James B. S. Riley
Global Powders & Notions, LLC
July 8, 2008
c/o The Anchor Desk
W [redacted] TV News
I trust I have waited a decent-enough interval before addressing this, assuming "decent" still carries the broad sweep of meaning it did before you, your profession, and the industry where you ply it helped coarsen American discourse, manners, and tastes in "entertainment" beyond what was previously considered theoretically attainable, and has not, instead, been relegated to cases of Janet Jackson's nipple jewelry turning up While Children Are Watching. In fact, considering the amount of air time regularly invested in telling me to dress in layers during the cold months, or maintain necessary hydration in warm, not to mention which of the latest scientific breakthroughs in cosmetic surgery is Right For Me this week, it would be nice if you could devote a little of the time remaining, after your in-depth consideration of Today's Issues, to keeping me abreast of what's left of etiquette, if anything, specifically, in this case, how long I should wait before urinating on Jesse Helm's grave. Am I still required to wait until the widow has gone home? So much seems up in the air anymore. Would consulting any of the hundred hours your network dedicates every week to filming drunken half-wits screaming at each other, or, worse, dancing, be of any help?
So, apologies for any unintended affront, but I wanted to express something of the absolute friggin' astonishment I felt this past Fourth of July when you, and your fellow newshounds at the other local stations, pulled yourself away from thinly-disguised exhortations to your fellow citizens to buy up the remaining stocks of brightly-hued 1/4-ton sticks of dynamite still available at any of the many fine retailers who fill your coffers each June thanks to the World's Third-Most Corrupt State Legislature, and keep shooting them off until their stocks were exhausted, long enough to do what felt like a ten-minute obit of former Senator Jesse Helms, despite the fact that his connection to Indiana might be subsumed under the heading "Snubbing Ryan White's Mother After His Death". Which, oddly enough, garnered no mention. I do suppose that he, like our local troglodytes, was consuming oxygen up to the last, but that's the next best connection I can come up with, and were I you I'd try for scientific confirmation before running with it.
Now, I am aware that "Truth" and "panegyric" go together the same way "Church service" and "Igniting One's Flatulence" do, so I was not expecting much of the former (though I did expect the amount of time spent on Helms' "service to his country" be commensurate with some reasonably-objective definition of "service", or else its applicability to viewers in your Market, which, after all, produces very little tobacco and had integrated most of its public schools several weeks before Helms was first elected to the Senate). And, as usual, I got it, though I am grateful that you got around to mentioning his opposition to the Martin Luther King Birthday Holiday, which now serves as a sort of touchstone of how the outright race-baiting Republicans of an earlier, more backward, time could get a tad unreasonable on occasion, and Thank God those days are over.
No, the thing which most surprised me was that your own report referenced, quite early on--about fourteen and three-quarters minutes before the King Holiday came up, by the seat of my pants--"his battles with what he called 'liberal elitists' ". It's a fine little swerve there, and seeing as how the man was already a-moulderin' I suppose you needed to find the least offensive thing that ever came out of the old reprobate's ugly, twisted maw and treat it as though it might have had some tiny claim to veracity if you qualified the hell out of it. So I suppose you're to be complimented for it, but I've been too excited to sleep since that scumbucket hurtled screaming to Hell, not that I could have with all the fucking fireworks going off all weekend, thanks again, and I'm still a bit jumpy.
But what I would like to do is to inform you, in the spirit of the piece, that I have personally battled forty years with what I call the "infantile sexuality, seething racism, inborn crytpo-Nazism, and microcephalic intelligence of the American Right", and that, should you have reason to cover my own demise, I'd appreciate it if you saw fit to get the quote right.
James B.S. Riley