Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Mediocre Is The Message

Heck of a week, America.

The endless news cycle offered via television can't be a good thing to consume in any quantity. I do limit myself for sake of my own dubious sanity. Perhaps the burnout factor was linked to my viewing for the first time some (I could not stomach all) of the 30-minute gossip-fest called TMZ. Some clueless chuckleheads standing in a faux newsroom talking about which celebrity was seen doing something mundane in their private life. Fame and information all tumble together into a rather nasty slurry and pointless non-event.

But I did sense some ugly parallels to the TV news biz, where the screeching, endless hours of pundits-in-the-pulpits define themselves by defaming and defending personalities whose names and minute activities make up the "news". If you don't notice such common themes, then my explanations of them will not offer you illumination.

For me, what I sense most is this lack of depth, a lack of useful investigative coverage. We are proffered slabs of scandal instead, with just enough time for a breakaway report to a separate potential scandal, then back to a panel discussion of chattering nonsense about the scandal of the moment.

This week has been a feeding frenzy about former Governor Spitzer and former congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro. Hookers and racism make for hefty ratings. I do feel for the folks in the TV news biz - their income depends on being ratings winners not on in-depth reporting. So much advertising revenue from drug companies, insurance companies, banking and finance companies, car makers, and a host of others who these days are in dismal shape in a blooper-reel of failures and corruption, so I'm sure they prefer the focus be on anything except them.

Fame and the deconstruction of Fame is so much more camera-cuddly.

If the old adage "The medium is the message" remains valid, then the message isn't a good one. It's a continued state of self-absorption which may well cause many folks to actually disappear into an individual gravitational collapse leaving only a black hole where once a person existed and now only a dark place which sucks in any flickering light remains.

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