One year later: Boredom gave us Trump

[Commentary] Can the media fight the prospect of cultural death through entertainment? It won’t be easy. Surely we need more reporting on the infrastructure bill, on the prospects for job retraining, on cyber-security and the chances that upcoming elections will actually render something like the will of the people. We could hear more about prisons, more about poverty, more about the environment. But as long as readers are clicking Dopey Donald stories, this will not be easy. Journalists will have to be willing, in effect, to fight their readers for control of the media. Will they be willing to do so? So yes—no reading, no thought, no conversation worth the time: those conditions can undermine a republic as much, maybe more, than economic distress or crime or racism or sexism or what have you. So yes—no one thought, no one read, and the republic began to totter. And then (perhaps) it commenced to fall. Meanwhile, the show goes on

[Mark Edmundson is University Professor at the University of Virginia. ]


One year later: Boredom gave us Trump