August 26, 2008

Bob and Medved

As the Democratic Party convention kicks off today, I'm in the vicinity. Not Denver, but in Colorado at any rate. I half thought of trying to find my way to the big party, but then shrank from the enormous logistics it would involve, some of which are made more difficult temporarily by my lack of credit cards.

Still, the convention has been in the news all day, and the weather gods put their stamp of approval, or something, on the convention with three tornadoes. Didn't see those, but for an hour as I drove through northwestern Colorado, there was a curious formation on the horizon in front of me. Something out of the ground, a clearly huge plume of smoke billowing into the sky. What it looked like from that distance was a volcano erupting, like the pix I remember of the Mt St Helens eruption from years ago. But a volcano? In these parts? When I got closer it was still a huge formation of something in the air -- like an enormous explosion had happened. Even the heavy rain clouds were tinged with orange. I could find no way to get closer.

Despite scouring the weather channels, I still don't know what this was. Something unusual happened in this county, but there's no news about it that I can find.

But back to the news about the convention. While watching the billowing, I was listening to yet another talk show host, this one by name Michael Medved. Medved's signature seems to be his inability to mention the USA without also calling it, in one long exhalation, "the greatest nation on god's green earth."

His supposed "theme" for today's show was how all (yes, he emphasized "all") liberals and Democrats were reverently "worshipping" Barack Obama. As proof, he mentioned some recently-released celebrity video in which, he claimed, the celebrities were fawning over Obama so much that it was essentially religious.

Medved's first caller, a Bob from Chicago, got straight to business. "I really hate the way you characterize people on the left," he said. "For example, how can you say EVERYBODY on the left worships Obama?"

Medved: "But sure they do!"

Bob (tones of disgust): "No they don't!"

Medved: "I mean, take a look at this video! What's that all about, Bob?"

But Medved cut Bob off before Bob could answer. I'm guessing, or hoping, that Bob was about to say, "Well, but take a look at me! I don't worship him!"

Like Bob, I'm perturbed by this kind of easy characterization. Yet what else did he, should we, expect from a talk show host?

Yet here's what I sometimes spend lonely driving hours thinking about: in the various discussions we all have, whether in the US or India or elsewhere, is there really no space left for nuance?

And if anyone knows what that faintly alarming phenomenon was that reminded me of a volcano, I'm all ears.

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