“Ladies and gentlemen……announcing the boxing match of the decade……the fight of the century……a bout to not be missed. Our two contenders for the heavyweight boxing title of the U-nited States are Joe ‘Basher’ Bandylegs and Dick ‘the Dynamo’ Dunderhead. Joe Bangylegs will fight in the St Louis Stadium, Missouri, at 9.00pm, and simultaneously Dick Dunderhead will seek to bring down his opponent at the Long Island Athletics Center in New York. This momentous boxing event will be judged by a plethora of half-baked media pundits who think they know a thing or two about the sport of kings, but who’ll be hampered by that most dreaded of diseases – raging verbal diarrhea……”
What the F***! What is all this rubbish?
Two boxers attempting to fight each other in different stadiums nearly a thousand miles apart? It’s hardly likely to attract a record crowd, now is it? No doubt a few hard-bitten fans of their particular hero would turn up on the night, but most sane individuals must realize you can’t have a proper boxing match when the opponents are in different parts of the country.
Yet this is exactly how the US media set out to portray Sunday’s political programming: one cute little pit-bull terrier, otherwise known as former US vice president Dick Cheney, snapping at the heels of his political opponents on one network, while the resident VP, Joe Biden, chomped away at his opposition on another.
It was always going to be a non-event. But then, American politics is invariably a non-event. On the only occasion both sides actually meet in verbal combat – the later stages of a presidential election – the resulting debate is so tightly scripted and controlled by the corporate media that sparring continues for twelve rounds with hardly a punch being thrown.
In other parts of the world, opposing politicians frequently meet on the TV screen, slugging it out to the finish in a match usually easy to score and occasionally resulting in a knock-out.
Why is this not the case in America?
Could the reality be simply that in this country politicians are, by and large, on the same side? After all, it’s easy to pretend to slag off one’s opponent when he’s not there to defend himself, and no-one’s the wiser when both parties meet up for a friendly drink in the Congressional bar afterward.
It’s all staged for the entertainment of the masses, and to reassure the great unwashed there are still political differences between parties, even though the real truth is, there are not.
Both sides serve the same masters. Only the modus operandi differs.
Still, it was something for Americans to watch, and argue about, after the gloom and depression that inevitably follows on from the Super Bowl.
And, after all, we can always look forward to next week’s exciting non-event.
Filed under: Political indifferences