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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Honest Harlequin

This weekend I was forced to face my very mortality- the cable was out.

All of Tiffin Hall was without television for more than 24 hours. It was awful! There was pandemonium, rioting, loss of hope....and quiet. Finally, things were peaceful and the noise had died out. Don't get me wrong: I am the kind of person who has ESPN on every second of the day and yet I still tend to live my life without distraction from the glowing, talking box. Except for when the little red "Breaking News" bar appears at the bottom of the screen (Pacman Jones did WHAT?). It beats the hell out of having my laptop open and leaning over to press "refresh" on MSN's homepage every minute.

The quiet I am referring to then is the quiet that comes when you no longer have to be subjected to the constant harping from "newscasters" or as I like to call them "yammering idiots." The yammering idiots I refer to are the charismatic folks dishing out the "news" on 24 hour news networks such as: FOXNews (still don't know the preferred spelling of that after all these years), CNN and MSNBC. The type of yammering idiots who wear cute outfits, have pretty smiles, yell a lot and do not really concern themselves with that quaint idea of objectivity.

Of course, I don't really need a cable-outage to save myself from their nonsense; I could easily just turn the channel. But try as I might, I find myself watching a few minutes of Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity every week before the horror sets in and I am forced to turn off the TV and go take a shower. The problem is, that even if I never watch a second of yammering idiot television, I have to live in a world of people who do. A world where people excitedly approach me and ask earnestly "did you know Barack Obama has terrorist ties? I saw it on FOX the other day..." or "did you hear that Sarah Palin is going to disown her pregnant daughter any second now. The guy on CNN said so..."

People in the generation preceding my own believe what they hear on TV. It is the medium they grew up watching and trusting, where men like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite told them the cold hard truth while wearing nice suits and a somber expression. Now, newscasters on Cable News networks are simply nothing more than clowns: they exist to entertain. The problem is they still look like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite with the same nice suits and the same somber expressions. 

And here comes the point: instead of watching clowns saying their newscasters, why not just watch a clown saying he is nothing more than a clown. That is what my generation has decided to do.

I am rarely in line with the rest of my generation. Their intentions are pure but it is difficult to enact real change in the world in-between keggers and bong hits. But their is one aspect of their lives that I am right in line with. Back in 2004, a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that as many people ages 18-29 receive their news from The Daily Show as they do from the "usual" news outlets. And I can only say: right on, kids in America.

Many of the traditional media and older folks shook their head in disbelief and wondered "what is our world coming to when the leaders of tomorrow get their news from a comedian?" Little did they know that the rest of the country was also receiving their news from comedians...only these comedians would never acknowledge that they were telling jokes. I mean, how do you not laugh until you pee your pants when Bill O'Reilly berates and belittles a young man whose father was murdered in the 9/11 attacks simply because his political beliefs were different from his own in the name of "objective journalism?" 

The youth of America have grown up with an extremely sensitive "bullshit detector" thanks to the worthless clowns who masquerade as "journalist" who have dominated the airwaves for the past decades. And the youth of America is confident that they can check their bullshit detector at the door when watching The Daily Show. Because The Daily Show is nothing if not fair. Everything is fair game when it comes to making a joke: left or right, red or blue, it really doesn't matter because everything is fodder for ridicule. As a matter of fact, the Center for Media and Public Affairs found that the show made fun of Republicans 98% of the time and Democrats 96% of the time. What do you think the percentages would be like in Wolf Blitzer's War room or Joe Scarbrough's Country (whatever the hell that is supposed to be)? Yep, that's what I thought. Jon Stewart is also very honest about his political beliefs. He sides with liberals the majority of the time but does not let that influence the content of his show or his interviews. Contrast that with Bill O'Reilly who insists that he is a "traditionalist" (a political designation that doesn't exist) and refuses to acknowledge that he holds any political beliefs at all, then goes out to produce the most partisan-politically biases half-hour of television in the history of humanity. Honestly and candor is the key.

And as far as receiving news from The Daily Show, why not? The Daily Show runs only a half-hour a day for four days of the week. I trust a show that takes a 23 1/2 hour break for perspective and accuracy than any show on a network that is live and running 24 hours a day without a seconds break to keep one's emotions in check and gather the facts. 

But, obviously the long-term effects of watching an clown, regardless of how earnest and fair he may be, will be catastrophic, right? I mean how can kids be educated citizens and watch The Daily Show? Well it is not like there is any information out there that says otherwise

See what happens when the cable goes out? It makes you question the priorities in your life and the very world you live in. Makes you wonder why we need that constant noise anyway.

Oh well, I have to go now. There is a Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares marathon on BBC that I just canNOT miss.


Anonymous said...

Exactly. There's nothing wrong with watching clowns who admit they're entertainers; it's the clowns who say they're objective professional truth-tellers that are so scary. Nailed it.

Woozie said...

Best post yet.

A.G.B said...

Thanks for your kind words! I am blushing.