Saturday, October 30, 2010

Much Ado

The Stewart/Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity taking place today in Washington, DC is driving the pundits mad, madder than, well, a herd of March Hares escaped from Alice's Tea Party. The "center-left" editorial board of the Los Angeles Times remarked on that phenomenon in an editorial in this morning's edition, and, ironically, for the most part, the editorial got it right.

If cable comedian Jon Stewart gets more people to show up at his rally in Washington on Saturday than Fox News host Glenn Beck attracted to his event in August, does that make him a bigger deal? Will Stewart energize young, urban liberals the way Beck and other right-wing pundits have inspired elderly conservatives? And should anybody outside the relatively narrow fan base of these TV entertainers really care? ...

Crowds are coming to the Mall for a wide variety of reasons — some because they're tired of seeing Hitler mustaches drawn on posters of Obama, some because they want to express their opposition to Beck and his audience, and some, no doubt, because online mogul Arianna Huffington is providing free transportation — but we suspect most are coming simply because they want to be entertained. All in all, it's a broad group, and not the kind of coalition that makes for a sustainable political movement.

What an interesting conclusion. Of course, Messrs Stewart and Colbert made no pretense of building a sustainable political movement when they announced the rally. In fact, both went out of their way to disclaim any such intent. And, given the leaks with respect to the people appearing on stage with Stewart and Colbert, it appears that they were serious about that, if only about that.

I have several friends in DC for the party, and I sure wish I could have figured out a way to join them. I'll have to settle for second hand reports from them and from the media. I'm sure there will be plenty of that, especially from the media.

I have a few predictions on the event. First of all, and ultimately the most important from my point of view, my friends will have a wonderful time, as will most of those in attendance.

There will be between 60,000 and 70,000 attendees. The media will report "thousands" or "approximately 20,000" people in attendance.

The average age of the attendees will be 43.5 years. The media will report the average age as "20-something."

There will be signage, lots and lots of signage. Some of those signs will be rude, but most will be good humored. The rude signs will get all the air time.

There probably won't be any giant puppets, which will be a shame. The media will still run stock footage of the giant puppets.

The only people carrying guns will be the Capitol and Park Police.

Glenn Beck will cry.

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