Sunday, April 24, 2005

Back in the US: Part I

From my writings upon first re-entering the US from Brasil two weeks ago.

Back in the US

So, one of the first things I encounter upon getting back home here in the US is “CNN Morning”, which perhaps would be better named as “Clusterfuck Morning” or “Circle Jerk Morning” or “Oh my God this isn’t even funny any more kill me now…. Morning”. Why this dismay and vitriol on my part? Because I entered the US and in the terminal was subject to some kind of important earth-shaking news about SMUCKER’S and how they had made some new confection or muffin or some shit with CRINKLES around the edges. To be fair, I think the reason they were talking about it is because someone sued Sfucker’s or Sfucker’s sued someone over the recipe or idea or the copyright of peanut butter & jelly or something, but c’mon – does it FUCKING MATTER?

Not that there’s no place for this type of “puff piece” news – not everything needs to be talking about Tom Delay’s being chased down like a wounded wolf by the other bloodthirsty wolves in his pack (PS: I’ve been out of the news loop for a little while, but when Rick “Santorum” Santorum is saying you oughta rethink and/or apologize and/or step down, and the Conservative “News” Network is running it matter-of-factly and not as “Democrats claim that” – well, the pack’s closing in on you, and you’re losing a lot of blood). To be precise: the time for this kind of puff news is when YOU’RE 5 and you’re WATCHING SESAME STREET. Or in the present in some alternate universe when there’s just NOTHING ELSE TO REPORT ON (sort of like the day some years ago when the front page of the Detroit News was something like “Upstart Canton tries to Upstage Plymouth” – about my quasi-hometown Canton, MI which was/is trying to buy culture from the much older Plymouth – i.e. buy off the Plymouth Symphony Orchestra and the Plymouth Players with new facilities in Canton providing they become the CSO and the Canton Players; I think they’re overcompensating for having been the home of the Cow Chip festival some years back, raising the horrifying – to my sister – reality that there was, at a time in living memory, a Queen of the Cow Chip Festival). Some universe where there’s universal world peace, and you’re snowed in by a blizzard in the middle of nowhere.

I just came back from Brasil, which has its share of superficial news, but the time and place for “is the crinkly crust trademarked” is the show with a woman who looks like Joan Rivers only still made of flesh instead of space-age synthetic materials, and her parrot puppet as a sidekick – it’s sort of like Sesame Street meets Oprah meets the Today Show.

Ok, obviously CNN is trying to compete with the Today Show. Then, you know, just don’t call it news, ok? Or “American.” They can keep “Morning.” (“Welcome to the Cable News Network’s American Morning!!!!”)

Walking into one of the airport news kiosks, I was also BARRAGED with Brad Pitt making out with some other mega-star, and bunches of “IT’S TRUE!” headlines. And some stuff about Benicio del Toro’s elevator antics, Morgan Freeman’s taste in Cigars, Britney, Jessica, and Reese’s marriages/babies/whatever (nothing screams “important and pertinent news story” like a cover with 3 bleached blond starlets), and US News & World Report leading with Charles & Camilla. And Time had something on the cover that was “TIME’S 100 MOST” something something. It didn’t say something something, it’s just that whatever there actually was 100 of, the print was too small to see from a ways off. Apparently “100” and “Most” were the, well, most important part of the story. I took pass on finding out what (so hopefully it wasn’t “100 MOST brilliant and important news stories including successful new cures to cancer”).

Now, Brasil has its fair share of star news as well – they are probably more invasive and have at least as much star stuff as anywhere else – but one thing that made sense to me about their kiosks: The ACTUAL news was displayed as or more prominently as the “news”. You could find the Estado de Minas, Estado de São Paulo, Folha de São Paulo and, I don’t know, Hoje em Dia or something in the front, in easy view. Whereas here, I had to cross to behind the check-out counter to see any broadsheets whatsoever. It would be vastly exaggerating to call it the “Actual News Ghetto,” but when has hyperbole ever stopped me – let’s just call it the Actual News Ghetto.

I am very glad to be back where: there’s less smoking, my family is, my girlfriend is, my other friends are (including the soon to be married Mrs. Noroon “Milk” Mollon), my school and office is, my wonderful, much-weaker large-mug coffee is, etc. But the news thing: dude. Seriously. Not cool.


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