What has now been entitled “The Patreaus Affair” lives more on its mass-media feeding-frenzy than on its fragmentary facts. Nothing new about the public’s smarmy appetite for the scatological among the famous. What is new is the voluminous and volatile ways in which this appetite is now fed. But before we take any smug satisfaction in not being part of it, lets admit the “me” in this media feeding-frenzy.
This very tool I’m using here — the social media — is the 21st C’s gift [curse?] to those of us who enjoy celebrating “our right to know.” You know, the 1st Amendment, freedom of speech, and all those other celebratory justifications every newspaper, celebrity magazine and cabal news loves to hide behind.
Sorry, folks, you and I are a slightly smarmy part of the whole smarmy thing!
We tell ourselves this is how a free people remain free. By staying informed. As if the when, where and how the General and his women crossed paths and fates are central to our democracy. Can anyone look me straight in the eye and argue this is the kind of information essential to the welfare of the state…? Can anyone except John McCain look me straight in the eye and claim the Benghazi raid is really part of a dark liaison between the General and his President….? Can any anyone honestly and publicly say we-the-people need to know every whim or wart, every act of conspiracy and copulation is essential for us to have while bellying up to the bar with the boys at the 19th….?
Come on folks, isn’t it time to appreciate what the Founding Fathers meant by free speech? They didn’t mean carefree speech. They didn’t mean wasted speech. They didn’t equate all information [aka, today’s social media] with knowledge nor all knowledge with wisdom.
When harvesting the fields of democracy, it’s a good citizen who can admit there’s the wheat and then the chaff. One is indispensable; the other disposable. A good citizen is not the one who knows everything. She’s the one who knows what’s important to know.
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