Archive for October, 2014

Love Me!!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2014 by willard43

That’s what I hear from news channels nowadays. “Love me! PLEASE!” It’s no wonder too, as the competition for viewership is tougher than ever. I myself prefer the internet for my news. I can get a quick blurb on top stories and read further if I desire and there’s no talking heads, who I hate with a burning passion. But I occasionally watch the news. I haven’t watched the old-timey broadcast news in forever, and frankly, it’s like watching your grandparents argue. Local news is pretty much useless anymore cause, the internet again. But the big 24/hr news channels are fun to watch. They are the spearhead of TV news’ efforts to compete with the internet and it’s deliciously pathetic to watch.

Case in point, the recent CNN show detailing the roots of its broadcasters. Don’t get me wrong, I bear no ill will to any of these “journalists,” but there’s a certain smug satisfaction, I’m not proud of, that I get watching them flounder like a fish in the boat; they no they’re dead, but the struggle and hope for some salvation. This is the latest effort, the attempt to generate some sort of relationship with the viewers. Fox News has that with Fox and Friends and regardless of how my lefty sensibilities cringe at anything they produce, they’ve been the most successful. MSNBC has Joe Scarborough, whom I like, but can’t stand his blonde, bimbo sidekick, whatshername (don’t give me that “but she wrote a book” bullshit either; it was about herself). Last is the CNN crew, New Day, which sounds like some sort of cult. They are the least valuable members of the CNN team and the most needy, imo. And I have to admit that the Roots show was fairly interesting as I’m into that sort of thing, but it’s a cry for help. It’s the need to establish this personal relationship so viewers like me won’t abandon them completely for the internet. “We’re people too!” doesn’t work on me as I could care less, and I don’t think I’m alone. And I resent effort as it assumes we’re all like that middle-aged, divorcee at work who lives for cake parties as its her only social interaction. They’re like Dunder-Mifflin trying to convince us that it’s about the people, about customer service, not about profit and we buy in because it’s a fuzzy little lie for the show. Well, I buy into the Office because I like those people, it’s funny and I see a connection with my own life. I don’t give a shit about Chris Cuomo’s thoughts or feelings on the story. This phony personal investment in the story to foster some relationship that’s a lie makes me switch the channel.

I miss Walter Kronkite. He just gave the news. He wrote it himself too. The only time you got a sense of what Walter Kronkite felt about the news, except in very few instances and those instances carried the gravitas that fostered the relationship that eludes these other news channels today. I cared what Walter thought. I wanted to know more but respected his need to distance himself to remain as objective as possible because that’s what journalism should be.

Another aspect I’ve notice is need for an apologist and CNN leads the pack once again with with that bald guy (sorry, I googled him but couldn’t find out who he was; not important enough) who used to contribute from Politico. Once again, nothing against him personally, and I actually think he’s a damn smart guy who has something to say. He’s also not all touch feely like the rest of them. However, he is an apologist. He is forever rationalizing CNN’s coverage of everything. He led the charge in defending the Malaysian Airlines coverage because they just wanted to hump that leg for more tragedy. I’m still not sure why he justified it, but he certainly did. More recently he posted statistics on the Ebola story stating that if you were about to change the channel because it doesn’t interest you, you were in the minority as some crazy figure says that 80% of the country was interested. If you changed the channel you were somehow out of touch and out of step. Ironic as most people go to the internet for the news vs. TV, making anyone following CNN more likely to be out of step.

I guess what I’m saying is that broadcast news is going to go the way of print journalism, but even faster and with less loss. Print is still important because it puts a lot more responsibility on the journalist and forces them to actually be journalists vs. just pretty talking heads on the idiot box. It also forces the reader to invest some brain power beyond simply scrolling through headlines. TV infotainment is only going to get worst, and this concentration on making the journalist, or rather newscaster, the story, is just like giving a cancer patient cigarettes; one way or another they’re going to die.


Melville’s Love Life

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2014 by willard43

I don’t give a fuck who Herman Melville slept with. I don’t think Herman Melville gave much of a fuck either, to be honest. And yet any discussion of Melville in our time inevitably leads to theories of his homosexual nature seeping into his work. I get it, anything nautical or penal gets discussed our┬ásnickering, prurient interest, rife in our 21st-century culture, rears its ugly, slavering head. I feel like Carmella Soprano in that episode where “Billy Budd” is being discussed during dinner at her daughter Meadow’s apartment; “everything is not gay!” she frantically exclaims as the inevitable theories of homosexual love come into the conversation.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it centers around an attractive, albeit stuttering, young seamen aboard an 18th-century, British man-of-war who kills his master-at-arms. Go ahead…titter away at “seaman” and “master-at-arms” or even just the fact that it’s a Navy story. My contention is that we miss the very point of the story by concentrating on this prurient interest. Just like our culture is far more interesting in what actors are wearing or who they’re fucking than their roles and their movies. Hell, we’ve created “reality TV” so we can do away with plot and story and watch nothing but naked, brutal drama (or rather manufactured melodrama) to appeal to that prurient interest. We’ve become a nation of Gladys Kravitzes who no longer have to get up to look out the window, but who can simply switch through channels of our neighbors’ exploits. Oh no, Melville couldn’t have possibly been commenting on human nature or themes of God, society, justice, or the disparity between the classes as played out in microcosm aboard a ship. No, it’s got to be a gay story, right!? For fuck’s sake, it’s got to do with the Navy and “seamen!”

This, of course, draws the criticism that I’m homophobic, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. I can’t be homophobic if I don’t give a shit who fucks who. I don’t care who fucks who unless it has to do with me. I’m not liberal. I’m not progressive. I’m not “straight not narrow,” I just don’t give a fuck who’s fucking who outside of my own bedroom and excluding my children, and only for simple parental concern. I don’t think I’m alone either. In fact, I’d wager that, regardless of whether Melville was homosexual, bisexual or liked to rub a cheese grater on his dick, his stories were not about sexuality. I can’t prove he was or wasn’t, and it’s moot; his writing is not about his sexuality or anyone’s sexuality. I won’t say that his sexuality, whatever it may be, didn’t inform his writing on some level, but it was not a central theme. “Moby Dick” was just not that obvious.