By now you have no doubt heard that MSNBC, apparently fretting that their ratings were not low enough, has fired Keith Olbermann. Brilliant move! They have replaced him with the milquetoast, CW spouting Laurence O’Donnell, meaning that reruns of NCIS are probably now the best option for weeknights at eight (except for Mondays, of course, when everyone should be watching House).
Of course, Olbermann’s ouster has brought out the self-righteous set, here represented by Laurie Fendrich over at the Chronicle blog:
Self-proclaimed left-leaning Democrat though I am, I could barely tolerate the angry, mean-talking lefter-more-liberal-than-thou Keith Olbermann, who, for reasons that remain unclear (my bets lie with those who think he was fired), abruptly quit MSNBC last night. With its Dracula organ music, its swift, nasty verbal assaults, and its dizzying graphics, Olbermann’s Countdown was always more performance than politics, more yelling than analysis, and more about Olbermann’s contorted face and impassioned, run-on sentences, which frequently left him out of breath, than about any sort of reasoned persuasion or argument.
…Watching Olbermann was never any different from watching Glenn Beck or listening to Rush Limbaugh. A pox on all their houses.
Beck and Limbaugh are lying most of the time their mouths are open. They frame their arguments in the most incendiary terms, specifically appealing to the worst in people. Olbermann’s great sin, by contrast, is that he’s kind of pompous. Truly it’s hard to discern the differences between them.
Of course, this sort of attitude is de rigeur among the academic left. Here is another example, this time from Jacques Berlinerblau, also at the Chronicle blog:
The Atheist movement, now overrun by New Atheist worldview, is aces at selling books and putting up provocative billboards. It is far less adept at identifying funding sources, building campaign networks, training activists, and fielding candidates.
Either American atheists start thinking realistically about their numbers, toning down their rhetoric, and making shrewd political decisions or they will continue to make the Jordan Sekulows of the world very happy.
The occasion for this banal bit of posturing is the release of a survey showing that — surprise! — not one of the 535 members of Congress self-identifies as an atheist. Certainly there is much to say about that, but I would focus instead on Berlinerblau’s remark about “the New Atheist worldview.”
The New Atheists are not stopping anyone from engaging in the activities on Berlinerblau’s little list. Public contempt for atheists was at a fever pitch long before the NA’s arrived on the scene. It used to be, though, that in addition to being largely mistrusted we were also invisible. The NA’s fixed that, and I fail to see how that could possibly be a bad thing.
Progressives are not better off for having lost Olbermann, and atheists were not better off before Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris. The level of obtuseness it takes to liken Olbermann’s organ music and bloated prose to Beck and Limbaugh’s malicious lies is incomprehensible to me. Likewise for the notion that atheists are at a political disadvantage now that they have a few prominent and eloquent spokesmen. (Being aces at selling books is no small accomplishment, especially when no one anticipated just how many books they would sell.) Reading this sort of nonsense makes me appreciate why academics are often thought to live in ivory towers, and why left-wingers are commonly perceived as being fond of smug self-righteousness.