Monday, October 6, 2008

On Folksy Politicians

(The following was partly cribbed from a message board post I made. I am plagarizing myself!)

CBC radio had a discussion, following the VP debates, about how many modern politicians seem to be gravitating towards folksyism. Winks to the camera, tales of shopping at Home Depot, that sort of thing. Not only are they gravitating towards that folksy attitude they're often disparaging intellect and education. I've noticed it in Canadian politicians as well, most prominently in Conservativce leader Stephen Harper who disparages the arts community and pretends to speak for the average Canuck.

During the discussion the example of FDR was brought up to show what should be happening. Roosevelt never pretended folksiness but instead thought enough of citizens to have his fireside chats and educate them about America and it's place in the world. He expected people to live up to his expectations.

A couple of days later I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly on the departing head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art who had bucked the trends of splashy exhibits by sticking with more demanding exhibits because he thought the public was capable of appreciating and enjoying oh, Byzantine idols or tapestries from the Middle ages. He had faith in the intelligence and curiousity of average people.

To have a politician today like either of those men.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, misery doesn't like company then? Interesting. I didn't realize that this stuff is a problem in Canada, too. I wonder why. You'd think that as the world becomes more dangerous and unstable people would become more serious minded. There must be some weird sociological explanation at play that I'm unaware of.