Monday, September 17, 2012

All These Things I Miss In Popular Culture--And I Don't Miss That I Miss Them

Shall Not Be Questioned was discussing the problem of low information (and worse, low interest) voters: people who know almost nothing about what is going on, and barely care.  These are the sorts that "You ought to get out and vote!" advertising is aimed at by the Democrats.  He pointed to this disturbing piece by Zombie at PJMedia:
Honey Boo Boos is a term I just made up for the last remaining undecided voters in America. As you may have read at the time, the infantile and atrocious reality TV show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo either surpassed or tied the viewership totals of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. That means millions of people are so tuned out of politics and so uninterested in current affairs that they’d rather watch a family of obese rednecks abusing their young daughter than learn even the most basic facts about the next president of the United States. These Honey Boo Boo viewers are what pollsters like to call “low information voters,” but that descriptor is not complete: Honey Boo Boos are also low interest voters whose political ideology is either easily malleable or absent altogether.
I was not aware of this show, but what I can find describing it makes me glad that I was not aware of it.  It sounds the sort of show that regular watching of it (except, perhaps, as part of your cultural anthropology dissertation) should disqualify from voting, and perhaps driving, too.  The fact is that many Americans should  not vote.  They don't care enough, or know enough about what is going on, to have a meaningful input into important decisions.  You think I exaggerate. As I commented over at Shall Not Be Questioned

Americans show an astonishing low level of interest in voting. If only Americans cared as much as Germans did in 1933! Of registered voters, 88.8% actually voted in that election–a record not improved on for many years. And look how well that turned out.


  1. I didn't watch either of the conventions, because I knew what was going to happen in those highly-scripted events, and because I knew that if anyone said anything worth knowing about, I could read about it in the paper (or on-line) the next day. There was absolutely no need to watch the convention coverage to learn "the most basic facts about the next president of the United States." If I had watched Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, it would not be because I was a low interest voter, but because I imagined that it might have the potential of being more amusing (if I had a sick sense of amusement) than watching the coronations by the major parties.

    (On election night in 2004, my wife and I knew we would find the election returns depressing (regardless of who won), so we went out and saw "Team America: World Police" and came back home with smiles on our faces. If it had been showing on the night of the convention, we might well have watched it.)

    But, yeah, there are a lot of people voting who have no business doing so. In Virginia, we used to discourage low-interest and no-interest voters by requiring them to pay a buck-fifty six months before election day. We can't do that any more, so we need to think of some other tactic.

  2. A wise fellow once wrote "As long as football games are on, and beer gets delivered to the grocery stores, much of America doesn't care."