Friday, October 16, 2009

The World Stops When Bizarre Things Happen

Posted by Broadway Carl

How else do you explain the nonstop coverage of today's story about a runaway balloon allegedly with a six-year old boy along for the ride? Once the balloon landed, and no boy was found, the very first thing I thought was that the boy let the balloon go and realizing how stupid it was, decided to hide for fear of getting in major trouble. If I were six years old and did something as asinine, I'd hide too!

The story has a "happy" ending. Despite horrid thoughts and speculation by bearded CNN pundits of a box or basket that was attached to the balloon in which the little fly boy hopped in and eventually plummeted to his death while 10,000 feet high, he was eventually found hiding in his attic, scared shitless of the Major League trouble he would be in.

And yet, hours after the homemade weather balloon landed two counties away sans kid, we were forced to watch speculators and and pseudo-pundits trying to figure out how high the balloon got, if it could handle the weight of a child and the basket he was supposedly in, all while watching the same 30 seconds of footage of the flying balloon, followed by 30 seconds of the balloon landing, followed by 30 seconds of the flying balloon that we'd just seen.

The world stopped while this balloon was in the air. Nothing else was happening. At least not according to the 24/7 news media outlets. And even after the boy was found, they kept talking about it! Nothing happened on the health care front. Everyone forgot to criticize President Obama's trip to New Orleans. Yet we were mesmerized by the balloon story. That silver, mylar, flying saucer shaped balloon put most of us in a trance even when there was NO NEW NEWS to report for hours.

This is the problem with 24 hour news outlets. When does breaking news stop becoming breaking news? Even when the story is long over, it's still "Breaking News" and real news gets ignored. Sensationalism is only sensational when something sensational happens, whether it be the balloon boy, or Natalee Halloway or Anna Nicole Smith or Michael Jackson. I wish someone would let cable news producers in on that little tidbit of information.

UPDATE: SURPRISE! (Not.) Balloon Boy Hoax

Falcon Heene: "You guys said that we did it for the show."

When I found out about Balloon Boy, my first instinct after I heard he wasn't on the balloon after it had landed was that he had untethered it, and fearing the wrath of mommy and daddy, decided to hide out. When I found out that these people were on ABC's Wife Swap, my cynical side immediately took over and I thought mom and dad might be attention hounds or that it might be a publicity stunt. Luckily for us, six-year olds are too honest when under pressure, you know, like during a live TV interview.

I wonder if Mr. Heene is going to get a nice, fat invoice for the emergency resources that were used in searching for a child that wasn't lost?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Prize, Wingnuts Crap Cages

Posted by Broadway Carl

Anti-Obama all the time. America loses 2016 Olympics and "WOOHOO!" Obama sucks! He couldn't seal the deal! This only proves that the world really hates him. Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize and "WHAAAA?!?!!" Political fallout! What will the right say? What will Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and *gasp!* Rush Limbaugh say about it?

And I say, "Who gives a shit what the nutballs have to say?" They are preaching to their ever shrinking choir. They will tell their audience of 30 percenters what they want to hear. So why is this any different than any other day, other than the fact that the rest of the reasonable, sane population should feel a sense of pride that their country's leader, only the third sitting President in the history of the nation, should receive such an honor?

When Limbaugh gets himself into such a lather to the point of agreeing with the Taliban, and lumps his audience in with that assertion while calling President Barack "Nobel Peace Prize" Obama a "worldwide joke," and saying it's "a greater embarrassment that losing the Olympics bid," then you know you're on the right track. Really? Winning the Nobel Peace Prize is an embarrassment? How does he rate getting busted with illegal Viagra prescriptions at the airport?

So let them fling their feces. They do it every day. It only proves their simian intellect. What difference does another reason make when every day we sit in a front row seat at the viewing of Glenn Beck dirtying his underpants? Just another a day in the life of the disinformers and the misinformed.

ADDING... Rachel Maddow dissects this situation perfectly.

Obama Derangement Syndrome

Originally posted October 9th

Monday, October 05, 2009

Other people's sex lives

Ever since then-President Clinton was practically burned at the stake by our highly-principled news media for his affair with Monica Lewinsky, I've been fascinated by the pull that this type of adultery story seems to exhibit. I totally understand the concern that a person in a position of power could abuse that position to demand sexual favors from staff members. If that had been the case with Clinton, then yes, my journalistic instincts tell me that would have been a story. But with a willing, adult-age partner, where is the story? A guy cheated on his wife? These things do happen. Dog bites man. Not a story.

I've been reminded of all this in reading the tons of ink spilled on the David Letterman adultery story. Unless I’ve missed something, it doesn’t seem that any of the women Letterman apparently slept with have accused him of demanding sex in return for job perks or promotions or continued employment. Nobody is saying he preyed on underage staffers. So why the hell does anyone care? Did the guy break any laws? If not, why does the media feel inclined to beat this story to death? I guess in this case the answer is the same as it usually is: this story is being over-covered because it’s an easy story to cover. (Our media is nothing if not lazy.) There’s ready-made video with Dave’s noteworthy on-air discussion of the events, in an effort to take control of the narrative from the guy trying to blackmail him. And as much as we love our celebrities in America, we love seeing them beaten down even more. A humiliated celebrity is far better news fodder than a famous person on top of the world.

That said, I find the Associated Press’ hand-wringing in the above-linked story quite interesting. What must Dave do to keep women viewers, the AP wonders? Speaking as a (sigh) middle-aged married woman, I have to say that nothing about this whole thing bothers me, aside from the media’s over-reaction to it. Letterman’s sex life concerns me precisely as much as Bill Clinton’s sex life concerned me back in the 1990s: not one goddamn bit. Why shouldn’t I keep watching Letterman’s show? Don’t I have more pressing things to worry about? How immature am I supposed to be, exactly?

The last thing I want to waste time worrying about is other people’s legal, consensual sexual activities. Period. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. But the media will never admit that most people simply don’t care about this stuff.

Cross-posted at Broadway Carl's Blog-O-Mania

Friday, October 02, 2009

Rep. Alan Grayson: GOP Nothing But "Knuckle Dragging Neanderthals"

Posted by Broadway Carl

I never thought I could run for elected office because, as evidenced by my blog, I can be crass, foul-mouthed and generally tend to cast any sense of decorum out the window. (I'm not smart enough either, but judging by the current crop of GOP elected officials, I don't think that's much of a hurdle anymore.)

Now I have new found hope! Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) is my new hero. Not only did he turn the tables on the Republican party's use of "death panels" and "health care reform equals dead people" rhetoric, but he refused to apologize for saying that the GOP Health Care Plan is to "die quickly" if you get sick on the floor of the House. And to top it off, while being interviewed by Rachel Maddow, Grayson added that the Republican party is "utterly unscrupulous. These are foot dragging, knuckle dragging Neanderthals."

Crack open a beer, sit back and watch what I can only dream of doing.

Originally posted on September 30th on Broadway Carl's Blog-O-Mania!