Dear Laura Ingraham: Shut Up and Read Your Own Book

Laura Ingraham misses the Jetsons. I don't care.

In her 2003 conservative book/rant, “Shut Up and Sing!” radio talk show host Laura Ingraham condemned know-nothing entertainers (among others) who use their popularity to push political views on their audiences and others. I certainly agree with her primary point, which is the expertise and notoriety in the entertainment field does not confer any special perceptiveness in matters of government and social policy, and many, if not most, of the opinions being vocally expressed by these singers, actors and comics are ignorant at best and infantile at worst.

Thus it is puzzling that Ingraham has increasingly been using her radio show, which is supposed to be about politics and current events, to hold forth on the relative value of children’s movies and TV fare in 2011 compared to the films and television programming of the past. To say that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about is being kind. She also is displaying such wretched aesthetic taste and factually mistaken analysis that her comments amount to pundit malpractice. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “The Provocative T-Shirt Problem:

"Oh yeah? Well, your good manners and dignity offend ME!"

Sometimes I receive terrific comments to posts via e-mail, and sometimes I decide to make them Comments of the Day. And sometimes I decide to do that and forget, like I did with this comment, from Neil Penny, in response to my July 26 post about Dollywood forcing a patron to cover the mild political message on her T-shirt that “might offend some.” Neil’s comment was about the anecdote included in my post, relating how the dress code at my college was brought down by a concerted effort to comply with its letter rather than its spirit, and how the subsequent loss of decorum in the dining hall was regarded my many students, including me, as a diminishment of the experience.  Here is that lost “Comment of the Day”—my apologies to Neil for the delay: Continue reading

Conservatives, Rotting Children’s Brains On Principle

Why can't today's TV pass on good taste like this to our children?

Perhaps I am over-reacting, but I was recently horrified. Sometimes conservatives allow their ideology to lead them into places that make it impossible to take them seriously, or  to view them as rational and responsible. This is especially true when it comes to the arts.

Yesterday, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham was bemoaning the coarsening of the culture, and the way she feels that television is poisoning the minds of children. She spoke nostalgically about how entertainment in the golden past was family-friendly, and reliably conveyed the values of humor and wit that enriched children’s minds, their taste, and their understanding of “good entertainment.” Those days are no more, Ingraham said. Television is vast slime-pool, and concerned parents can only look to past gems of the comic arts to teach their children “humor and wit.”

So what show did Laura Ingraham, accomplished writer, former Supreme Court law clerk, and author of political satire extol as epitomizing these lost values? What classic TV show’s complete set of DVDs did she reveal that she had given to a colleague so he could save the minds and souls of his children?

“Gilligan’s Island.”

“GILLIGAN’S ISLAND!” Continue reading