This was exceedingly stupid:
One depressing aspect of the economic crisis is that public outrage has been channeled into symbolic displays of populist outrage against CEOs rather than into intelligent public action to prevent the recurrence of disasters. The response to the Deepwater Horizon spill fits the pattern. The outrage du jour is that BP CEO Tony Hayward has taken a break from overseeing efforts to contain an oil spill to take in a yacht race.
I fail to understand the controversy. Does anybody assert that Hayward needs to be working seven days a week, every week? I doubt his role is actually so indispensable. So then is the outrage that, in his free time, he is indulging in the sort of activity available only to very wealthy men? I also fail to see how the crisis should force Hayward to pretend not to be rich.
Nobody really wants to make the case that Hayward can never relax, or that he can’t spend his own money as he sees fit when he does relax. So instead the “controversy” is that it creates an appearance of a controversy. It’s a fully postmodern scandal.
I actually disagreed with DougJ last week about the “flap” in which the BP exec said he was worried about the small guy, and everyone piled on him for his “Dickensian gaffe.” For goodness sakes- every Democratic primary around the nation is littered with folks claiming they are looking out for the little guy, and when a foreign BP exec says that he and Obama are looking out for the “small guy,” everyone freaks the fuck out. Spare me.
Sadly, though, so much of our politics has devolved into this kind of nonsense. We don’t actually care what policies are enacted, we care how they are enacted. Did Obama stick it to the Republicans? Was he angry enough with BP? Is he showing enough emotion? Can he “connect” with the white voter and “joe-sixpack?” Is he throwing the base “a bone?” Did he say “climate change” and use the right code words? Was he “friendly” enough to Israel?
I wish it would all stop, but the idiocy of the conservative right is matched by the progressive left in this regard.