Friday, October 30

Don't Leave Me Alone

HOPE you're somewhere cozy, with an enjoyable weekend ahead, somewhere Autumn's fiery spectacle is still on the trees, rather than in the yard, and where 5 PM means local teevee shows screwball comedies instead of showing screwballs being unintentionally comic.

The other day my Poor Wife had one of those dog-and-pony parents meeting nights, which left me alone with local news. This is, in itself, at least as interesting a portal into human behavior as anything David Brooks conjures up, because even now I have no fucking explanation for why I turned the damn thing on. She's the one who wants to see six weather reports every night. I'm the one who wants to shoot six teevee meteorologists. But once you've been married long enough you start to look alike, to finish each other's sentences, and to develop resistance to the same poisons. I turned the damn thing on just as if she were there.

The difference--you may already know this--is that I choose a channel and stick with it, rather than using the remote as a primitive device for recreating the Golden Age of Music Video Jump Cutting right in your own home theatre. And that channel is Channel 8, the choice of which has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the "news" (foolish notion!) or the people who mime it; 8 just seems to shout a little softer than the other two which're on at the same time. (The standard delivery at 13, by comparison, is Adenoidal Teenaged Evangelical Christian Reading Bible Passages to an Ampitheater of Nursing Home Residents, all of whom are seated at the back).

So, one reason I hope you aren't similarly afflicted is the H1N1 business, which has pretty much become the Missing Blonde Teenager of public health stories, except there are actual ramifications for actual people who actually watch the broadcasts. Fluff the threat, fluff the public health reaction, fluff the threat, fluff the vaccine, fluff the shortage of vaccine, fluff the blind panic that has resulted; repeat. And this has gone on since June at the latest, despite the fact that the trajectory of H1N1, if not its magnitude, has been known all that time. Influenza is understood; that's why there's the vaccine, and that's why there's a organized and targeted release. Influenza is also mutable, which is why last year's vaccine didn't always work. And younger populations can be seriously challenged by some combinations. This is not a mystery. There is no theory of information in which scaring the fucking bejebus out of people gets them to act more rationally, and none where re-running the same routine the fifty-seventh time gets the same reaction as the first. It's done simply because they believe the tone itself encourages people to tune in.

Which is nothing new if, as a helpless bystander, you see their weather reports six times daily.

What I'd like to know, though, is: where are the fucking teabaggers? If this isn't socialized medicine, what is? The gubment controls who gets vaccine which, if we really love freedom, ought to be going to the highest bidder.

(This was also the night they gave their Chief Meterologist/Consumer Electronics Guru and Guy Who Had His Chair Yanked Out From Under Him When They Located A Hot Weather Bunny space to do the most naked plugola I've ever seen, five minutes on the Droid, or Druid, or whatever the latest piece of plastic crap I can't live without is called. "Tomorrow we'll be showing how it stacks up head-to-head against the iPhone". You'll be what? I guess that despite the previous two-week's fertilizer storm I've endured about the thing, I wasn't supposed to rise to the faux-viral adverts, and I'm supposed to have missed, despite giving it all the inattention it deserved, that whoever's responsible for the thing is precisely promoting "how it stacks up head-to-head against the iPhone". Or that they've been buying ad time on your channel, and they gave you what you touted as an Exclusive. Or that today's report, the prelude to tomorrow's heavyweight bout, basically consisted of you narrating what was obviously a series of graphics produced by the people who make the Drone, or the Drear, or the Doofus. If the Market is so fucking perfect, how is it that an alternative news for people with two healthy, functioning hemispheres to their brains hasn't turned up in thirty fucking years?)

That Parents Night deal also set us back on our already-one-day-delayed Daily Show/Colbert viewing, so it was just last night when I caught the Embarrassment of That Steven Levitt guy, who'd already made a fool of Jon with his previous book. Drop the fucking interviews, already, or cut 'em to one or two a week, and ban anyone peddling a book with a political agenda masquerading as Not a Political Agenda. And all teevee newsreaders. Stewart's always going on about how his is a comedy show, and he's right. The worst moments are when he wanders off into something he knows nothing about, with no one on the staff able to stop him; I'd rather watch eight Olbermann Special Comments in a row. If you know enough to say "People are upset about it," you know enough to have found out why. Not to mention the underutilization of another group of performers. C'mon. Those guys can fill an extra 16 minutes a week, certainly without falling any flatter than another Susie Essman schmoozefest. Though, on the other hand, those interviews do make Colbert look that much better.


heydave said...

Obviously, those kidders with the tea bags and Colonial Americana costumes and such fooled you.

It's one thing to be a big, bad mofo when you're strutting around in your tri-corner and letting gub'mint know who's boss.

It's quite another when you own hide, incorrectly or not, requires maintenance that's best left to same gub'mint. Then you know those fuckers won't help you out fast enough!

StringonaStick said...

Heh, the guy who was McCain's chief policy wonk is about to have his COBRA run out and has a pre-existing condition; now he's worried about being able to buy health insurance as an unemployed guy. You know, the same guy who came up with the idea that we all need to be out there buying ours directly from the insurance companies. Payback, bitch, etc.