Saturday, February 18, 2006

Err America

I have a secret vice, which is that I occasionally listen to Air America Radio. The experience is sometimes cathartic and often (and often unintentionally) comical, especially in times of great stress. I listened quite a lot during the run-up to the 2004 election, and once or twice a week since then.

Listening intermittently over the past week has helped me to crystallize some of my thoughts about what, exactly, is wrong with Air America. Ever since Vice President Cheney pulled the trigger last weekend, they - and I mean everyone on every show, from Jerry Springer to Janeane Garofalo to Randi Rhodes - have been in ecstasy. They've been howling about secrecy, riffing on the metaphorical connection between hunting accidents and foreign policy, spinning out salacious gossip about alleged affairs and binges of drinking and hunting, and indulging in that most popular of rhetorical tropes: the conspiracy theory.

Most of this is bullshit, in the precise, technical sense of the term (following Harry Frankfurt): utterances made with no regard for truth and at best a tenuous connection with reality.