December 02, 2007

MKH vs. Jack (of Spades)

Mary Katherine Ham on why we should preserve the YouTube debate format:

've never bought into the idea that YouTube debates were a revolutionary format-- different but not revolutionary--mostly because moderators still pick the questions, and technology's transformative only to an extent. I'm not a tech triumphalist.

I've also never bought into the idea that YouTube debates debase politics, partly because they're already plenty debased, and partly because political YouTubers are-- to a great extent-- regular Americans who want to be engaged and get a chance to ask their own questions of a candidate that they wouldn't necessarily otherwise get. That's not debasement, that's democracy.

Jack M. over at Ace's digs deplores what he calls her "hipness uber alles" attitude, and remarks:

Of course YouTube debates debase politics. Their entire premise is based on bringing politics to the level of a carnival freakshow. Talking snowmen don't belong on a stage addressing questions to men and women seeking elected office. It belittles the process. And yet, the talking snowman was picked. Why?

Exactly because he WASN'T one of "the regular Americans" you seem to believe they are. Are there regular Americans who read blogs and create videos for YouTube? Of course there are (present company excluded, of course). But YouTube places a different emphasis on the matter: it becomes not "I want my question to be heard" as much as it becomes "I want my question to be aired/seen."

And why is this an important distinction? Because it allows the "deciders" to set the framing of the issue.

But Jack—that's MKH's point. The problem with the CNN debate wasn't in the format. The problem was with the "deciders." Those who choose the questions have to do so impartially, and have to resist the temptation to choose style over substance. CNN failed, and that must remain our focus.

Jack M. again:

Look...I know you have a lot vested in this internet video thing. And you do a great job. You know I hold you in nothing but the highest regard, both personally and professionally.

But it's disappointing to see Conservatives worshipping at the altar of "cool", as you appear to be doing here. To treasure style and appearance over substance.

For, if college teaches us anything, it is that the Conservatives who do this are the Conservatives who end up on the path that leads to Libertarianism.

Well. Heaven forfend. Personally, I take supplements that are supposed to keep me from turning into a libertarian. I hear that skepticism about the government is the result of a vitamin B deficiency . . .

Posted by Attila Girl at December 2, 2007 11:50 PM | TrackBack

Come, join the dark side. And bring MKH with you.

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at December 3, 2007 06:10 AM

Can't be. I've been taking a food-state chelated multivitamin with plenty of B vitamin for years, and all I've done is to continue to slide inexorably in the libertarian direction.

Anyway it's completely ludicrous to ascribe to libertarianism the tendency to "treasure style and appearance over substance". If anything it is libertarians who treasure the substance of freedom, democracy, limited government, etc. over any stylistic considerations (witness: Ron Paul) and modern day conservatives who are eagerly pursuing the dingaling of the latest slick, trendy "conservative" candidates to appear on the scene, mouthing all the right platitudes while furiously scuffling their feet to cover their statist and liberal tracks.

Posted by: Desert Cat at December 3, 2007 11:30 PM

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

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