"Slashing rhetoric and outrageous characterizations have long been part of the American national political dialogue ... but modern means of communications are now so pervasive and penetrating they might as well be part of the air we breathe, and therefore they require tempered remarks from all sides. Otherwise, the air just becomes more and more toxic until it is suffocating."Imagine what blather must have been in that before they did the ellipsis. And try translating it into plain English. You see what he's saying? In the old days of network broadcasting, people only heard from designated authorities like me, but now that everyone's voice can be heard, it's time to tone it all down. Now that there's so much potential for opinion, it should all be made very bland, because it's hurting my tummy. And my old, old lungs. I can't breathe because other people are talking too much. All this newfangled media. Why back in my day, everybody listened to me and the air was fresh and clean.
It was so frustrating, because we so much wanted to hear what Isaacson had to say about Steve Jobs, but Gregory had to keep weaving in the platitudinous themes of Brokow's book, and the effort was ludicrous:
MR. GREGORY: It's interesting about Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson, because part of what I think Tom is talking about is not only a sense of national purpose and civic identity, but it's also a can-do practicality that he really manifested. And this is how you write about it, the distortion reality--reality distortion field that you write about throughout the book, and this is how it was described in the book...Those quotes are about the way Steve Jobs generated a "reality distortion field" that had some effects that were very positive and some that were very negative (like the way it killed him). That doesn't translate to "can-do practicality." Gregory was only saying "can-do practicality" to connect it to the book Brokaw got on the show to promote. What would happen if the country was run by a Steve Jobs type who set up a "reality distortion field" and barraged us with charismatic rhetorical style and indomitable will?!
"Steve has a reality distortion field. ... In his presence, reality is malleable. He can convince anyone of practically anything. It wears off when he's not around, but it makes it hard to have realistic schedules." Bud Tribble, part of that original Mac team, the Macintosh team.
Also, "The reality distortion field was a confounding melange of a charismatic rhetorical style, indomitable will, and eagerness to bend any fact to fit the" purposes--the "purpose at hand." Andy Hertzfeld, also part of that original Macintosh team.
Why doesn't Washington have that kind of can-do practicality where they could--he cannot blink when he stares at you and say, "Get your mind around this. Get this done."
Isaacson tried to fit in. He quoted someone who once told Jobs he "would make an excellent king of France" and noted that "when you're the president in a democracy, in a divided government, you can't just order and lead by fiat." Yes, and? Come on, Walter. You don't have to temper your remarks lest the air just become more and more toxic until it is suffocating. Lay it on the line. It would be insane to have a President like Steve Jobs! Oh, but... oh, no... Brokaw needs to talk...
Brokaw goes on about how he got a Macintosh when they first came out and he had the CEO of IBM over at his house and the IBM guy didn't think Macs were serious. Yes, yes, we were talking about the "reality distortion field" and the presidency. There was some potential for insight, and Brokaw drags us back to that time in the 80s when he had the CEO of IBM over to the house.