Kierkegaard on Campaign 2008
posted by Frank Pasquale
From The Present Age (1846):
The public has a dog for its amusement. That dog is the Media. If there is someone . . . who distinguishes himself, the public sets the dog on him and all the amusement begins. This biting dog tears up his coat-tails, and takes all sort of vulgar liberties . . . –until the public bores of it all and calls the dog off. That is how the public levels.
How do we understand the furor over the John Edwards haircut? The Hillary Clinton laugh (and now picture)? The Huckabee take-down in the NYT Mag this week? The wild rumors about John McCain in South Carolina in 2000? Kierkegaard may have had a better handle on it 160 years ago than most pundits do today.