Television news is amazing. How is it that so many channels fill their day with half-information that is simultaneously vague, terrifying, or very both is impressive. I saw a story on MSNBC (maybe CNN?) recently about a fertility clinic from the ’80s that tried to create brilliant offspring by having genius donors. (No relation to the band Offspring, who I assume simply like the word.) This clinic wanted Nobel Prize winners to donate their fruit (I think they got three winners—which beats me by two—that is if in fact I do one day win the Nobel Prize for Awesomeness, a category I intend to eventually pitch) but ended up with just a lot of affluent doctors and businessmen, I believe. The story was mostly about a 21-year-old girl, who was conceived through this clinic, and was now a world-class opera singer. The story touched lightly upon issues involving genetically engineering “smarter” people, but was mostly a vague feel-good piece about a girl opera singer and a doctor that wanted to breed geniuses.
The best part? When the piece was done it came back to the anchor desk. Two attractive middle-aged anchor ladies (one was Asian, relax) waited to chime in with a witty comment before going on to sort of talk about the war or maybe government. That’s when one of the women said, “Some people compare this doctor’s methods to the Nazis.” And then they went on. Wait. What?
“Some people compare this doctor’s methods to the Nazis.”
You don’t want to explore that further? You’re done? It felt like the story went, “This girl has a pretty singing voice. A doctor made her. Or her likeable, wealthy parents. These are some of the things robots would wonder about genetic manipulation. Also, Nazis. Bye!”
People love comparing things to Nazis. It’s a reference point that everyone (except Nazis) agrees is awful. Some people compare Bush to Nazis. Anyway, I guess comparing something to Nazis and not elaborating is a weird way to end a story (but can have an amusing effect if done in the middle of a blog—META ALERT!!!!)
On an unrelated, but still news-based event, I saw Al Roker (possibly high on Dust, definitely acting super weird) on the Tony Danza Show (please watch it.) Al was furious at print media’s criticism about him falling down on a barefoot man propping him up on a hotel balcony during a hurricane. He railed against print media (who referred to his balcony escapade as grandstanding.) He jabbed his turkey carving fork into the stomach of print media (which wounded it terribly, but gave it enough time to get the hospital.) How? He pointed out that Television News beats Print News to the Story. (He kept repeating it. Like five, ten times.) And he’s right. If the story is about wind. Then television is a much better way to accurately show wind stories. Some may disagree with Al, but those people 1) don’t have the guts to climb down a building on Halloween dressed as Batman and Robin, something Al and someone else famous did on the Today Show and 2) probably work in print news—or what TV anchors simply call “SloFo”—short for Slow Information. (I made up a pretty good term. Let’s get that shit into mainstream media.)
HOLY SHIT! Because I changed my cable provider I now have Fox News. I never had it before. (I’d seen it a handful of times.) It’s probably the only truly bad-ass news station. My favorite thing, and something they air all the time, is a commercial for The O’Reilly Factor. In it, Bill O’Reilly is yelling at some bewildered guy, “I know you! That’s not what you think!” (Bill O’Reilly would definitely be my favorite person to be secretly gay.) The commercial gives the impression that O’Reilly doesn’t know the person, and couldn’t accurately convey this person’s side of whatever the story is. Still, he does get Reillyed up. And it is adorable.
(On a side note, here are some nicknames for Gay Bill O’Reilly—Gay ‘Reilly, Kissy Yells, The Factor, and Cuddles O’Yelly.)
To end all this, last winter I caught a bunch of ads on ABC news about something (in a very menacing tone) “hidden in the snow that could hurt your dog!” The ad was so scary and so funny. I missed the actual story, though. But I then called ABC news to find out what was HIDDEN IN THE SNOW THAT COULD HURT/KILL MY DOG. I investigated the investigators! Here’s the phone call. The man I talk to is so incredibly annoyed (which I feel slightly bad about) at having to find the information for me. I guess that’s the trade off for having extremely stupid news. As Spiderman said, “With great lack of responsibility comes annoyance.”
P.S. I think comparing Bush to Nazis is very inaccurate. However, comparing his policies to a semi-successful ’80s band that had a few hits and then ended certain social programs makes sense. Maybe Karate Kid Three (fuck! That’s a movie, sorry.) How about Jefferson Starship? No. Maybe Skid Row? Sebastian Bach did wear an offensive t-shirt on MTV and threw a bottle at someone in an audience. That’s sort of similar to Bush.
I’ll leave you with some Skid Row lyrics (from darklyrics.com) and let you decide:
18 and Life
Tequila in his heartbeat, His veins burned gasoline./It kept his motor running but it never kept him clean./They say he loved adventure, “Ricky’s the wild one.”/He married trouble and had a courtship with a gun./Bang Bang Shoot ’em up, The party never ends./You can’t think of dying when the bottle’s your best friend/And now it’s
18 and Life, you got it/18 and Life, you know/Your crime is time, and it’s/18 and life to go
Youth Gone Wild
Since I was born they couldn’t hold me down/Another misfit kid, another burned-out town
Never played by the rules I never really cared/My nasty reputation takes me everywhere
I look and see it’s not only me/So many others have stood where I stand/We are the young so raise your hands
They call us problem child/We spend our lives on trial/We walk an endless mile/We are the youth gone wild
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 23, 2005