Bluster and Blather | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Bluster and Blather 

Pin It

It’s all in the delivery, isn’t it? During his “speech” in front of Utah Valley State College students at the McKay Events Center, conservative commentator Sean Hannity rallied the troops and whooped the crowd into an orgy of conservative ecstasy verging on narcissistic political orgasm.

Hannity did impersonations. He mimicked Ted Kennedy. He invited a liberal on stage for ready dissembling and ridicule. He lambasted Sen. John Kerry and Michael Moore, of course. But in a tender moment, Hannity lauded Utah County residents for never letting go of their “innocence.” Several ladies in the crowd agreed that Hannity was a handsome hunk of manhood. Would he consider converting to the LDS Church? The crowd was dying to know. Yes siree, Hannity loves Utah County. Utah County loves Hannity. Was it good for you, too?

Put a bunch of conservatives in a room with this man and what do you get? A whole bunch of people falling in love all over again. And that’s what passes for political dialogue in today’s America. Some dare call it “balance.”

This is the paragraph where you expect a modest defense of film director Michael Moore. Not so fast. Moore plays the same line of extreme reasoning, albeit from a different angle. He’s smugger than Hannity, no doubt. But as a frumpy man wearing a baseball cap, Moore can’t rely on his animal sex appeal in the manner of Hannity. But like his opponent, Moore reduces politics to entertainment through films. What’s doubtful is that his fans would hurl death threats at UVSC student leaders for allowing Hannity onstage. We know, according to one Deseret Morning News report, that a few of Hannity’s ostensible supporters have done just that.

Quiet debate of questions, followed by answers in a space free of hostile interruption, is a lost art. Programs such as the Jim Lehrer News Hour, with all those people talking back and forth, are just too damned sleepy. No wonder Rush Limbaugh made a mint in the early ’90s. It’s so much easier to ridicule a person’s physical height, à la President Clinton’s Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich, than it is to tackle questions of policy. It’s so much easier to shout someone down, or accuse them of being a traitor to their own country.

Fans of both Hannity and Moore get a certain dramatic charge out of all this showmanship and one-upmanship, but there’s very little to prove that it enlightens anyone about anything. Research shows that most people carry on their parent’s political views into the next generation, anyway. The idea that open minds exist is somehow depressingly naïve.

Depressing, too, is that we hold fast to the notion that only American viewpoints can guide us in a post-9/11 world. Invoking God, family and the American way in the face of a world that, when it doesn’t understand us, hates us outright is easy, but dangerously shortsighted. While Hannity bellowed and blustered the UVSC crowd, a more informative speaker held the stage at BYU that same Monday night. Talking to more sedate listeners, Egyptian Consul General Abderahman Salaheldin outlined forces driving the Arab world and radical Islamist terrorism. Too bad Abderahman didn’t have Hannity’s sex appeal, a force far more effective in American politics.

Pin It

More by Ben Fulton

  • Prosecutions and Porn

    Don’t rage over Utah’s involvement in the U.S. attorneys’ scandal. Rage at the scandal itself.
    • Mar 29, 2007
  • Britney’s Baghdad

    Body count aside, we’ve got Britney to lead us through Iraq.
    • Mar 22, 2007
  • Fortress America

    It’s time to own up to our failure in Iraq and take refugees in.
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • More »

Latest in News

  • 'Trash Headline'

    Utah Gov. Spencer Cox is proud to be smart in a “stupid age,” but don’t call him “woke.”
    • Aug 18, 2022
  • Triggered

    How to get an abortion in Utah, without Roe v. Wade.
    • Aug 5, 2022
  • Back On Track

    New TRAX transit station opens south of Downtown after decades of planning.
    • Jul 26, 2022
  • More »

© 2022 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation