You can't blame the media - it is without fault, perfect. If an interviewee dares to mumble some hint of criticism, the interviewer immediately showers scorn upon him - "What, the media is again to blame?" - and the embarrassed interviewee quickly retracts his complaint.
But yes, the media often is to blame, for example when it extols the mob. Quite a few journalists have been captivated by the dark charms of the Likud Central Committee. In their excited commentary, in their anthem to the masses, there is more than a touch of unwitting arrogance. As central committee members exchange insults in this "celebration of democracy," as they contort themselves screaming and blowing whistles, heaping loud ridicule on the prime minister, the haughty commentators are already preparing to praise the "folksy" nature of this ignoble institution and the "authenticity" of its members. They exalt the "dynamism" of the party and its "effervescent" vitality. It is not just another drowsy party that makes you yawn; no, it's a vibrant party that never sleeps.
Last week, similar signs of awakening were seen in the Labor Party. Blessed be He who also brought this party back to life. Now it is clear that plots were devised against Ehud Barak, no less than Ariel Sharon, and if Barak and Shahal and Peres and Ramon and Vilnai had not engaged in this public confrontation, they would have had to invent this lowly clash in order to awaken as lions and gird strength. The commentators do admit half-heartedly that this type of stormy uproar is "not so fitting" for the Labor Party. In their view, it is much more suitable for those who are portrayed on the TVshow "Eretz Nehederet" as monkeys.
How shall we define this "media trend" whose wrath has suddenly fallen upon us? Perhaps the "idealization of the mobisition," which fascist regimes encouraged and even glorified. We'll venture to assume that the majority of the Israeli public is disgusted by this because it expects elected democratic institutions, which make fateful decisions, to act seriously and with restraint.
Thus, the sycophancy of these commentators, who ostensibly are sitting among the common folk, is not only misplaced but also ridiculous. Uzi Cohen and company, despite everything, do not necessarily constitute a model of our human landscape. And if they do, then woe to us because we've been sold off.
If verbal skirmishes and fisticuffs are indeed so charming, why not also transfer these to other places: What is wrong, for example, with violence in the stadiums, which, for some reason, everyone wants to eliminate? This violence also shows dynamism and authenticity; it is also effervescent and invigorating. When blows are exchanged there at the soccer match, when they snarl like wild animals at every black player, there is no doubt that they are expressing authentic feelings and exhibiting popular urges. So why silence this "voice of the masses?"
And what is so bad about violence in the schools? Is it artificial, bogus? Heavens no; it is also perfectly spontaneous and authentic. So why wage a campaign against it? On the contrary, the youngsters should beat each other up - and their teachers too - and we, following the commentators' lead, will watch and applaud.
In effect, we are returning to the days of yore, when gladiators would clash to amuse an audience of spectators. Too many ministers and MKs are now servants and captives of the central committee. The rabble, more than being in the auditorium, is now seated, frightened, on the stage.
There may even be those who believe that the time has come to increase and magnify this folksiness because the standard displays of hooliganism have become boring. They say that mud wrestling, especially between women, attracts the attention of many, awakening and invigorating them. And this is before even mentioning the male competitions of "grab as much as you can."
Battles between dogs are also gradually winning a popular following. So, let's move on. The central committees should head toward the mud baths and wild dog arenas. Don't worry. There will be commentators ready to fill their crooked mouths there with songs of joy.
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