When I saw that Erick Erickson, the conservative blogger, founder of Redstate.com and a Macon resident, had been hired as a commentator by CNN, the lyrics of a famous Nat King Cole song came to mind:
“It’s a Barnum and Bailey world,
Just as phony as it can be….”
Increasingly, public life has become a carnival, a circus, a freak show. Admittedly, it has always had those elements — that’s part of what made it interesting. From the days when speakers gave stump speeches from actual stumps, they knew they had to be entertaining and provocative to hold an audience long enough to get their message across. Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine, among many others, knew how to express themselves in ways that brought attention to their cause and to themselves.
But it’s a long way from Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” to Erickson’s description of Supreme Court Justice David Souter as a child molester who engages in sex with goats (although he phrased it much less