I Market-Tested the Following Opinion Before Committing to It

Just watched the Chris Matthews interview on The Daily Show plugging a new book he’s written about how to live your whole life as though you were running a political campaign. (I’m not kidding; that’s what the book is about. I forget the exact title but it’s something like Live Your Life Like a Campaign.)

I’ve never seen Hardball (I don’t want television except for downloading The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from the iTunes Store) so this is the first time I’ve ever seen Mr. Matthews, and I gotta say the guy comes across as a bit of a crybaby.

Granted, Mr. Stewart didn’t start out gushing with praise for the book; he said that it seemed to him like a recipe for sadness, to make all your decisions in life based on pretending to be what people want you to be. Mr. Matthews made the briefest of attempts at a defense of the premise of his book — it didn’t amount to much more than “Is not!” — and then started complaining about how this was the worst book interview he’d ever had. Mr. Stewart made some specific criticisms and Mr. Matthews responded to them only vaguely. It seemed as though he had not put much thought or much conviction into the book he’d written. Really, he came off like a shallow, superficial person who had written a book on a shallow, superficial premise and who was caught off guard when he met up with someone who didn’t want to praise him for it.

That’s so like the so-called “conservative” movement today. Mr. or Ms. Pundit offers a few simple, glib rules for running your life, and then when someone says, Wait, but it doesn’t actually work that way, the response isn’t to admit that sometimes life is complicated and to try to figure out something to do about it; no, the response is to get angry at someone for having a complicated reality that messes up the neat little idealistic theory.

Favorite moment: Mr. Matthews at one point tells Mr. Stewart that the ideas in his book are what you have to do if you want to be successful; Mr. Stewart responds, “But — I am successful.”

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