What can I say about Moustacheford Douchington III that either Spudsy or I haven’t already said? The guy is a total intellectual trainwreck, whose pop-psych observations about pop culture are so resoundingly fatuous and/or blatantly wrong that I’m consistently amazed he’s actually being serious and isn’t some flesh-and-blood Frankenstein’s monster pieced together from Onion columnists wrought to life by a mad scientist in a meth lab.
His most recent endeavor, Why TV Addiction Links to Liberalism, is so terrible, so fact-mangled, so deranged, so rife with stinking horseshit, that it’s almost beautiful in its grotesquery.
Relying on a study by the ridiculous Culture and Media Institute, whose sole purpose is to provide idiotic findings to Townhall columnists, Medved says:
Does heavy TV viewing push people toward more liberal opinions? Or is it the impact of pre-existing leftist attitudes that lead viewers to invest more of their lives on television?
Analysts may argue about causation, but there’s no real doubt about correlation: an important new study from the Culture and Media Institute shows that those who describe themselves as “heavy” TV viewers embrace distinctly liberal attitudes on a range of crucial issues, placing them well to the left of those who report “light” TV viewing.
Absolutely right. There is indeed no real doubt about correlation. Except here’s the problem about writing an entire article based on correlation after dismissing the relevance of causation: WHO GIVES A SHIT?! It’s totally meaningless! There’s absolutely no point whatsoever, aside from trying to give breath to the idea that heavy TV viewing and liberal opinions are inextricably linked. But correlation doesn’t de facto remotely imply a direct link. Evidently Medved never took Sociology 101 or only listened until he heard “There is a correlation between ice cream sales and murder” and spent the rest of the class—and his life—wondering Does ice cream cause murder or do murderers celebrate with ice cream? If he’d paid attention to this classic of correlation, this greatest hits of sociological gotchas, he’d have found out that the missing link is heat. As the temperature rises, so do ice cream sales and murders.
Nonetheless, I look forward to his next column, “Why Heavenly Hash Links to Homicide.”
Special props to Medved for completely flubbing (and profoundly misunderstanding) the opening line of Anna Karenina, which is Mr. Shakes’ favorite book and favorite opening line of all time, and also for this gem:
People who see themselves as alone in the world, with no network of spouses or fellow congregants, frequently turn to government as a source of support and comfort—just as they’d turn to television as a source of phony companionship. It makes sense that loneliness and helplessness and disconnection would breed both liberalism and heavy TV viewing; just as a vibrant family life, and communal participation, would produce less television and more conservative self-reliance.
How much wrongity-wrongness can he fit into two sentences? Yeeeeeeeessss, the archetypical “crazy loner” is both liberal and pro-government. Uh-huh. Like, say, Ted Kaczynski the Unabomber (anti-leftist anarchist) or Timothy McVeigh the Oklahoma City bomber (anti-government separatist and registered Republican)? Or, for example, any number of deeply misogynist, decidedly illiberal, and famously isolated and unsocial serial killers? Or the kids who take guns to school and shoot up their classmates? All of them were yelling “¡Che está con nosotros!” right? Yeah, it makes “perfect sense” disconnection would breed liberalism.
Helplessness is a whole matter unto itself; people can be helpless in numbers. (See: Katrina.) In fact, there are lot of helpless communities in America, either regionally or by virtue of identity or circumstance. But that inconvenient fact undermines the grand conservative meme of individual success and bootstraps and blah blah blah, so better to lump it in like just another character flaw to be despised by the brilliant vibrancy that is American Conservatism.
I really wish Michael Medved would change his name. I’m ashamed to share my initials with him.