So, I started my Friday as I usually do, listening to the mellifluous tones of the ZMan Power Hour podcast while I exercise. And as luck would have it, today’s show was made up of several segments about things in the news. I like this kind of show because he puts his slant on these topics and it gives him a chance to be amusing at the expense of the clowns involved.
For instance, he commented on the recent Banking Sub-Committee meeting that featured Senator John Fetterman. After a few clips of Fetterman attempting to articulate complete sentences about the recent bank failures ZMan opined that the real takeaway was that the Democrats want Fetterman there because having a brain damaged hobo in the Senate further disrupts the norms of our society. After all, if the most powerful deliberative body in the world can include a man who can no longer master the use of the definite article, “the” in his sentences then why shouldn’t the country go for decades without negotiating a budget for the federal government.
And I get his point. But the reward for me is listening to someone who can interlard his speech with a description like “brain-damaged hobo.” There’s an eloquence, a style there. We have to enjoy our lives and having someone as witty as that provides the opportunity. And he has a number of these witticisms. Some he borrows from impeccable sources. He has taken Oscar Wilde’s phrase, “It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at …” and used it to very good effect on a number of occasions. He invented that excellent trope “Xirl Science” where he reads from the published papers of mostly female practitioners of usually social sciences like “gender studies.” The contents are sometimes hilarious in their use of pseudoscientific jargon and obvious lack of rigor or even coherence. But my all-time favorite ZMan-ism was when he called David French an obsequious rumpswab. It doesn’t get better than that.
I don’t always agree with all of the ZMan’s conclusions. But his analysis of what’s going on is usually very insightful. And his podcast is extremely well done. The audio quality is good. His thought process is clear and well enunciated and there is enough humor with the often-distressing message about our times to keep us from gagging on the medicine.
So, he did a segment on Tucker Carlson’s banishment from Fox News and their replacing him. And while discussing this he made the point that eliminating Tucker Carlson may have also been a business decision based on the reality of cable news economics. Not enough people are getting their news from cable channels to make it a lucrative business. The highest rated news channels get one or two million viewers. There are YouTube channels that get ten times that. If Fox News pays Tucker Carlson millions of dollars a year, then there isn’t that much left for their bottom line. And they would prefer to pay chump change to some kid to read off the teleprompter instead. And I think he’s right. They’ll be “retiring” all the high salary pundits and hiring kids who just want a job.
And that makes sense. If a place like Twitter will give a megaphone to independent contractors like Tucker Carlson it may not be long before cable news is a thing of the past. And that’s good. The news channels have been shown to be a racket with their sham objectivity and their willingness to lie for the powers that be. In a sense what I do is no different from what the pundits perform. The only difference is the economics. And honestly, that seems to be shifting too.
The ZMan provides a quality product. The value proposition he provides is very equitable. He provides entertainment and valuable information. That’s much more than you get from many cable news shows. So, it was a good lesson I took away.
Now to figure out a way to make it pay!