Does politics need to be entertaining? Yes.

Writing about Sarah Palin and more recently enjoying parodies of Glenn Beck I’ve been thinking on and off about political theater. Or rather, how difficult it is to separate politics and theater.

We make sense of the world via narrative. It’s not a crutch – it’s how we get around. The proper response to Beck and Palin is, as always, to ridicule them but, also, to peel off some of their devotees with competing narratives. Ideally, based on facts rather than fantasies.

The right wing peddles stories that make sense of frustration and anger. Why not start there?

Update: The New Yorker has a short profile of Palin in which Richard Hofstadter is quoted: “[T]he growth of the mass media of communication and their use in politics have brought politics closer to the people than ever before and have made politics a form of entertainment.” That was in 1954.