Sunday, December 20, 2009

Frank Rich Nails It (Again)

Decrying the stupidity of Time Mag’s naming “shnook” Ben Bernanke “Person of the Year”, this morning the New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Rich says: “If there’s been a consistent narrative to this year and every other in this decade, it’s that most of us, Bernanke included, have been so easily bamboozled...that’s why the obvious person of the year is Tiger Woods. His sham beatific image, questioned by almost no one until it collapsed, is nothing if not the farcical reductio ad absurdum of the decade’s flimflams, from the cancerous (the subprime mortgage) to the inane (balloon boy).” Rich goes on to say, “As of Friday, the Tiger saga had appeared on 20 consecutive New York Post covers. For The Post, his calamity has become as big a story as 9/11. And the paper may well have it right. We’ve rarely questioned our assumption that 9/11, ‘the day that changed everything,’ was the decade’s defining event. But in retrospect it may not have been. A con like Tiger’s may be more typical of our time than a one-off domestic terrorist attack, however devastating.” Rich says we keep on being led down the garden path by leaders in all areas of all our lives. Like, former Senator John Edwards (D-NC), steroid user MLB outfielder Barry Bonds, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), actor and former Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN), Karl Rove, former NY Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer, ponzi-scammer Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay and Enron. I would have to add George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, the Pope, Roman Catholic priests who molest children, and the biggest conman in the Senate, as well as biggest jerk-asshole in Connecticut, Joe Lieberman. We’ve all been too eager to go along for the ride, Rich says. “After a decade in which two true national catastrophes, a wasteful war and a near-ruinous financial collapse, were both in part byproducts of the ease with which our leaders bamboozled us, we can’t so easily move on”, Rich says. And then he lays it on us...and I find it hard to agree with him on this point. But who can say he’s downright wrong that maybe “Obama’s presidential campaign was as hollow as Tiger’s public image”. “After a decade of being spun silly,” Rich says, “Americans can’t be blamed for being cynical about any leader trying to sell anything. As we say goodbye to the year of Tiger Woods, it is the country, sad to say, that is left mired in a sand trap with no obvious way out.”

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