Charlie Rose: One More Reason to Turn Off the Television

For more than a month, the American public has heard many stories of sexual harassment among Hollywood, media and political elite. New accusations against different perpetrators seem to emerge every other day. We have reached the point where we are no longer surprised.

It would take years for us to place all these events into proper context. What they say about our culture and our recent history is momentous. Instead of trying to digest this whole story at once, I would like to focus on one of these perpetrators in order to understand our “elite” and who they really are.

Last week, the award-winning Charlie Rose was the subject of sordid allegations by eight different women. He did not specifically deny the allegations. He was fired by CBS and PBS. Most likely, his career is over. But for several decades, Rose has been a chief source of information for the American public. A protégé of Bill Moyers, Rose has provided softball interviews for establishment media and political figures since the 1970s. He has conducted extensive interviews with world leaders, authors, establishment journalists, artists, and entertainers. Rose has walked with kings while pontificating from on high to the rest of us. He is well-educated, cultured, and, until last week, highly acclaimed and awarded.  Rose is the recipient of doctorates, both real and honorary. He was, until now, a sought-after commencement speaker at our institutions of higher learning. He is as smooth and glib as any journalist/politician.

He is the opposite of the “deplorables” that the establishment castigates. Rose and his erstwhile allies exude every indicium of sophistication that they claim the deplorables lack. Charlie Rose, Hollywood, and the entire Eastern media have brought King Louis’ Palace of Versailles into the 21st century -- with predictable results. The elite have created a culture of faux sophistication where courtiers imitate them and seek favor from them, while disdaining the mere peasants of flyover country.

I am sure that Rose has dined at the finest restaurants around the world. He can probably name the chef (and even his favorite waiter) in many of those places. I am sure he always knows what wine is appropriate to order with what meal. His choices of food, entertainment, and company reflect not mere personal taste, but the desire to name-drop and impress. It worked. For many years, Rose impressed his way into a position of power.

Would Rose or his allies ever have been caught dead at a Denny’s chomping down on an ordinary hamburger? Needless to say, Rose and many others have now been caught in far worse circumstances than merely eating non-pretentious food in a non-pretentious restaurant. Rose’ honorary degrees and political connections could not rescue him. He now stands figuratively naked (in addition to his literal activities) in front of the “deplorable” audience that he once “informed” and influenced.

Of all the lessons that these episodes hold for ordinary Americans, one lesson is worth noting. The pretentiousness, refinement, education, sophistication, wealth, and connections of the elite in no way mean that they will refrain from boorish, disgusting, and revolting behavior. They are as petty, unrefined, and vile as the rest of us (I suspect much more so). We can now officially stop being impressed by their former status.

Why does this matter? Because for more decades than Charlie Rose was on the air, we have relied on the elite for our information and our very understanding of the events of the day and the policies that shape our lives. Their very sophistication and professionalism gave credence to their views, their biases and their alliances.

Only with the availability of the internet and cable have we begun to break free of our long attachment to the elite. The deplorables’ ability to ignore them in 2016 created a backlash among the elite that is, itself, a story. The 2016 election may, itself, become the model for behavior among a portion of the electorate in the future. At the very least, a large portion of the voters are prepared to ignore the establishment media instead of engaging it by means of their former fealty or their recent pushback. The influence of the old media continues to wane. But the scandals of late 2017 should make this trend more pronounced.

We already know that the mainstream media (and their elitist allies) are out of touch. Until now, we have only complained about “media bias.” We have waited in vain for some degree of fairness with each successive broadcast. We continue to pay for movies and watch television in the foolish expectation that we will receive entertainment instead of propaganda. But these scandals should relieve us of these expectations. The image of Charlie Rose abusing his staff should forever make the rest of us forget all his honorary degrees and friendships with world leaders. We should once and for all understand how little value there is to being a member of the elite and why we should not care what they say or believe.

Instead of tuning in and arguing with them, it is time to tune out find some other leisure activity. Pretentiousness, sophistication, world-travel, and the trappings of power are expensive. This expense is borne by the rest of us every time we turn on the television -- whether we agree with what we see or not. It is time to starve the beast. We do not need literally to storm the Bastille. We need only turn off our televisions. What better reason to tune them out than the revelation that so many of them are sexual predators behind the scenes who put their clothes back on only to appear on camera. Only when we learn to ignore them will they lose influence over our country and the policies that oppress the rest of us. 

For more than a month, the American public has heard many stories of sexual harassment among Hollywood, media and political elite. New accusations against different perpetrators seem to emerge every other day. We have reached the point where we are no longer surprised.

It would take years for us to place all these events into proper context. What they say about our culture and our recent history is momentous. Instead of trying to digest this whole story at once, I would like to focus on one of these perpetrators in order to understand our “elite” and who they really are.

Last week, the award-winning Charlie Rose was the subject of sordid allegations by eight different women. He did not specifically deny the allegations. He was fired by CBS and PBS. Most likely, his career is over. But for several decades, Rose has been a chief source of information for the American public. A protégé of Bill Moyers, Rose has provided softball interviews for establishment media and political figures since the 1970s. He has conducted extensive interviews with world leaders, authors, establishment journalists, artists, and entertainers. Rose has walked with kings while pontificating from on high to the rest of us. He is well-educated, cultured, and, until last week, highly acclaimed and awarded.  Rose is the recipient of doctorates, both real and honorary. He was, until now, a sought-after commencement speaker at our institutions of higher learning. He is as smooth and glib as any journalist/politician.

He is the opposite of the “deplorables” that the establishment castigates. Rose and his erstwhile allies exude every indicium of sophistication that they claim the deplorables lack. Charlie Rose, Hollywood, and the entire Eastern media have brought King Louis’ Palace of Versailles into the 21st century -- with predictable results. The elite have created a culture of faux sophistication where courtiers imitate them and seek favor from them, while disdaining the mere peasants of flyover country.

I am sure that Rose has dined at the finest restaurants around the world. He can probably name the chef (and even his favorite waiter) in many of those places. I am sure he always knows what wine is appropriate to order with what meal. His choices of food, entertainment, and company reflect not mere personal taste, but the desire to name-drop and impress. It worked. For many years, Rose impressed his way into a position of power.

Would Rose or his allies ever have been caught dead at a Denny’s chomping down on an ordinary hamburger? Needless to say, Rose and many others have now been caught in far worse circumstances than merely eating non-pretentious food in a non-pretentious restaurant. Rose’ honorary degrees and political connections could not rescue him. He now stands figuratively naked (in addition to his literal activities) in front of the “deplorable” audience that he once “informed” and influenced.

Of all the lessons that these episodes hold for ordinary Americans, one lesson is worth noting. The pretentiousness, refinement, education, sophistication, wealth, and connections of the elite in no way mean that they will refrain from boorish, disgusting, and revolting behavior. They are as petty, unrefined, and vile as the rest of us (I suspect much more so). We can now officially stop being impressed by their former status.

Why does this matter? Because for more decades than Charlie Rose was on the air, we have relied on the elite for our information and our very understanding of the events of the day and the policies that shape our lives. Their very sophistication and professionalism gave credence to their views, their biases and their alliances.

Only with the availability of the internet and cable have we begun to break free of our long attachment to the elite. The deplorables’ ability to ignore them in 2016 created a backlash among the elite that is, itself, a story. The 2016 election may, itself, become the model for behavior among a portion of the electorate in the future. At the very least, a large portion of the voters are prepared to ignore the establishment media instead of engaging it by means of their former fealty or their recent pushback. The influence of the old media continues to wane. But the scandals of late 2017 should make this trend more pronounced.

We already know that the mainstream media (and their elitist allies) are out of touch. Until now, we have only complained about “media bias.” We have waited in vain for some degree of fairness with each successive broadcast. We continue to pay for movies and watch television in the foolish expectation that we will receive entertainment instead of propaganda. But these scandals should relieve us of these expectations. The image of Charlie Rose abusing his staff should forever make the rest of us forget all his honorary degrees and friendships with world leaders. We should once and for all understand how little value there is to being a member of the elite and why we should not care what they say or believe.

Instead of tuning in and arguing with them, it is time to tune out find some other leisure activity. Pretentiousness, sophistication, world-travel, and the trappings of power are expensive. This expense is borne by the rest of us every time we turn on the television -- whether we agree with what we see or not. It is time to starve the beast. We do not need literally to storm the Bastille. We need only turn off our televisions. What better reason to tune them out than the revelation that so many of them are sexual predators behind the scenes who put their clothes back on only to appear on camera. Only when we learn to ignore them will they lose influence over our country and the policies that oppress the rest of us. 

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