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Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television. - Woody Allen
Maybe I’m overly sensitive, because I have become such a fan of HBO’s Newsroom, but I am even more critical of what I see on the magic box in my house of late. Damn it, I like TV, and I want to be better. I don’t want to be one of those Lost Souls who walk around with their noses in the air, looking down on everyone who dares admit that they enjoy watching something they have seen on TV.
But we aren’t talking about news today. No, Cadaverous Reader, today we’ll dare to dip our toes into the murky waters of day time talk shows again.
I haven’t traveled there since my piece on Ellen DeGeneres some time back, which upset a few of her most rabid viewers. Do people really only get cable so they can watch her show? I should stop carping; they ain’t gonna be saying that about my show any time soon.
Another bit of reluctance I have is due to this:
I have always had sort of a crush on Katie Couric.
Oh my god, I’ve gone ahead and said it. Do I feel better? Well, no, not especially, but it is something heavy to take around with you, especially when you “accidentally” switch the channel over to her show when your wife isn’t paying attention. “Oh? Were you watching something else? Sorry!”
There are support groups for this, I suppose, but the idea of being in a room with a bunch of seedy-looking guys who all get up and say, “Hi, I’m Harvey Wallbanger and I have a crush on Katie Couric,” is a little much for me. I’ll find a way to deal with it on my own, thank you very much.
Though if she has more shows like her recent one devoted to reality TV, the love may be gone forever. Now, I realize that (unlike the world of public access) hosts on commercial television rarely get to pick their own guests, but still . . .
Katie Couric is the journalist, after all, who while working for CBS, without even breaking a sweat, revealed the dangerous jungle-gym mind of Reality Show Governor Sarah Palin. In this brief exchange, Palin revealed she couldn’t even make it on Hollywood Squares, where the folks on the boxes frequently ad-libbed
COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?
PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media, coming f—
COURIC: But like which ones specifically? I’m curious that you—
PALIN: Um, all of 'em, any of 'em that, um, have, have been in front of me over all these years. Um, I have a va—
COURIC: Can you name a few?
PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where, it's kind of suggested and it seems like, 'Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C. may be thinking and doing when you live up there in Alaska?' Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
Alaska may not be a foreign country, but the mind of Sara Palin is, I think.
And now Katie Couric has a daytime talk show. And she had a program devoted to the buffoons (and their equally buffoonish world view, if you get right down to it) of reality TV.
Daytime talk shows, where audiences applaud wildly like lemmings if a guest announces they bought a new pair of socks before coming on the show, and folks like Mike Huckabee can BS the women on The View with his backwoods charm, are just one small step above reality TV.
You want intelligent conversation and wit, without hosts fawning all over their guests?
Oh, buy the DVD collection of Dick Cavett, you dinosaur.
Well, her ratings seem to be good, so obviously most of America’s views on daytime talk shows aren’t mine.
But, Oh, Katie, I remember that one time when you held that lantern aloft, like Diogenes . . .
My “Jesus and the money-changers” moment at the grocery store
My thoughts went back to Newsroom again this past week, as we were checking out our groceries at the grocery check out line, and my eye upon the National Enquirer, with the headline:
“The Secret Muslim Life of Janet Jackson”
Evidently, according to the newspaper which inspired the rag that Jack McGee, the hack reporter who pursued the Hulk for so many years on TV, wants to tell us all of the “shocking secret” that Janet Jackson is hiding from her fans.
For one wild second or two, I had an urge to rip the rack out by force and hurl it into the parking lot, scattering the filth and innuendo under the tires of passing vehicles. Coming back into the store, I would have announced, “There! What do you think of that!”
Yeah, I know. Jail, accompanied by the anguished cries of, "Hey, I wanted to read that article!"
This sort of nonsense appeals to the gossip in all of us, but trash like the Jackson article appeals to the most racist instincts of our friends and neighbors, and even threaten to bring some up from inside ourselves.
But the tabloids know what sells.
Yeah, I know, I could keep my head in the pretentious clouds and pretend this stuff isn’t out there, like so many people I know, but you know what, this sort of trash can help manipulate our national “dialogue” (god, I hate that stupid word) and even sway elections, as they can hone attitudes, without our even realizing it.
Just ask those “shocked” fans of Janet Jackson.
Quote of the Day
When will the public cease to insult the teacher’s calling with empty flattery? When will men who would never for a moment encourage their own sons to enter the work of public schools cease to tell us that education is the greatest and noblest of all human callings? - William C. Bagley