Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Terrible Thing to Say

I don’t know if this is a phenomena that’s affected every city in the country, but we were inundated with “Breaking News” and “Continuing Coverage” Wednesday night concerning the alleged attempted suicide of Terrell Owens. While it is nothing to joke about, I think that many fans in the Dallas- Fort Worth Metroplex may have heaved a huge sigh of relief had he been more successful. (to be continued)
I actually posted the above paragraph when the news broke. I took it down for fairly obvious reasons. The thought was meant to be funny (maybe you had to be there) and a starting point for something else. If there is anything I should have learned over the years its that it is OK to joke yourself, but you shouldn't joke other people.
It wasn't meant to be about T.O.; it was meant to be about the media and us. Last winter we had snow flurries and the temperature dropped to 28 degrees. The networks saw fit to give us 3 hours of continuous coverage of this "Ice Storm". One of the reporters in the field actually demonstrated to the viewers how cold it was by throwing a coke can onto ice that had formed in a roadside ditch.
As the can rattled across the ice, the reporter announces "Frozen solid"!
Thanks for that report.
A few Sundays back there was a hijacked 18 Wheeler that toured through the area. There was 4 hours of continuous coverage on 4 Stations. It was a field day for the news, as people lined the bridges and overpasses to rubberneck the event.
If the Media is bad enough, what does it say about us?

Last year, as you were watching the weather reports which showed this perfectly-formed hurricane gaining strength in the Gulf, you probably felt great concern and anticipation. You watched as the storm became a Cat 5 with 175 mph sustained winds. And when you awoke in the morning and turned on the news, you learned that the storm had been downgraded to a Cat 4 and that the winds had slowed to 140 mph. You also learned that the storm track had veered towards the East slightly so it would not hit directly on New Orleans. Of course you felt great relief that the storm was loosing power, but did you really? Or was there a small sliver, maybe one tenth of one percent of your consciousness, which was disappointed that the perfect storm you had fantasized about may not occur?
Was not a deep and dark part of your psyche thrilled by the beauty of such a perfectly formed atmospheric phenomenon and the danger it posed? Be honest! As for me, well, if I thought of this question, I must have had those feelings myself.

We are all relieved that they found Elizabeth Smart while we wait for the next Jon Benet.
Go ahead and call me a vulture, call me any kind of name.
But nothin' seems to sell in this culture like disaster.
Am I to blame?

But lets go back to Terrell Owens now.
I hope he never thinks about killing himself.
I'd settle for a couple of broken legs.


kissyface said...

I'm not the first to say it, but I think they want to excite us and keep us focused on things that are, well, not so important in the big scheme of things. That way, we are distracted from what is really crucial.

Of course, a human life is a human life, and that is no small thing. A suicide ripples throughout the whole of human consciousness, and it is sad. A light goes out. But it is probably not as significant as bringing into the full light of day the body bags that come home (which they will not show us on the television).

The news has been hamstrung. Journalists have been gagged. I've seen archival footage from the networks during the Vietnam Era. I've seen Walter Cronkite speaking candidly to the American people. That was more an era of "reality" (as much as realities can be, relative as they are), than this era of Reality TV.

Mother of Invention said...

Sensationalizing news always sells...and in turn makes money. We're all guilty of buying it. Just human nature.

Barbara said...

The PG-rated world of Pollyana just doesn't sell to the American public. They like blood and guts, scandal, deceit, all those negative words. It's the same with Blogging. The posts that attract the most attention are the ones that complain about something or share your misfortune. I suppose it's like soap operas that would have been out of business long ago if they ever had happy endings.

steve said...

lets just listen to Mr. Dylan:
I was sittin' home alone one night in L.A.,Watchin' old Cronkite
on the seven o'clock news.
It seems there was an earthquake that
Left nothin' but a Panama hat
And a pair of old Greek shoes.
Didn't seem like much was happenin',
So I turned it off and went to grab another beer.
Seems like every time you turn around
There's another hard-luck story that you're gonna hear
And there's really nothin' anyone can say
And I never did plan to go anyway
To Black Diamond Bay.

This is the last line of a great song Thats bound to be more entertaining than "A terrible thing to say".
Follow the link for the whole story