Occasionally a discussion arises regarding the airing of Supreme Court cases on live television. John Oliver, on HBO’s Last Week Tonight show, noted that perhaps the deliberations would be a little too boring for television audiences, and proposed a solution to the problem. Reenact the hearings using dogs.
Perfect for the social media age, yes? Before I continue, I’d like to mention that Justice Scalia, one-ninth of one-third of the United States government, thinks the word is “takeouts” and not “outtakes.” Yikes. But I nitpick.
Anyway, before you laugh too hard, be aware that the Oliver sketch was as much, if not more, of a cut against us — all of us — as it was a cut against the Supreme Court. It’s true that very few Americans would actually watch Supreme Court proceedings on television, and the only way we might be coaxed is with cute doggies. Because we’re short-attention-span suffering children who can’t endure anything meaningful unless it’s dosed with a heavy helping of cheese.
Sorry to be a Debbie Downer here, but it’s true. Again, not to belabor this point, but half the blame for television news being so ridiculously awful belongs to us, the viewers. If we didn’t watch the celebrity show-trials, endless shouting matches and unapologetic fear-mongering, it’s unlikely the news networks would air such things. And, yes, the only way CSPAN would be able to coax more than half-a-dozen viewers to watch the Supreme Court would be to use dogs. Or kittens. Or both.