“A pundit (or talking head) is someone who offers to mass media his or her opinion or commentary on a particular subject area (most typically political analysis, the social sciences or sport) on which they are usually knowledgeable (or can at least appear to be knowledgeable). The term has been increasingly applied to popular media personalities. In certain cases, it may be used in a derogatory manner as well, as the political equivalent of ideologue”. Wikipedia 2013
When young, I thought the term referred to a comedian. The word starts with “pun” meaning the humorous use of words or phrases. George Carlin was a personal hero of mine. He made you think. He did it in a humorous way and later, with greater maturity, his words and phraseology became more incisive, more cutting in their statements concerning the less than obvious needing to stand naked in the full strength of truth’s light.
Carlin (in his outrageous way) was a mankind’s guard dog in general and Americans specifically. He released the hot air from peoples’ stuffy, self-important worlds. He forced them see the absurd realities while making them laugh convulsively. His commentary was all over the place politically. He was more Libertarian than Tea Party but not so liberal as to be hung with the Red Light signaling the prostitution of American ideals in the Democrat Party.
Punditry is an accolade of sorts. It indicates a presence of greater knowledge. The word comes to us from the Hindu “pandit”: a Brahmin learned in Sanskrit and especially in the Hindu religion, philosophy or law”. (Politics is just as arcane a subject as Sanskrit so I can appreciate the allusion.) We see where it can be perverted when people thinking of themselves more highly than they deserve, earn a living trying to navigate the nation’s course toward one political ideology or another.
If they do this by recognizing truth leading to the discovery and disclosure of reality needing observation and care in interpretation; it can be good. When it’s done simply because they’re backed by an ideologically based powerhouse such as a liberal, left (or conservative right) -wing publication or media outlet; they’re merely carrying the polluted water of a partisan politics. E.J. Dionne, Clarence Page, Eugene Robinson, Al Franken and James Carville come to mind on the left wing of this penguin (a flightless bird in the associated class with Emu, Ostriches and Kiwis) and by Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, Liz Chaney, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh on the right-wing.
Much commentary’s offered based on extended education and experience garnered while working for one political organization or another. They’ve developed some credibility in their own ranks. They hold the attention and allegiance of colleagues sharing the same views. They become iconic figures of liberal or conservative thought and are accepted as authorities. The word authority carries a lot of stroke. Authority attracts money earned for making the Kool-aid® a faction will drink gladly so as to be a part of the “action” of political discourse. But, where their educations and experience should help them soar, their political stridency and ideological fact filtration grounds them. They scurry, gathering the fruits and nuts lying about giving them nutrition so they may bloviate another day. Sometimes they mistakenly swallow stones
A new ostrich is trying to pull his head out of his hiney-hole and become a commentator on subjects he knows little about. One of them would be the proper usage of tact in addressing issues. Kevin Cope, LSU Senate President, thinks he’s a pundit while insulting State Senators responsible for LSU’s budgets and funding. Cope should hush himself, dry behind his ears, and learn to swim before jumping into the deep end of the pool (LSU funding) with the big boys. Ticking off these people won’t get you a setting at the table. It’ll get you marginalized, ignored and a seat at the Children’s table.
Cope obviously made the same foolish mistake I did when young. This is obvious because he’s a joke with a poorly delivered punch-line more than he’s a punster. And, he’s less a wise-man than a wise-guy.
Thanks for listening.