Friday, January 18, 2008

I Can't Take No More...
If I have to look at any of them again, I am certain to puke.

It begins as soon as one awakens. Turn on the television in the mistaken impression that there's a world out there, in which all sorts of activities are taking place that you should know about, and your mistake is made apparent within ten seconds or so (provided it's not yet another commercial about the expanding prostate which every Baby Boomer male can, apparently, expect); one of THEM shows up on the screen.

THEM is one of the eight, nine, ten, I-don't-know-how-many-I've-lost-count, people who are running for the Office of President of the United States. This is a frightening proposition, particularly if you manage to catch sight of them before your morning coffee. A full 15 seconds of Hillary Clinton might cross your eyes for the rest of the day.

It's getting out of hand. There is nothing that is reported anymore, it seems, that isn't related to this farcical orgy of Look-at-me-ism, or which can be contrived to somehow be construed to be related to it. The 24-hour news cycle ensures that this stuff is talked about, reported, analyzed, debated, expounded, folded, spindled, mutilated, extruded and regurgitated at a rapid and constant pace, and to an inhuman extent. I'm beginning to believe that the news channels wouldn't let you know about a mass murderer on the loose unless the killings took place during a state primary, and then they would trot out some moron to mewl in monotone for 20 minutes on how this might affect voter turnout, and he could postulate about how this might "split the mass-homicide vote". Assuming they didn't get dueling "political consultants" to hurl partisan invective at each other for half an hour.

The political news has fallen victim to the same two horrid, life-sapping phenomena as everything else in America: excess and over-analysis. It's an infinitely more dangerous situation when it's an excess of over-analysis which is the problem, at which point, the Earth may be ready to spin off it's axis and spiral into the sun. Trust me, the networks are so keyed up to do nothing but report everything (because they have all that dead air to fill, and because they don't wish to be accused of not covering something or anybody), that at this moment (Friday, Jan. 18, at 6:11 a.m.) both Fox News and MSNBC have crack reporting teams, ready and raring to go, who will be prepared to report that Mitt Romney farted the very second that it happens. Perhaps they will report the whispered speculation that Romney may have, indeed, possibly farted, but this is not confirmed, until 90 minutes of reporting speculation has gone by before it can be confirmed. Furthermore, they will have a panel of experts conveniently on hand to reassure America that a) Mormons fart just like the rest of us, and b) it smells just as bad as anyone else's. No need to panic, all is normal.

Of course, that fart may cost Romney 3 or 4 points in the polls, but then again, those don't seem to mean anything anymore.

Should such an event occur, the cable networks are prepared with a dizzying array of flashing lights, mind-sickening crawls at the bottom of the screen (which are full of grammatical and spelling errors), flashy graphics, brand-new "swoosh" sound effects, and "Mitt Romney: Gastrointeritis Crisis" music (something sonorous, somber and syncopated), to put right next to the "Breaking News" banner (or would it, in this case, be "Breaking Wind"?).

Is it too much to ask that perhaps, just for a minute, I could hear about something else?
This constant drumbeat of the same nonsense being repetitively recycled makes you want to take a hammer to the TV set --- or perform a do-it-yourself lobotomy with a power drill.