The Giggly Twerps on the Evening News

Mike:

There’s a certain pornographic quality about this, these outsiders and
their “journalistic” distance wallowing in the suffering of the poorest
of the poor. I mean how can you watch a woman put her six-year-old son
on a bus by himself in the hopes that somebody on the other end will be
there to pick him up and stand by and do nothing, because it’s not your
job to get involved, it’s just your job to record? That they can show
this live around the world or put it on the radio or the Web instantly
– but these folks are still waiting for aid just adds to how bizarre
and frustrating this all is.

And I bet those people in Haiti are
super happy that the thoughts of the Golden Globe Awards attendees are
with them – if only they had electricity so they could hear that
jackass James Cameron asking Hollywood to give it up for themselves and
how his simple-minded “Dances With Smurfs” movie shows how we’re all
interconnected (and I didn’t watch this – I caught it on YouTube). At
least the actors shown listening had the sense to look uncomfortable
with this nonsense.

And lest you think I am turning into some
liberal-bashing tea-bagger, don’t even get me started on that fat fuck
Rush Limbaugh and how Haiti will be one big publicity stunt for Barack
Obama. Yeah, Rush, Big Barry was just waiting for the hammer to come
down on one of the saddest places on Earth, just so he could bask in
the glory of its redemption. In fact, Obama is one of the X-men, and he
can CAUSE earthquakes, whenever he feels like it, but only to divert
attention away from the health care mess, the two wars, the recession
and Iron Chef faking using vegetable’s from his wife’s White House
garden.

I don’t see your fat ass down in Haiti, Rush, preferring
to let your bitter old white guy meanness pass as humor from a
distance. Which is a good thing, because you look like you’d be better
eating than Katie or Anderson. With all that marbled meat on your bones
and the drugs in your system you’d cook up nicely should it come to
that, marinate in your own juices. And you know that TV sort of
secretly hopes it gets that terribly anarchic.

But for now, it’s
just hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of bodies
piled up on streets and that kid crying “Why God why?” And that’s not a
question lazy-ass, soft-living me likes to hear at 2 a.m.

Because
this all reinforces that despite all the advances in technology,
despite our best intentions – and I do believe we are mostly a nation
of the well-meaning – despite James Cameron being able to make a
special effects movie for $300 million – that sometimes there’s not a
damn thing you can do beyond trying your best. And sometimes that’s not
enough.

First of all, MARRY ME DO IT RIGHT NOW.

Second, discussions of when you put the camera down and pick up the shovel and when you maintain your distance irritate the fuck out of me, because they’re always full of wankers on academic panels who haven’t been in a war zone in decades if ever lecturing somebody about giving a dying kid a bottle of water or else shrieking “HOW CAN YOU BE SO HEARTLESS” at somebody doing his job and showing the world how fucked up things are. There is no wrong answer but everybody gets all abstract and overwrought and it pisses me off because, like, get your ass on a plane and do EITHER ONE. There are enough people to do everything we need done, fix it and report about it, if only everybody would do something. That vast numbers of people do nothing is where it all falls down and we have to make these crazy decisions.

Third, I do believe (in no small part because I have to or the whole thing I do with my life falls apart, let’s just get that out of the way) that there is great value in broadcasting to the world every inch of desperation and degradation in sight, and that if that is all you do, it is vital. You can’t fix problems until you know about them, and at its most basic your job on this earth is to recognize the world around you for what it is. And that requires shoving in people’s faces every night the most horrific things you can find because goddammit, knowing is always better than not knowing. At its most basic, my job as a journalist is to show you what is happening. And as much as I’m horrified by what is going on in Haiti, I’m also grateful to the people making sure I know about it at all by being there with their cameras on. If they do nothing else, they’ve done enough.

Then we get to Katie Couric and the media tent and the press operations and the strange unholiness of anchor banter, chyrons and theme songs for OH MY GOD FIX IT ALREADY. Which is a whole other critter than a BBC crew wandering around with the cameras rolling. TV thrills with its immediacy but pretty much everything feels like an episode of 24 these days, and that’s not an argument about the value of journalism so much as it’s an argument about the value of Katie and the set, stock, formulaic way reporting is done right now, such that it all seems like a piece of plastic until somebody like Shepard Smith loses it and starts yelling at the microphone again.

A.

6 thoughts on “The Giggly Twerps on the Evening News

  1. pansypoo says:

    cameron is an ass. more reason to ignore the oscars.
    i did not watch much disaster porn. not for the evolved.

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  2. The Other Sarah says:

    Thanks for that judgment, pansy poo. Like most of yours, though, I think it stinks.
    Athenae:
    Anderson Cooper got ripped up one side and down the other for actually putting his camera down and picking up a kid who’d been knocked unconscious by thrown concrete, and carrying him to, more-or-less, safety. The people picking on AC for this are seriously fucked in the head, I say. In a place like that at a time like that, if you can get a kid out of the middle of a riot, and you don’t, you’re a worse scumsucker than Scott Brown, which is saying something.
    Oh, and that “old” truck of Brown’s? Notsomuch, with the old, k? Brown drives a 2005 GMC Canyon truck.
    2005 isn’t old. You still find ’em on dealer lots. If he’s put 200,000 miles on a Canyon, he’s been out some money for maintenance — or he bought it secondhand. And 200K isn’t much in the way of miles on a real truck.
    My truck’s not old.
    I drive a ’97 Dodge Ram 1500 Extended cab 4×2, which will carry six adults and is rated to tow 10,000 lb.
    Maybe I ought to run for Senate from Texas. Or maybe I ought to drive for Bill White.

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  3. Athenae says:

    Sarah, that was my point. If you put the camera down you get ripped, if you don’t, you get ripped. If EVERYBODY did something instead of fighting about who’s doing what in a Very Special Symposium at Columbia, we’d be much better off.
    A.

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  4. MapleStreet says:

    What I don’t understand is how the conservatives are actively fighting America looking good.
    What could make us the biggest, baddest, strongest nation on the face of the earth other than standing up to an earthquake and delivering humanitarian aid to the less fortunate?
    Look at the good press we got from the post WWII Berlin Airlift !

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  5. pansypoo says:

    it’s the footage of him doing that that’s a little oooh, look at cooper be good man.

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  6. The Other Sarah says:

    your opinion, pansy poo, has been noted and logged.
    Athenae:
    Like I said: Cooper did the right thing and those railing against him are, to use Lambert Strether of Corrente’s trademarked phrase, FITH. Far as that VSOP (Very special old poohbahs) conference at Columbia, not to put too fine a point on it, what are they actually, you know, doing?
    Have they lifted a finger to help anybody in Haiti? No? Then screw them and their precious symposium.
    Look, I’ve never been a big fan of CNN. (OK, they’re marginally less evil than Fox, but that ain’t sayin’ much.) But Anderson Cooper’s one guy over there, with a job that got him there to tell the world what things looked like, were like, in pictures and with sound. Now, I’m old, A. Way old. Old enough, probably, to be classified as a “parental unit” in your world, maybe even in Cooper’s. I remember when CBS News sent a guy named Dan Rather to Viet Nam. Bullshit happens in disasters and wars, but somebody needed one more hand on a stretcher to get a kid loaded into a dustoff over there, and Rather (who didn’t pack his own camera ’cause we’re talking stone-age tech — he had a guy with him to carry the camera and mic and wear the battery-laden vest and belts to run ’em) picked it up and helped. Got chewed out for it, but he did the right thing; just like AC. It’s old school — be decent.
    So I’m damned proud of him for doing the right thing for that one kid in front of him at that instant.
    Somebody else filmed it? Ok. That’s part of the story of Haiti. But that stretcher with a GI who’d probably lose a limb on it was part of the story of Viet Nam, too.
    I’m listening now to the story of the 5-year-old they found alive today. Cooper’s got on a clean shirt now. I’ve got tears in my eyes. 5.9 aftershock today. Rescue teams coming home, ’cause it’s not so much a rescue op as a recovery op now (shades of Katrina and 11SEP01).
    If there is a successor to Rather, it might be Cooper.
    You don’t gotta be a governor (like Pennsylvania’s) to help (of course our guy, Perry, isn’t remotely interested in helping anybody else go help, let alone in bringing folks here for medical help, but I digress) to help. You can be the guy who grabs one kid and pulls him out of the hail of concrete chunks. So you should, you dig? It’s an EXAMPLE of how to be other than a crappy excuse for a human being (note to pansy poo — it’s an example of how to be other than a crappy excuse for a human being, and therefore it is noteworthy) — and it should be a lesson to those “wise leaders” in Columbia.
    Bitching from the sidelines? Ask Martha Coakley how effective that is, mmkay?

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