25 February 2010


I'm on my way to a you have to watch this, but I need to take the long way around.

I have spoken in praise of MSNBC's commentator Keith Olbermann before.

Now for a span there during the Bush administration, there were some lefties who looked at him like he was the second coming of Edward R. Murrow ... or like he was the crafty, witty, relentless liberal voice we now have in the form of the amazing Rachel Maddow. Having watched a bit of his show, I have to admit that this is the internet being kind to Olbermann—not in the sense that the people of Left Blogistan were too generous in their praise, but rather that the medium of the net played up his virtues. Folks circulated clips of Olbermann's best Special Comments, but it turns out watching the actual show, that most of the time it's very TV-ish in a bad way: gimmicky, full of cheap shots, and Mr Olbermann sometimes speaks in the voice of outrage at times that are forced and artificial. He plays up the outrage because he's good at it, and I mean that not as a backhanded compliment but a sincere one because expressing outrage well, like expressing anything well, requires talent, skill, and discipline. And so the internet made Olbermann look good because folks could circulate clips of him expressing brilliant outrage when it was called for, unhappily true all too often during the Bush administration.

Given a worthy target, Olbermann's outrage is awesome to behold: right, and necessary, and ... here is where his greatness lies ... delivered with subtlety and profundity to match its vigour.

I have a clip for y’all where Olbermann expresses outrage where it is warranted. That outrage is really only punctuation at an appropriate point in telling a larger story, and mighty as that outrage is, it is not even close to being the heart of his comments. You have to watch this.

It's almost fifteen minutes long, serious, searing, and not work safe—not because it will show anything offensive or embarrassing on your screen, but because it demands a kind of attention that you're not going to be able to muster at your desk at the office. Don't let that deter you. Make a date with yourself to watch it.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Good work, Mr Olbermann, and thank you.

(That I may keep it handy, here's a link to Crooks and Liars, where they have the clip, a partial transcript, and a link to Olbermann's dKos diary.)

1 comment:

Ray Ghanbari said...

KO is leaving a legacy that will be studied when the time comes for generations of PhD students to try and understand why our country lost its moral core for 20 years...

In the mean time, I wept with KO in his (and our) moment of need.