  and then come back to us.  if you really have as strong convictions as you say, you know that all of us with such convictions have our work to do, whatever that is.  yours is to give us 'countdown,' under whatever name and in whatever venue.  you must know how privileged you are to earn your obviously impressive living doing what you love and what is helpful to  those who think as you do, and those who are daily, always, oppressed by the famous 1% and their sad camp followers. you know the space you can and do 'occupy';  please find the way to do it again.


Ken Goldstein said...

I'm wondering if, at this point, Mr O would consider my standing offer of sharing my YouTube channel. I think it would be a win-win for each of us.

karen lindsey said...

ah, but ken--then YOU'D end up quarreling with him--and then my poor old heart would break! [S]

Bob Lamm said...

Totally with you, Karen, except I'm really struggling with your assertion that a lion ISN'T the left-wing equivalent of a rat. That seems mammalist to me!

In solidarity with rodents!


karen lindsey said...

now, bob--you know i'm no mammalist. as proof, i've been trying to get my students to read 'shredni vashter,' saki's wonderful short story about a ferret. can you say you've done that for your students?? [somehow though, i didn't think it would look good to compare keith olberman to a ferret].......[not everyone is rodent-identified, you know....]

Bob Lamm said...

I have a spy at the Castle who has a video of you saying to your Emerson students the classic dishonest defense of all bigots: "Some of my best friends are ferrets."

Baysage said...

Shows you how far in the weeds I've been. I did not even know he'd departed his current "Countdown," which I confess to being only an occasional viewer of. You are kinder to him than he probably deserves, because I don't care what somebody's politics are, if he or she is an asshole, your days working with them would be long indeed.

Who knows where he'll end up now? All he has behind him are a string of burned out bridges. Tell you what I'll miss: his occasional forays into baseball. He really knows his stuff in that arena, and I admire him for that too.