Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Less News = Life Fulfilling

Okay actors - the following paragraph is supposed to be read in a fast and curt manner, using a Contralto or Baritone newscasters voice:

BREAKING NEWS: Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee is surging ahead in the polls [you know, the pre-poll polling sampling before the Iowa caucus - the real poll].

And the news outlets are shocked! What? There's gambling going on in this casino! We can't dictate the front runners, after all? All the hours spent ignoring Huckabee and boosting their chosen favorites didn't pan out as expected? Surprise!

I know! Maybe we should all do what Iowa is doing and damn the news, think for yourself instead!
[Now... chew your cigar and walk around in a Tuxedo, hunched over].

So why should anyone listen to the media. Period? Why do we watch them? Try though it might - the media can't predict the future. Not one of them. However, I'll put my faith in weather casters - just a tad bit more - at least the Doplar speaks for them. The media is as useful as yesterday's news. All that screaming and yelling and rancor and shouts and insults are about topics they know no more about than the rest of us. They just have a highly visible public forum that puts them on pedestals. The irony is that not all of what they say is written by them -- and it's vetted -- unlike day-time television for the stay-at-home Mom's who learn their news through used-to-be newscasters who still get paid or silenced for their opinions on The View.
And I'm not even a Whoopi Goldberg fan.

But back to our newscasters, who are elevated to rock star status for having an ear piece that feeds them their lines -- or a teleprompter and, just in case, they can show that they can read paper copy on their desk (or so we think). And when they aren't hung up in all of the wiring, they're just like you and me, only sitting on a stage instead of a comfortable living room couch that fits to your body's permanent imprint. [Wait -- those are couches and comfortable chairs they're sitting on]!

While we sit, watching newscasters sit, we can't do what they can: prognosticate, pontificate and exercise our right to brainwash under the guise of performing a public service.

For some of us, our souls have not been sold to rock and roll, but sewed or stitched to the couch and television, the tandem mind and body snatchers. We can sit all day and watch the same newscasts repeat themselves on 3 major cable news channels. And while digesting the bad news, we can add bad food (well, actually good, right) to our stomachs - mixed nuts, half-of a candy-bar, an egg-salad sandwich, cheese puffs, a root beer, and cookies -- I'm not finished, just embarrassed - and then we wonder where the pounds came from I'm going to the gym today, guys. I really will).

Just how did we let the media, which used to take up only one half-hour of our time, thirty years ago become a 24-hour extreme? I'll tell you the day my fixation started - and probably yours, too: September 11, 2001. That tragedy not only changed the lives of the country by the terrible loss of humanity on that day, but the beginning of our loss of control over our lives. And the media came to our rescue - to make sense of it all. They dropped commercials and gave us the news. Hard news. And, sad news. And they've been making money from those tragic days ever since. Whereas the Breaking News bar at the bottom of our screens used to be only for emergencies, on cable, now it rolls every morning, noon and night, telling us, not breaking news, but breakfast news to feed our consciences that there's still a tragedy awaiting to happen. So we better stay tuned, and prepared for the worst.

My question to you is -- with all of the segments, talk shows, panelists, etc., have we learned anything from them? Only what we're told, or as the New York Time boasts, "News that's Fit to Print." The word "fit" has a double entendre, however. What is fit to print is selectively chosen not in the public's interest, but for "the military-industrial-corporate-Congressional complex "that Republican President Eisenhower, a military man, warned us about.

["someone" excised the word congressional from his speech, allegedly].

Continuing -- what is fit to print is in the interests of corporate America's control over the hearts, minds, and bodies of America (which is actually owned by Europe - that's another article about how England and Japan won the Wars, after all] And just what do they really want from us? A feeling of national unity? Of harmony and pride that a nation of different colors and creeds can be one, united for the common good?

Let's cut to the chase, because you knew I was running here [DISCLAIMER: these are hypothetical scenarios unintended to draw any negative attention to any particular commercial brand or product]:

Channel 1: "Coffee is bad for you. Back after this commercial. [Maxwell House].
Channel 2: "No, Coffee is good for you. Find out why, after this commercial. break" [MaxWell House - same commercial simultaneously playing on two different stations]
Channel 3: "Mites are eating you alive while you sleep. We'll be back in a second."[new, Off-mite spray]
Channel 4: "There's a rapist out on the loose, 350 miles from where you live -- we'll have actual footage of the police driving in their cars looking for them. But you have to stay right here to find out what happens. Back in a sec (6 minutes). But be afraid. Be very afraid."[Brinks Safety].
Channel 5: "There's a black MALE rapist out on the loose, twenty-eight hundred miles from where you live (no details of the color - just a Black, or African-American man). Back in two minutes (but lock your doors during the interim. Be afraid. Be very afraid. [On Star].
Channel 6: Cops chased a car: here's the ten minute footage and who knows? We might see someone die on television in a shoot out! Back in a minute (although Shepard Smith will tell you the number of seconds remaining - so you can clock the seconds to see if he's right).[Get your law enforcement degree in three weeks].

Back to

Channel 1: The Iraqi war is showing improvement as the US mounts its Operation Thunderclap (or something of a Herculean, let's think Thor (he's blond), or Wagnerian Gotterdamerung theme suggesting civilization will be destroyed).[The ARMY commercial follows]
Channel 2: The economy is going to tank. [Snickers commercial].
Channel 3: The Dow hit a record, recovering its losses of yesterday. Stay tuned (our [gambling expert] will be with us in a couple of minutes to explain the market -- after another (5 minutes) commercial break. Advertisement for the state lottery next..... keep it here." [E-trade (on the verge of collapse, or so they say]

Channel 4: Seven soldiers were ambushed the next day, after all was peace and quiet, bringing our toll to a (specific, exacting number). [We're in the business of detailing the news, but we can't tell you the names of the fallen, who gave up their lives for you and me to sit on our couch eating popcorn, watching the news not tell us the real news. All we can tell you is that seven anonymous soldiers died. But before we cut to commercial, let's hear from Chuck... Chuck any update on the Britney story? (to camera). We're putting the microphone on our guest, who is coming up after the break - we... are going to chat with Britney's second grade friend who knew her all of one semester before her family moved away. Let's learn from her about our favorite troubled pop star.

"I'm sorry?" Okay (listening to the earphone puppet stringer that turns the announcer into a marionette that speaks - hey, how did they do that?) "Okay, we'll be back in (4 commercials) ten minutes. Stay on our channel where we give you the top news every hour on the hour, on our no-spin, you heard if first news station - CNNFOXSNB - [Acronym? Confusion Broadcasting].

Back to Channel 5: "We're back from commercial speaking with Joe Smith. Mr. Smith -- it was you who saw the child crossing the street, and picked him up and dove to the other side of the pavement, when the car was a block away -- and no one was scratched? Right?" (Microphone in Joe Smith's face): "Yes." Newsman: "Well that's great news. You're a hero to us and all of America. Thanks for being on our show. We'll be back after a brief break (of 5 minutes)."

There's a silver lining in here somewhere. Here's a remedy: There's a prescription that each American should be given to improve his or her health. We need to diet. From television. Like an enema (yuck) or a one-time purge (no offense to any real purgers out there)we need to get the news out of our system. And we'll be healthier as a result. Watching announcer/actors on television is not living a fulfilling life (say the preceding four words -- fast). And if everything we learn from the Great Pontificators in a Box is actually scripted, then it might be better to be illegible and deaf to them -- so we can live and learn about our own lives -- the old fashioned way - by doing.

But you all know this. It's old news. So... I'm off to the gym... as soon as I finish watching the news.


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