Meet Boris and Natasha, two dimensional cartoon characters with the usual one dimensional personalities that cartoon characters had. To be honest: content-wise, Boris and Natasha were closer to three dimensional than many cartoon characters back then. You knew exactly what Yogi was going to do, or Astro the dog, Tom and Jerry. Cartoon characters like Rick and Morty have far more personality these days so maybe now some toon characters are closer to three dimensional.
Our politicians: especially election time, hardly qualify to be as three dimensional as Rick and Morty or the Griffins in Family Guy. Could how we paint our pols, especially election time, make even Boris and Natasha seem more three dimensional?
Oh, faithful readers, you know me too well. Of course the answer is… “Yes.”
This is what framing has brought us. It takes class, an ability to think, wit without mindless caustic insult, to win an election with, “My honorable opponent:” something we are sadly lacking in most of our politicians today. That’s because the right, most moral, best for society, route to power is very difficult and takes a lot of character. Framing is easy. Finding people with no character is easy. Boxing in those who stand in your way with insults, half truths and outright lies is very convenient. And it encourages the worst kinds of people to run for office: dangerous people, talented sociopaths, liars who eat, breath, subsist on lies.
Those reading this who may drool over their favorite candidates using this to destroy the other side are part of the problem, and are easy targets for claims like so and so wants to take your guns. I’m sure you can list all the claims made, like every president for the past 20 years was framed as wanting to become president for life. The claim is so damn politically convenient when finally a president and his party find their way to do that they probably will convince us to “make it so” by claiming otherwise the other party will.
Here’s the catch, the ironic nature of it all, as our politics has moved more and more into framing, into paying less attention to substance, encouraging more disrespectful debate and discussion, the candidates we pick, we get, are more one dimensional. Those who play the framing game the best are those who shouldn’t even be allowed to be dog catchers: they’d rob pets out of yards and sell the brutally killed corpses to make glue under the table. And media loves it, feeds on it: crack for publishers and program directors who are the true editors of what goes to print, goes on the air.
You don’t go far if you displease them. Scratch that: your career will be cut very, very short.
This is why our talking heads seem in an eternal race to say the next more outrageous thing. Framing has turned our discourse into bigger and bigger firework-like grand finales: most of them trying to say whatever makes more noise than the last thing they said.
Big corporate and oligarch money have made this worse.
Our two party system has made this worse.
Our media has made gone way out their way making this worse.
It’s all a matter of jockeying for more exposure, more money, being the winner out of two candidates. Yes, others do run, but the amount of coverage they get, and the two major parties, makes sure 99.99999999999% of the time third party candidates’ only true effect is give an edge to the worst of the worse: those any sane person would least like to win.
Framing is SciFi-like: a dog living through Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day dog as he eats himself tail first. When he wakes there’s not even an amusing, “Good morning campers!” Framing insists he starts eating again. The biggest danger is that we tire of it all and we do get a dictator for life. If not now, sooner or later ‘clever’ framers will figure that out and convince us to abandon what little freedom we have left as we cheerfully sing…
”Tyranny here we come, do da, do da…”
As the years, and the campaigns, pass, I realize some cartoon characters are closer to three dimensional than most of the images painted by framing.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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