The Boredom Of The Sotomayor Hearings


My old friend (and fellow WashCP alum) Mike Schaffer isn't expecting fireworks:

In explaining why confirmation battles have lost their drama, more significant than this self-policing is the fact that this sort of inside-baseball analysis is now commonplace in everyday life, in and out of politics: We watch Hardball not for the substance of people's arguments, but for how they're posturing around the day's issues; we game out American Idol more or less the same way. There's no shortage of opportunity to watch groups of variously informed experts sit in judgment of ambitious nobodies grasping for their dreams. And as TV gives way to other media, those variously informed experts include ourselves: In the heyday of the television era, ordinary citizens had to rely on others--say, hearing-room antagonists like Thomas and Hill--to act out a divided society's symbolically charged confrontations. In the vast interactive universe of the internet, we do it ourselves, all day long. American discourse, in the end, has become one big, permanent, unruly confirmation hearing.

So even with an unexpected culture-war flare-up, don't expect much excitement about the hearings that started this week. If Ricci and his supporters want to transfix a new generation of hearing obsessives, they will have to not simply outshout Sotomayor's squad, but make themselves heard above the din of our Confirmation Nation. Maybe he can sing like Susan Boyle.

I actually don't expect much from Ricci. I just don't think there's much of an argument to stick on Sotomayor. She really is the perfect Obama pick--the sort of justice that forces rabid right-wingers into overplaying their hand.

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In