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January 18, 2011

Beyond Tucson: A Second Look at Punditry

In this post-shooting, pre-”Obama vs. Congress” lull in news spectacle, I’ve been studying this photo from GQ’s recent and otherwise forgettable “2010 Men of the Year” spread.

Certainly, you’re not going to see a portrait of Stephen Colbert (in role) that isn’t an exaggerated parody, and I find this one not just clever, but almost prescient given the current Tucson-inspired atmosphere of rhetoric-muted sobriety.

You might have a different, but the way I read it, Colbert — in slicing fashion — is telling us:

American punditry is a cut-throat business, but as long as you bleed red, white and blue (no matter if you tear the country in half along the way), you not only escape getting blood (libelous, or otherwise) on your thousand dollar Ermenegildo Zegna, you’ll come out like mega-bucks.

Well, if the Limbaughs and the Becks and the O’Reillys so ruled the media universe that Colbert’s tweak deserved to be buried seven slides behind Scarlett Johansson, Jeff Bridges and a couple of forced paid ads, this commentary now has a very different sense to me than it did before Mr. Loughner pulled up at the Safeway.

Now, I look at this and see all those filthy rich and self-satisfied bloviators wielding blades, going for the jugular and then having a good laugh over it.

(photo: Inez Van Lamsweerde/Vinoodh Matadin. caption: Stephen Colbert, Patriot of the Year: Wool suit, $1,095, and tie, $95, by Calvin Klein Collection. Shirt, $275, by Ralph Lauren Black Label. Cuff links, $150, by Paul Stuart. Pocket square, $150, by Ermenegildo Zegna Couture.)

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