Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hasselbeck versus O'Donnell; Buckley versus Vidal

Jonah Goldberg of NRO finds ABC News's claim that Rosie O'Donnell's and Elizabeth Hasselbeck's debate on Barbara Walters' "The View" "harkens back to a Vietnam-era exchange between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William Buckley."

Larwyn has provided the following link to the New Editor which has clips of both the Vidal/Buckley debate (which I recall took place in the summer of 1967 when I was a camper at Camp Woodcliff in Sawkill, NY) and the O'Donnell/Hasselback debate.

There are two similarities. Both debates are based on mistaken assessments and characterizations about, respectively, the Vietnam and Iraqi Wars. For example, Vidal claims that North and South Vietnam were one country, a mistaken claim that Mark Moyar debunks in Triumph Forsaken. Second, you had some people like Buckley and Hasselbeck both favoring the respective wars and Vidal and O'Donnell both opposing them.

However, there are two big differences. First, neither Buckley nor Vidal are as good looking as Hasselbeck but both are better looking than O'Donnell. Second, Buckley and Vidal are extremely articulate and are the products of education and refinement. In contrast, Hasselbeck and O'Donnell lack these characteristics.

Part of the problem with today's public discourse is that the educational system has failed to prepare Americans to express themselves coherently. The mass media, especially television, have contributed to this inability. College courses no longer require good writing. Opinions count more than learning. Self-esteem and self-indulgence take priority over self-discipline and education.

The difference between the Hasselbeck/O'Donnell and Buckley/Vidal debates is that in the 1960s the public required its television commentators to be well educated. Today, the public commentators are circus clowns.


Raquel Okyay said...

That's very funny Mitch, and quite right. Hasselbeck as pretty as she is -- is a pure softie. The "View" would never permit a strong conservative on its programme and risk making their own left leaning viewpoints look moronic. Of course FOX news has some exceptions -- Brit Hume is excellent.

Mitchell Langbert said...

Thanks, Raquel!

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