|Posted by Robert G. PIelke on November 5, 2013 at 10:05 AM|
“Mourning Joe Fatigue”
Are you getting mightily irritated with “Morning Joe” and yet you still watch the program? I am and I do, and I’m betting there are lots of you out there like me.
My increasing irritation has nothing to do with my political and/or social beliefs, which span the whole gamut of Morning Joe ideologues: I favor the smallest government possible, only necessary wars, a fiscally sound economy, a women’s right to choose, marriage equality for all, mandatory government supported health coverage for everyone, First Amendment rights, Second Amendment rights with rigid national registration, and the full and complete legalization of marijuana. So my views are scattered hither and thither among the assorted “Joes of the Morning.” Further, I appreciate the varying opinionated (not a bad word) guests and the banter generated among all of them about these and other issues.
Further, I’m not a “furtive Fox Fiend” lurking frantically in the foliage waiting to feed on the journalistic entrails my more famous foe. In my long-ago past I considered myself a Republican. (I garnered support from my elementary school classmates for our mock election of Eisenhower vs. Stevenson. The poor schmuck that made similar overtures to our assemblage on behalf of Adlai managed only a meager ten to fifteen percent of the vote. But that Republican Party has ceased to exist.)
And I have always appreciated the attempt made by the show’s production staff to match the topics and issues with thought-provokingly and cleverly relevant musical selections. (The Ramones’s “I Wanna Be Sedated” comes to mind as apt for more than one of them.)
What I don’t like, and what irritates the hell out of me, is the “family” scenario that provides the context for the show. Why? Because it’s an infuriatingly dysfunctional family which calls attention to itself at the expense of the issues. The issues of the day are complex and provocative and we, as a people, need to deal with them. MJ makes only a scanty attempt to assist us.
There’s the pompous “father” who demands attention from all the others while he proclaims over and over again news items which were repeated tiresomely the day before and the days before that. (Yes, the “Obama-care” website is a disaster. I get it. I got it. I’ll get it again. But where is, for example, the follow up news about the specific alternatives being considered?) When others make an attempt to move on to another topic, the “father” raises his voice as if to slap his rowdy relatives back in their place.
The petulant “mother” reacts to the “father” with little more than repeated muggings for the camera. Her contributions to the discussions (when there are discussions) essentially boil down to “I agree” or “I disagree.” (One need only contrast her notions with those of her father whose thought provoking ideas make his appearances worth the effort of watching.)
Then there are the other “family members”: genial Uncle Mike, the rascally yet obedient sons (Harold and Willie), the suspiciously smiling son (Sam), the avuncular in-laws (Jonathan and Eugene), and the somewhat beguiled neighbors who squeeze in their various pairs of pennies as contributory observations (Donny, Mark , John, Steve and Jeffery). Oh sure there are the visitors who arrive to make additional comments which varying degrees of feigned seriousness (Peggy, Richard, Tina, Katty and “the ever Screeching Chris”). Then there are the lost souls who knock at the door and find themselves even more bemused than they were in their directionless wanderings which led them to the show in the first place (Michael, Andrea, and Chuck).
The family’s raison d’etre seems to be no more and no less than to provide an audience for the pomposity and petulance of their foster parents. In actual fact each one needs the other. The family without the parents would most closely resemble the lost boys in Lord of the Flies – with no one to control the conch. (I wouldn’t carry this any further, trying to decide who would be Ralph and Piggy, to say nothing of Jack. The general analogy is sufficient.) Analogizing the parents without the family brings to mind a whole host of candidates, but what occurs to me initially are older, more classic couples especially Fibber McGee and Molly, the Bickersons far less so. (If neither of these extremely popular radio shows is stored somewhere in your memory coils, a short visit to that infamous “web” will rectify this omission.)
Yet I watch, religiously, every morning. And so do you, my fellow sufferers from “Morning Joe-itis.” But do we watch it for the same essential reasons why people watch Survivor, American Idol and Kitchen Nightmares? Do we relish disfuctionality in human affairs? Maybe we watch because they occasionally make us laugh, and that’s important. It’s kind of nice in the world we live in that we can find a group of miscreants who, on occasion, bring out a chortle.