Am I the only person who finds it unseemly, the way many political pundits are covering the papal conclave? Like it’s a horse race?
I’ll be the first to admit that the most interesting part of American politics, aside from scandals and idiots, is the horse race, it’s the only reason why anybody actually pays any attention to the stuff any more. Even the British press has gotten on this bandwagon about their upcoming election. However, while we have an 11-month slog (from the earliest primaries in late January to the Louisiana runoff in early December), the Brits only to have suffer this crap for four weeks at a stretch.
But when you apply the same sort of coverage to the selection of a new pope, I wonder whether it isn’t actually misplaced. I would refer again to my Terri Schiavo post and the discussion of the Frankennews Effect, and I believe that’s what we’re seeing here. The coverage of the pope’s funeral was an example of the good aspects of the information overload age. But now the funeral is over, and, casting about for a way to fill their time without actually doing any in-depth coverage, the news channels and talking heads are debating which Cardinal is ahead in the ‘race’ to see who becomes pope.
I’m not Catholic, but this still strikes me as inappropriate. And even worse, in my view, is the continual insinuation that since the Cardinals have a nicer facility to stay in this time around, they’ll probably take longer to decide. As if their living conditions were the primary factor in choosing a pope for the last two thousand years, as if they’re looking upon this as a vacation or something.