Wow, somehow I managed to stage a "snear and smear Mo Rocca" day. (See yesterday's post and the comments attached to it.)
I beg to differ.
First, I am not arguing that Rocca is a paragon of hipness. May I remind you that I called him the new Andy Rooney?
Second, I think it's clear that Rocca doesn't see himself as a paragon of hipness either. And that's why he has done VH1 and Animal Planet.
The guy isn't proud. He may be a Harvard grad, but he's not above doing shows that appeal broadly.
Indeed, let's take these shows as proof of his sincerity. Unlike some observers of contemporary culture, he doesn't wish merely to observe it from a sneering distance of the Jon Stewart Show. He takes part. This is what we call participant-observation in anthropology.
Rocca like Rooney is pointed towards the mainstream. We must judge him by mainstream standards and by those standards he is a big improvement on Mr. Rooney.
Listen, if we wish to snear and smear, let's contemplate today's news from Warner Brothers. WB has renewed TMZ for an additional 2 seasons. TMZ is as contemptible as contemporary culture can get. It is stupid, salacious, and diminishing. More precisely, it is soul destroying nonsense and an attack on all that's fine and decent in the human spirit. Finally, a show for morons by morons.
By this standard, Mo Rocca is Matthew Arnold. Actually, this is a controlled comparison that would be quite fun to do. Mo Rocca as Matthew Arnold. On my mark, you may pick up your pencil…
Berman, Marc. 2008. Warner Bros. Renews TMZ. AdWeed. November 26, 2008.
Louis Theroux is the new platonic ideal of Mo Rocca.
If you don’t know his Weird Weekend series, you must definitely check it out; it’s the most anthropological participatory non-sneering distance investigative infotainment ev-ah! Maybe LK has a story about baking croissants with him or something?
Matthew Arnold – the guy who wrote a wonderfully insightful essay about Marcus Aurelius? He’s the same as Mo Rocca? You’re killing me Grant…
Steve, beauty, thanks. Grant
Ryan, pencils down! Grant