So Stephen A. Smith has reinvented himself as a malapropping political bloviator on MSNBC. This is truly an amazing fact of American cultural life, and I'm not sure it's sunk in yet.
The people who run MSNBC evidently think its audience is so glue-sniffingly dumb that they can throw Stephen A. on air — someone whose sole asset is that he can be emphatic on cue — and pass him off as a knowledgeable voice on anything but the loud barking in his head. I guess that's not really a surprise. What is a surprise is that Stephen A. is suddenly pitching himself as the all-capped and bold-faced pundit voice of ... calm. Watch:
To summarize, for those who can't watch flagrant punditry at work: Conservatives should "disassociate and distance themselves" from the words of aggrieved white male Glenn Beck. "But let's be fair," he takes care to add. "I don't think the conservatives have a corner market [sic?] on extremism. I think we can see extremism to the left sometimes, too." And don't go around assuming that Beck speaks "for those people with the tea partiers," lest you "taint everybody with that broad brush."
Look at that. There's the usual frantic noise-making to no end whatsoever, but, in essence, Screamin' A. is saying whoa, whoa, whoa to America. A cynic would point out that this is simply the fallback position of someone who pretty plainly has not a clue what he's talking about. Still, this is a remarkable cultural moment: Stephen A. is on a major cable network, loudly taking the middle road and telling the country to chill out. I'm shocked, quite frankly.