“Who is Miles Teller?”
—Ann Althouse, at the end of her blog post commenting on the premiere of “Saturday Night Live” and the New York Times’ review of it
The SNL premiere was guest-hosted by Miles Teller.
I’ve got some income-producing work to do for a client early this morning and I shouldn’t be working on an Ethics Alarms post, and I know I’ve been picking on Ann a lot lately, but I really can’t let this pass.
It’s really simple: if Althouse is going to engage in popular culture commentary as if her opinion should be taken seriously (as in “is worth reading on her blog”), then she has a base obligation to be at least minimally informed regarding American popular culture. She isn’t. She has never been, and I have read her blog for more than two decades, back when she was a law professor. There are arbitrary pockets of pop culture that she is obsessed with (like Bob Dylan songs), but it has always been obvious that Althouse is not very conversant in classic films or network TV; she’s even blogged about this hole in her experience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, except that if one is going to critique popular culture, especially a show that at least purports to satirize current personalities and themes within pop culture, it is irresponsible, incompetent and arrogant (dare I say, “stupid”?) do do so when you literally don’t know what you are talking about.
Sixty-something Ann Althouse asking “Who is Miles Teller?” is the exact mirror image of those lazy jokes on TV and in movies about clueless Millennials who ask, “Who is John Wayne?” or “Who were The Beatles”‘ after a Boomer makes a reference to them or their equivalents. Saturday Night Live has always featured as guest hosts actors and singers (and sometimes, less successfully, politicians) who are currently popular, in the news and hot commodities, so Ann had to know that if Miles Teller was hosting the first show of the season, he must qualify. If she wasn’t familiar with him, then obviously she should have Googled his name: it would take all of three seconds. Her question, at the end of a post suggesting that “Saturday Night Live” is tired, unfunny and irrelevant (not that it isn’t), conveys stunning elitism as well as the qualities I already attached to it.