Friday, November 7, 2008

Bill Kristol: Lex Luthor minus the super villain powers

Bill Kristol, NY Times columnist, and erstwhile New Republic editor, has been getting a lot of flak for being wrong about... well, everything. He was catagorically wrong about every aspect of why it would be a good idea to invade Iraq, he was a champion of Sarah Palin as VP, before she was selected and (with regularity) after it was clear she was a punchline in a dress. He was boosterish of McCain's chances on the eve of his atomic electoral wedgie...

So he should be fired, right? Don't be silly, the news is an entertainment industry. There's a reason they're called news "stories." Sure 'reality-based' is a key part of their appeal, but that's (even more) true of OECD reports, and nobody reads those. No, the media require drama, and drama requires conflict, mistakes, and surprise. How boring would it be if Clark Kent wrote in his Daily Planet column that "superman will obviously defeat Lex Luthor given his combination of flying, super strength, super reflexes and X-ray vision," and Lex pens an opposing column saying "Yes, that's probably true actually." Our real world heroes are generally non super powered, so the punditocracy needs to supply exceptionally non-super villains to keep moving paper.

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