Friday, June 13, 2008
On Dowd and the MediaOkay. There are no sporting events that I want to watch tonight, so I am left with nothing to do but post my humble opinion on the internet. My partner is out of town, so I am enjoying a dinner of frozen pepperoni pizza, cheetos, and two bottles of Stella Artois, that I put in the freezer for 32 minutes to chill them to the optimum drinking temperature. When my partner is gone, I sort of revert to my unmarried days, eating things that are bad for me, drinking beer, and leaving wet towels on the floor. I know why I eat things like pepperoni pizza, and drink beer, I do it because they taste good. The wet towel thing...I'm not sure, I think I am so used to being reminded not to do it, that when I can actually do it without the sharp look and the raised eyebrows of my spouse, I think I am doing something daring, and getting away with it. The wet towel rebellion is over-rated. It feels good for a moment, not having to hang it up, but after a couple of days, it starts to smell pretty funky. And I always have to dash through the house the day before my partner comes home, picking up funky towels, washing dirty dishes, and taking out the trash which has accumulated for most of the week, and has sprouted evil-looking spoores. I always enjoy the time I get to spend alone letting my inner slob have run of the house, but I am truly grateful when my partner comes home, and I am required to return to a more stable and healthy environment.
But this post was supposed to be about the media, and Maureen Dowd.
I used to read Maureen Dowd religiously. I bought her books. I wanted to be just like her, but I wasn't as smart as her, or anywhere near as talented a writer. I used to go to these panel discussions at Georgetown, when she was speaking, and I really liked the way she looked in those black dresses, and wished that I could be even a tiny percentage as clever as she was. But at some point, she just got a little too clever, and a little too smart. She started treating our countries leaders like cartoon characters. And you know, for some of them, a cartoon drawing is just about right on. But she doesn't really like any candidate. She writes like she is just about the smartest person in the known universe, and maybe she truly is, but the things she wrote about Al Gore, were petty, and the gossip she repeats about Michelle Obama is petty. If she is so smart, why does she need to be so clever? Why can't you sell smart in the media, without the sarcasm and the negativity? Why can't you just state the facts? Yes Al Gore was boring, he didn't really invent the Internet, but what's wrong with boring? I would have been perfectly happy to have had a boring President for the last eight years, the drama we have had instead, has nearly destroyed our nation.
Boring is bad for ratings, and doesn't sell newpapers.
The really dramatic issues that face us today, will not be spoken of by Maureen Dowd. And some of the headlines that you could print today that would really be true, are seriously dramatic, but won't be printed. You could seriously say, " The US Economy is About to Collapse ", you could seriously print, " The Climate Crisis Threatens Humanity", you could even get really dramatic and print, "Next Year, You Will Not Have a Job, And Your Retirement Savings Will BE Gone". But we don't print that sort of drama, it is too real, instead we talk about a candidate's faith, his jeans, or his wife. What the F is wrong with our nation, that we focus on gossip, and ignore the extreme weather issues that are happening now, as we speak? I understand the desire to be clever, as a writer, I always begin with a punchline in mind, and if I can't find one, I can't write. And as much as I try to find humor in serious issues, in reality, they scare the shit out of me.
The big stories on the primaries this year have been about Clinton being a racist, Obama and his pastor, Clinton's husband, and now Obama's wife. The solutions that the candidates have for the serious issues have not recieved much attention.
And that's troubling.
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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