Friday, September 28, 2018

Kavanaugh-Blasey Ford face-off is not a sports events

I didn't watch the all-day televised US Senate committee hearing in which Christine Blazer Ford described in tearful and graphic detail how Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her some 30 years ago, although I know people who did. I figured I would get quite enough details in the next day's news. And besides, I feel like there is something a bit voyeuristic and creepy about watching a live performance of two people acting out life-changing events of this nature, kind of like a real-life reality show (a genre I avoid like the plague).
I think Globe and Mail TV critic John Doyle hit the nail on the head, as he so often does, when he compares the TV coverage, and particularly Fox News' coverage, to a sports event. As commentators and "experts" weighed in on how it was expected to go, and who was expected to "win", it had all the hallmarks of a major TV sports event. I'm surprised there wasn't a sweepstakes on the outcome.
In fact, this was a highly personal and emotional public admission of a deeply scarring event that one woman had been keeping under wraps for decades, and which she would much rather forget all about. And it was a less-than-edifying snapshot of a very angry man fighting for his political life. It was not a court case as such (although many people argue it probably should be), and there are no real winners, probably just two losers.
I see no reason why it should have been televised live for the titillation of the general public, and the gratification of political junkies.
I sincerely hope that Dr. Blasey Ford's sacrifice - her "civic duty" as she calls it - was worthwhile, and I hope that the political theatre was sufficient to persuade a couple of Republican Senators that Kavanaugh is a nasty piece of work and has no place in steering the moral compass of a country. But edifying television this was most definitely not.

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