Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vulgarity defined (or, Keith Olbermann serves up six liters of pus and another ‘goddamn’)

Tonight MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivered a 14-minute “Special Comment” that’s setting the left-wing blogosphere on fire.

You’re a hero, Keith! Stay strong, Keith! Everyone in Congress should hear your words, Keith!

I didn’t have that reaction while watching Olbermann speak at length about his near-dead father... as prelude to a mawkish appeal for health-care reform.

To me, it was jaw-droppingly vulgar. From start to finish an insult to the dignity of persons... and an assault on such old-fashioned values as family privacy, public propriety and on-air professionalism.

It was a bizarre bit of broadcasting that I cannot imagine coming from any other broadcaster in the history of broadcasting. It was morbid narcissism dressed up as moral indignation. And was politically incoherent to boot.

It’s embedded below... the whole shit. Watch for yourself if you think I’m tripping. I am too sleepy right now to unpack all my thoughts. But I’m sure I’ll stay wound up about this into the weekend.


Mon-sewer Paul Regret said...

I am a left-winger. I usually enjoy it when Olbermann goes off. But I agree with David here. Olbermann uses his father as a tool to make a political point. At the end, he says his father gave him permission to speak for him. He meant to speak to doctors about life decisions. I doubt his father meant "please talk about my most private moments to an enormous audience of strangers."

maria said...

i can't get thru this. i'm at minute 2.5 and i'm already thiking this is over-kill.

i'll take your word for it.

what is his point? that medical science saved his father in september and then kept him alive for another 7 months?

no doubt keith has the money to pay for this. was the care wrong, inhumane, or simply what happens when you keep people going who have the $$ for this?

when i get sick i am going to accept my diagnosis and then try to find a clinical trial. period. i don't care what the outcome is.

John B. said...

For sheer entertainment value, Glenn Beck has it all over Olbermann, much as I hate to say it.

maria said...

read some excerpts.

his father's situation is NOT a good example of the kind of health care/insurance that everyone should get! it's an example of a lot of what's wrong...the medical establishment works to prolong, unnecessarily, the life of those with money/insurance, while other people get NADA, no dental care or regular checkups.

so this is what he wants for the rest of america? where's the evidence that he understands the issues of health reform at all?

Shadow And Act said...

Yeah, Olbermann was once "must-see" TV every night for me during the 2008 presidential campaign season, with all the tussling between Obama, McCain, Palin et al.

But since then, he's become much less useful to me; more of a pompous showman than a journalist in the purest sense. Entertainment, as noted above. I stopped watching about 6 months ago, and tune into Maddow instead, from time to time.

Although the nightly news show circus, including those on MSNBC and FOX notably, are really no longer of use to me. "Circus" is the operative word.

Undercover Black Man said...

his father's situation is NOT a good example of the kind of health care/insurance that everyone should get! it's an example of a lot of what's wrong...

That's it, maria! His politcal message is hopelessly muddled.

Keith was so caught up in naked emotionalism and appeals to sympathy, he was unaware of exactly what you say... that his dad's six-month saga in intensive care, monstrously expensive as it must be, is no kind of argument for health-insurance reform... let alone publicly financed "universal coverage."

Is every American entitled to months of intensive care at the end of life, at taxpayer expense?

lawegohard said...

Seriously Olbermann sounds unhinged. This is a rant. Nothing more.

In some math classes they force you to show how you came up with your answer in order to get credit.

Six Liters of Pus ≠ Death Panels

The Pop View said...

I'd have to disagree. Yeah, Olbermann can go off the rails at times, but I don't think this is a good example of that. Some commenters are shocked at the violation of privacy. However, that's between Olbermann and his father; only they know what's permissable and we can't. As for a policy argument, Olbermann made two points: a) Those who argued against "death panels" were being intellectually dishonest, b) All citizens should have access to health coverage.

Was Olbermann "using" his father to make these points? Perhaps. On the other hand, I took his point to be that he has been immersed in these issues for months, on a first-hand basis, and therefore he has an emotional stake in seeing these same issues kicked around on the political field like a soccer ball.

9thWardChick said...

I will start with an honest opinion, healthcare and the beginning of the death process is VULGAR, not pretty and unfortunate. As a nurse, it sounds like his dad is potentially in this place.
I think Mr. Olbermann did start his comment from an emotional place which was honest but quickly ventured to being ego-infested.
I know that Medicare is good insurance, but his argument used is kinda weak at the least. He cannot connect things he connected. You can have really great insurance and still get crappy care (if your provider, nurses or doctors are negligent). As an strong advocate of health insurance reform, I cannot support the validity of his argument.

As a daughter who also watched her father die, who also had him tell her he was done, and watched him make the decision to stop eating which led to his death I can empathize with where he is emotionally, and I am thinking his comment was really more based on his emotions but his emotions led him to an argument that has no basis of support.

phx said...

I'm with The Pop View on this - particularly as I thought Olbermann's argument that those who are making charges about "death panels" are being intellectually dishonest.

The vulgarity doesn't bother me too much, at least not the descriptions of his dad's suffering. As a society we seem to have done everything possible to hide the truth about death from ourselves - it's good to have it in our face now and then in a real way. That's a lot more real than "House".

Thrasher said...

UBM had zero respect for the dignity of the people of Haiti as they laid under rumble you got a lotta of fucking nerve you hypocrite...

UBM is a cruel pig..

Olberman provided great TV tonight!!

Geneva Girl said...

I'm with Pop View. Good points. I expect a bit of mania from Keith; that's part of his entertainment value.

Sure his Special Comment could have been more tightly edited not used the G.D. I took it less as a comment about overall health care, but more about the death panel controversy. Had he stuck with that, his comment would have seemed more rational.

Keith is very lucky that his father had these discussions with him and his doctor. If nothing else, getting his audience to think about having those kinds of conversations with their parents makes his rant worthwhile. I just wish I could get my parents to have that conversation with me.

Michael W. Tucker II said...

I don't understand why it was "vulgar" to you for someone to discuss their personal experience with end of life care and relating to the health care reform debate. Some people would call that "opening up", or "bring the point home". If you take it as a cynical ploy to manipulate people, then I guess I can understand your disapproval. To me, he sounded sincere.