Bob Franken


November 26, 2007
Simply Simian (Bob Franken)
@ 9:11 am

“A million monkeys banging on a million typewriters for a million years will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare.”

How many times have we heard that one? Let me suggest an update: “If enough political reporters, pundits and other so-called experts make their calls on the presidential campaign, by chance someone will be correct.”

That person will then build an entire successful career based on that one wildly random prediction. Or the person in management who steals credit for it will.

But fear not. All the rest of us million commentators will also thrive, simply by ignoring our mistakes. We will all benefit from the fact that no one pays attention anyway. So the fact that we have no earthly idea what we’re talking about remains our little secret and we can continue to get paid the big bucks.

This raises some obvious questions:

1) What’s a typewriter?

It’s a machine that was used to write before computers. By a million monkeys. For mistakes, they used a substance called “white-out.” That was how they deleted in the old days, back when we cared whether we made errors. Isn’t that quaint?

2) How do these political analysts get away with their fiction?

Now that’s the important question. We actually employ a number of subterfuges. For instance, we constantly prop up a candidate so we can knock him or her down. Fred Thompson calls it “the game of buildup and — the game of takedown.” But we’ve moved on from Fred Thompson.

Now it’s Mike Huckabee’s turn to go from the “outs” to this week’s “in” story. Then next week, we can rip him apart.

John McCain has been up and down so many time we could call him the “Yo-yo candidate.”

It keeps us gainfully employed for months. Ron Paul? You bet. Mike Bloomberg, he hasn’t been taken in by the media’s sweet talk. Yet.

Dennis Kucinich or Tom Tancredo? Well, some are a little too far out. Although you never know —

3) What if there are contradictions in what we say?

Who cares.

4) What if we’re flat-out wrong?

Again: Who cares.

5) Are you just disgruntled because you’re not really a successful political reporter?

To be disgruntled, one must have, at some point, been gruntled. So not really.

Like the million monkeys, this “chattering class” of commentators and consultants continues not to create Shakespeare, but to try and find rhyme or reason in politics.

The fact is they don’t exist. We can go non-stop with our blah blah blah, but we have not a clue what’s going to happen in a few weeks when the people speak with their votes.

Then one or two of us who claim to have made the right guess can holler, “See? I told you so!!!” The rest of us can just take our typewriters and gibberish and swing through the trees to the next primary.

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