Archive for the ‘media’ Category

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The Daily Political News…

November 6, 2015

……all chatter, glitter, and a smattering of facts to lend some credibility….

From all appearances, the news media of today is more about theater and entertainment than it is about “news”. It used to be that when a car hit a tree on Main Street, it was reported that a car had hit a tree on Main Street. Boring stuff, perhaps, but essentially accurate, to the point, and factual. Today, such an event would be a theatrical production, with the basic facts buried under layers of gratuitous film clips of the wreckage and dazed or dead victims, speculation, and other associated irrelevancies.

The morning news tends to be a daily compilation of three or four hours of three or four selected stories, endlessly reformulated through the magic of journalistic alchemy into limitless variations of Chicken Little’s famous “The Sky is Falling” scoop. In fact, my wife and I have likened watching the morning news to sitting in a chicken barn while 20, 000 hens try to out-cluck each other. The onus is on the viewer to separate data from the detritus, and the ratings are no doubt based upon the detritus.

As we approach the presidential election scheduled for a year from now, the decibels continue to rise in the chicken barn and the “facts” are obscure at best. I remarked this morning that I have yet to listen to or read the uninterrupted presentation of the candidates views and plans for addressing the challenges projected to be encountered over the next nine years. It seems that all we hear about are the latest standings of selected candidates in a series of polls.

Listen up, media, I can’t speak for others, but I’m fairly confident that, like me, the majority of voters would prefer to vote for a candidate based on his or her views and plans rather than on an array of statistics prepared from data collected from the unnamed, analyzed by the unknown, and passed out like lollipops at a town parade by grinning studio puppets who interrupt each other, as well as guests, to foment controversy at every turn. Keep in mind that fomenting controversy is not the same as asking controversial questions.

It is telling and, for me, a strong indication that the media is selecting and grooming the most entertaining candidates, and not necessarily the most qualified. The candidates who have been attempting to address the issues trail the pack.

The poll “leaders” are a bombastic Narcissist, the wife of a former president whose campaign theme song is “I am Woman, Hear me Roar“, an avowed socialist who purports to know what is best for us and promises to spend our money to effect those fiats, and a conservative African American physician being probed about his adolescent delinquencies instead of his adult accomplishments.

The media folks describe this circus as a process of vetting the candidates, furthering the implication that it is their franchise to filter out the field for us so that we only have the alleged cream of the crop to contend with. Now, I’m a supporter of the media as an institution and see it as a vital link between the citizens and “what’s going on”, but I also expect that resource to honor the First Amendment by reporting the Who, What, When, Where, and Why with an eye to accuracy rather than an eye to the ratings. I also expect the media to respect my right and ability to decide for myself who promises to be an effective public servant. Perhaps it is time to start vetting the vetters themselves, though I fear precious few would make the cut.

I remember thinking some thirty years ago, while employed by a local weekly newspaper, that the best way to find out what a political candidate was really all about was to limit one’s research to publications and news items issued prior to their announcement of candidacy. I would repeat that today, but would change it to “the ONLY way…”

 

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Trolling…

October 3, 2014

trolling_1_mount

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Strobe ads

August 18, 2014

I don’t know who the schmuck is that thought up those strobe-light TV ads that have become all the rage, but I’ve got a feeling it’s not cream and sugar spiking his coffee.

I am aware that aging sort of muddies up the brain’s capacity for doing wheelies, but even at my least civilized life-phase I don’t recall “wheelies” being the preferred mode for getting from one place to the other, physically or cerebrally. Nothing in nature serves as a model for the staccato 30 second incidents of neurological assault and battery to which present day TV viewers are subjected.

They tend to occur like comments from an AK-47 every ten minutes while one might be attempting to keep track of who’s naked and who’s afraid or some other such intellectual slurry. It’s like “Distracted Relaxing”, which, like driving, should be the singular focal point when engaged in that activity. I survived the influx of that stuff back in the seventies. The only good thing about Disco was one didn’t need organic compounds in order to have an out of brain experience.

I wasn’t born into this multi-tasking fad, inspired, I suppose, by the cascade of techie-toys raining down on us like flies at a barn dance. I had enough trouble just getting through Algebra II A Cappella. I wouldn’t have had a clue how to approach such an undertaking while simultaneously trying to slay orcs, email a joke to my cousin in Boston, read and respond to serial text messages , and send a rude selfie to the girl in row three, et cetera.

I read somewhere that TV is expected to join Univac and hand-crank Marchant calculators pretty soon, and I can’t say that it bothers me much. It’s hard to find much programming requiring more than the intellectual capacity of a sea cucumber, after all, and when I succeed I don’t want to experience a dopamine cascade every ten minutes followed by the inevitable struggle against the urge to break something.

 

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Pharmaceutical pill pushers…..

June 6, 2014

think people are dumber than dirt….

Americans have become so germophobic and obsessed with taking pills to do everything but decide what pill to take that the immune system must be nearing extinction. I’m glad my grandson is allowed to jump in mud and play with bugs.

I plan on dying from old age or paybacks rather than from paranoia, from allergies to air, or from choking on pills. So far, so good.

I remember early television, back when it was “live” and an unfortunate, unscripted, epithet in response to a falling backdrop would be heard by one and all, and some lady in an apron would brag on a box of laundry soap, or some man in a fedora would demonstrate the enjoyment of a Chesterfield. “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” has been replaced by some macho cowboy getting his horse trailer stuck in the mud and thinking about Viagra, though I haven’t the slightest idea what one has to do with the other and I don’t think I want to know. Once the cartoons are done, the commercial fare switches from cookies and toys to all of the different potions, pills, and poppycock one is supposed to educate his or her doctor about to see if it might be right for me, even though it may cause my ears to grow testicles, ruin major vital organs, or, in rare cases, kill me. The Pharmaceutical companies and advertising industry play around with human psychology like I used to play around with incompatible chemicals and minor explosive devices, and virtually everybody over 50 is presumed to be dumber than bread, or at best too stupid to remember that a couple of Aspirin, a daub of Vicks in a pot of hot water on the stove, or a spoonful of that terrible tasting concoction Mom brewed up would accomplish most of the stuff one is supposed to act exceptionally knowledgeable about with somebody who spent 15 years in college learning everything there is to know about how the human body works. I spent 4 years in college learning how to drink beer, and I’m supposed to condescendingly lecture him about organic chemistry and neurobiology? And pay him $160 for 15 minutes of his time for the privilege of doing so? Color me suspicious, but exactly who is this shtick supposed to benefit, Me? The doctor? Excuse my Anglo Saxon derivative, but:

I don’t effing think so!

Either something terrible has happened to the human genome during the past ten or fifteen years, or the Snake Oil Salesmen of nineteenth century notoriety were spontaneously resurrected recently and are mesmerizing people in droves, because millions of men have (allegedly) tried, and now supposedly depend on, one of two Miracle Potions to get their groove on. In the commercial spots of Let’s Pretend Land, the droopy Don Juans are typically represented by hairy meatlockers looking more like NFL draft candidates than second stringers from the Fred Flaccid Tiddlywinks team.

One has to wonder how the hell mankind made it out of the primordial ooze, sometimes keeping vast harems properly entertained, and sometimes cranking out families larger than the towns they lived in, without Pfizer and Lilly to hold their hands, so to speak. Even with no personal experience with the now indispensible poontang pills, I can confidently state that the stuff doesn’t work anyway. I mean, just look at the commercials!

  • 1-The moment is right…..(what, they have a pamphlet about that now? “Arousal for Dummies“?).

  • 2-The guy with the chin like an I-beam pops That Pill.

  • 3-The guy with the chin like an I-beam does the old wink-wink at his life-mate, his date, or the Ten on the next barstool.

  • 4-Wait for it……

  • 5-They take a bath, paint the living room, set up a tent on the beach…….yadda yadda yadda

Wuz it good fer yoo?”

Look, I wasn’t born yesterday, or under a cabbage leaf, nor was I conceived in a bathtub, to the best of my knowledge.

When my remaining hair, including the crap hanging out of my ears, requires the use of a brush, I go to a barber and pay him to cut it. I don’t tell him how to do his job or try to sell him the latest stinkum. When my denture broke while enthusiastically working on a peppermint, I went to someone who specializes in such things. However, when they handed me a “form” the size of “War and Peace” to fill with the details about every cell in my body and wanted to do everything but a pre-emptive autopsy and fix my denture, I bought a $3 tube of Super Glue and did the job myself.

Otherwise, when my body engages in annoying or unfamiliar behaviors, and I can’t fix it myself, I seek professional medical intervention. I don’t tell my cardiologist how to cross his T’s and dot his I’s, I didn’t guide my surgeon’s hand while he rearranged the furniture, and I have no interest in trying to do my own colonoscopy.

Listen up, pharmaceutical industry, and your enabling bedfellows in Washington, about the only things I am qualified to tell my doctor are “yes”, “no“, and “ouch.” If you want him to know about your product, pay a “Detail Man” to shower him with fishing trips, booze, nifty ball point pens, and tons of free samples like back in the good old days when he could say “get the hell out of my office,” instead of “Request permission to think, Sir…

So, to all of the smiling phony doctors, pharmacists, half naked super models, emasculated testosterone factories, et al, I say “get the hell off my TV“…….

 

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of race cards…..

April 27, 2014

and broken records…….

The headlines certainly paint an ugly picture. The public reactions by those who found Donald Sterling’s “alleged” comments (CYA qualification by reporter) offensive, mostly folks of non-European heritage, were understandably angry. Jesse Jackson, of course, wants to make it another cause célèbre.

Obviously, the things Sterling said weren’t very nice, but it seems to me that something was missing from the story.

The only reference to the provenance of the remarks that somehow ended up on the editor’s desk was some vague mention of them being caught on tape by TMZ, the latter-day Tabloid journalism outfit that specializes in, well, gossip. Not exactly New York Times quality stuff, if you know what I mean.

That aspect of the story doesn’t sweeten up what Sterling supposedly said, of course, but it does kind of bring the story itself down to the same level as the event it threw on the fire to see if it would make a nice explosion.

The most important question from my perspective is not how are the authorities, going to disembowel Mr. Sterling, but how exactly was the supposed recording of him obtained in the first place? I mean, if he bellied up to a microphone and went on a rant or made a spontaneous phone call to the press, so be it. Break out the rotten tomatoes and less than fresh eggs. Throw an old shoe, even. However, if the wannabe journalists used the same methodology the paparazzi do to get shots of celebrities sitting on the can or engaging in some other private moment, then perhaps those who have been so successfully manipulated into getting their skivvies in a knot should ask how, why, and what are they going to do about it.

The flame-off that offended me in this whole flap was President Obama bellying up to the microphone to offer his two cents worth. When the first President of African heritage took over the Oval Office, I had hoped that, at long last, perhaps the festering sore of racial conflict that we hadn’t been able to shake could be healed by the man in the best position to heal it. He hasn’t met that expectation. In fact, throughout his first term in office, he pretty much avoided the topic, Now, safely settled into a second term, when he has an opening to lead and facilitate some cultural healing, he jumps on the bandwagon instead to join in another round of the same-old same-old with fist-pumpers of note and other camp followers.

We deserve better, regardless of ethnicity. I should think that reassuring, pro-active, and respect-worthy action by one of the most powerful men in the world would be far more newsworthy than the surreptitiously snagged snippets of some basketball team honcho who’s bank account apparently outperforms his character by a considerable stretch.

The United States has been dancing to this tune since I was in high school, and that was more than fifty years ago. Isn’t it time we changed the record?

 

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Serial redundancy

March 22, 2014

otherwise known as…….

BREAKING NEWS…..

You know that bold-face, 72-point, RED BANNER that keeps tracking across your TV screen like your kid on the Merry-go-Round at the County Fair?

For the past week or two, the only things happening in the entire world…nay!…the entire UNIVERSE…..have been:

  • [1] Everything that is not known, but can be wildly speculated, about the missing air-liner. The only potential answer to the globe-riveting mystery not proposed so far is that the dish might have run away with the spoon.

  • [2] How many times Oscar Pistorius threw up in the South African courtroom… and whether or not he was a jerk for shooting blindly through a door. Even Hopalong Cassidy never pulled such a stunt with his amazing 96-shooter.

  • [3] Russia sidling into the Crimea while whistling idly and gazing around in the sky, and who scored the most points with the latest International Mother Cut to be leveled. Yesterday, it was reported that Obama scowled and shook his finger (index) at Putin. This morning it was reported LIVE….from MOSCOW that Putin had responded with “Ooooooooooooooooooo!”

All seriousness aside, I’d kind of like to sip my morning coffee to the tragic news that somebody ran over the neighbor’s dog, or yawn-inducing news about the invention of a cure for yawning, or that some street person won two bucks on a scratch off ticket in Memphis. Anything. Anything except perhaps another weather report, of course.

It really is a stretch when they play the same two minute loop for sixty minutes, every day, for a week, and call it…

BREAKING NEWS…..

 

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Win – win…

February 4, 2014

lose….

As the continuum of Public Appologitis marches on, one of the more recent players to step up to the trough of Observable (faux) Humble Pie to feed was MSNBC President Phil Griffin. Those who give a toot about such things may have noticed the pre-Super Bowl Cheerios commercial featuring a biracial family. Apparently, somebody at MSNBC opined via Tweet that the right wing would dislike it intensely.

As anyone with a wetted finger to the winds of politics would expect, at least one Pol seized the moment and waxed indignant, in this instance the sprint winner being Republican National Committee honcho Reince Priebus. Right on cue, the media man stepped up to the microphone to wax mortified, announcing that the villain had been canned and stating that his station believes in debate about the issues and that…

…“we invite voices from all sides to participate.”

I couldn’t qwell my awareness that one of his home voices had apparently done precisely that, and been fired for it.

Contrary to what first impressions may suggest, however, this was almost a classic “Win-Win” scenario, both sides taking home the gold with their respective moments in the spotlight. Unfortunately, the “loser” spot was filled by the unnamed sacrificial Tweeter who provided them with the opportunity to do so.

 

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