Up until now I have been quite reluctant to wade into the whole Brian Williams teapot tempest. Given the comparative weight of that issue to, say, our inability to prioritize what is important, let alone the fact that too many people in the world suffer intolerable deprivations, as well as unrelenting war, this issue hardly even rises to the point of being small potatoes.
My friend and companion Kathleen, though, being the compassionate person she is, not to mention all around under dog supporter, challenged me on the point of why I couldn't at least say something of the issue. It seems quite unfair to her and for understandable reasons. So, given the soft spot that I have for her in my heart am obliged to sally forth.
To start let us understand that one can only approach this from the frame of reference of contrast; something Jon Stewart has already done to excellent effect; wondering as he did the other day why such unbelievable scrutiny wasn't applied to the lies spewed forth in the path we were led down to be in the Iraq war in the first place. From there we can begin to have some counter weight to deluge of hypocrisy that has sprung forth about Mr. Williams.
The first important thing to understand is that, as far as I have been able to read, we still don't know the full degree of self serving culpability that Mr. Williams should be taking responsibility for. If it was simply a mistake of memory, or whether it was a deliberate attempt to puff his background up more than is deserved. Both of these types of behavior are human, but the latter is certainly one that should be discouraged more purposefully, even as we attempt to understand it. In a better world credibility, integrity, and honesty ought to be important to those who would serve the laudable goal of an informed public. That being said, however, doesn't change the fact that the info-sphere we all swim in now has its own set of desirable traits.
What is galling to an observer such as myself is not only the hypocrisy of those who spew forth from various higher planes of dispersal in this info environment, but our own hypocrisy as well; for we are all, unfortunately, participants in this process. And for the sake of argument I would like to call that process “Celebrity as Usual” (as opposed to “Business as Usual” which is related but a bit different).
You are no doubt familiar with this process whether you've ever considered labeling as I have or not. It is the situation where we build personalities up to the point of near deification only to then take great relish in the process of tearing them down; enjoying their humiliation as a means to use humbling as an ultimate escape tonic from the everyday, little inner humiliations we suffer as a part of struggling to stay afloat. And I have to say that it can become quite disgusting how that tonic is pandered to by not only the usual FOX network clowns, but a host of others as well.
Once the blood of some faux pas hits the water the feeding frenzy would make actual sharks blanch. And this from people where it is a wonder the words they utter don't turn to ash even before they finish uttering them. The fact of the matter is, however, that the only reason that these idiots can continue with this absurdity is that we empower them. We watch FOX like propaganda whether we love to hate it, or hate to love it. Even worse, we vote for people who's lies, or self serving spin, embellishment and misleading euphemisms take us anywhere but to the truth. The whole process is meant to put cotton candy in and between our eyes and ears; leaving our minds with nothing but the rush to judgment that makes a bum out of reason, or thoughtful compassion.
Is Brian Williams the bad guy here? More than, say, the simpering network that has hung him out to dry? More than the ecosystem itself that could hardly care less about credibility, integrity, or honesty? The contrast reminds me of dichotomy expressed in Paul Goodman's book “Growing Up Absurd.” In that work he outlined the contradiction of a society worrying about better integrating our youth into being responsible, working members, when we haven't even begun to consider, or question, just how useful such a working environment was in making use of, let alone nurture, fully self actualized, and mature individuals. An environment evolved to the point now where we have the “Absurdity of Growing up,” for it is exactly children that the consumptive system desires now. Easily manipulated, impassioned, frightened, and distracted children. Immature bundles of want who self justify overly authoritarian leadership. A leadership that, using both the whip and the carrot in good measure, can get them to do pretty much anything. Which only then begs the question of whether or not it is children who have become the authoritarians, or if anybody at all is truly wielding any kind of consistent authority in the first place.
Brian Williams? You are truly worrying about Brian Williams? If that is the case than the hand basket is aflame and we are about to come very abruptly upon some hellishly rude awakenings.