Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Spreading it around

I'm fresh from a half hour watching NECN, during which a Mooninite with raised finger was the most prominent graphic feature of the backdrop.

While we're portioning out blame for yesterday's panic*, let's not forget our crack news media. Channel 7, for example, has never met a scare story it didn't like. I came onto their coverage rather late, but they made clear they had been on it like a rash from the first whisper. I was sitting there when they finally accepted that there were no bombs and (reluctantly) no hoaxes. They immediately broke for commercials, and the story had dropped about five levels in their presentation by the time they came back. The rest were no better: you could almost see the skid marks as they changed direction.

What persisted, and what has made me chuckle ever since, was the obsession with calling a raised finger "an obscene gesture." Give me a break: is this 1913? Tom Wolfe used to write stunningly about the hypocritical public morality of the broadcast media. It has seldom been so obviously on display.

* My apportionment of responsibility so far:

The several municipal governments and their law enforcement, for three weeks of failed observation and eight hours of hysterical overreaction, 30 percent.

Turner Broadcasting et al., for failing to realise that unauthorised boards with wires were probably going to offend somebody sooner or later, 25 percent.

A witless broadcast media that has surrendered all pretence that it possesses a critical faculty, 25 percent.

A dense, sheep-like populace that has tacitly agreed to be scared on cue, 18 percent.

The actual perpetrators, two percent. Unfortunately, these poor sods are likely to take the hit while the biggest idiots get no penalty at all.


Blogger Mass Marrier said...

Excellent apportionment, Uncle. What do you make of our previously unflappable and modulated governor scowling self-righteously about this?

I also try to imagine how the locals in your area would take to a mini version of this. There are towns in the rural Midwest asking for Homeland Security money to protect from the terrorist invaders who are bound to attack them. Is Marblehead due?

12:06 pm  
Blogger Uncle said...

Everyone is entitled to a miscue. I'll be watching Deval to see if he gets back to finding the theatre in everyday life.

You'd have to rewind to how the townies dealt with the alleged Baptists at the Piper funeral for a hint. Either that or the legendary question at town meeting: "What the hell does the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have to do with the town of Marblehead?" The loonier Bostonians are, the more people hereabouts enjoy the comedy.

1:53 am  

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