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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Pundit Pat Quits Before He Starts

pundit: a person who makes comments or judgments in a solemnly authoritative manner.

Until locating that dictionary definition above , I was amused - and perhaps a little flattered - by my brother-in-law's suggestion that I should consider becoming a pundit. Then, thinking his idea could be the subject of a self-congratulatory post, out came my dictionary following a four drive back from his home. Ouch. My swelled head has now returned to its usual larger-than-normal dimensions.

Still, doesn't that definition capture the essence of the ubiquitous haircuts dominating our 24/7 news cycle? Is there a degree in punditry? Which schools offer it? What is the career path leading these folks to their solemnly authoritative comments and judgments? Does it start with being an advisor? A strategist? Or, must each future pundit first do penance as a mere consultant? For how long? Are the comments made by commentators not punditry if either solemnity or authority are missing? Which is more important in order to book future engagements? How many judgments uttered per appearance is enough to ensure you'll be asked to peddle your punditry while comments are being hurled at you from the opposing side?

Admittedly, some of these talking heads come across as very intelligent. But every time I waste time listening to them peddle their propaganda - from either side - I recall a scene from "Broadcast News". In that terrific 1987 film, William Hurt plays a vapid news anchor who doesn't know how many justices sit on the US Supreme Court. He doesn't have to know - Holly Hunter plays a producer who feeds him every morsel of important information via his headset. When my brother-in-law suggested I consider punditry I had no such headset. Small consolation but I need to hold onto something to preserve my dignity.    

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