Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's the End of the World...details at 11.

Imagine this situation: World coming to end (whatever end you like... Ice, Fire... ), and you have to choose which news network you want to watch it on. You could choose Fox News (Conservative, Sensationally pessimistic), CNN (Liberal, pessimistic because it's probably the Republicans' fault) or Headline News (Smiling to the end).

Dean Koontz talked about Headline News in his book the Taking, fakily smiling through the worst of news, deaths, disasters, whatever, hoping that you'll stick around and watch through the commercials. But well, maybe that's the best option. Whenever I go to bed at night, I usually keep the TV on. I used to keep Jay Leno on, but at about 3am something called Starting Over comes on and I wake up to the wailing of women. ESPN is my normal choice, because Sportscenter stays on for most of the night... until they replay the nightly college football game, and that usually wakes me up. So when that happens, I'll turn it over to Headline News, cause I can go back to sleep knowing that whatever they talk about, there will be no invading missiles into my dreams, no switches of setting to Iraq, and no shouting matches between Senators. Just the mind-numbing repetition of news, things that may or may not make any difference to the world or to me, and the smiling anchor that delivers it all with professional detachment.

So I would choose to watch the end of the world with Headline News, because sometimes we don't want to hear the pessimism of the media, or of the news itself. We want to be desensitized and brushed over (like Sensodyne toothpaste), so that we can go about our lives with the blissful ignorance that nothing will ever happen to us here in the US. I don't think even 9/11 changed that. It did for a little while, but the feeling of security is far too strong here. We escape too much into fantasy worlds, and expect the news services to give us a window into reality that we can peer out of once in a while, detached from the realization that anything could ever effect us. Television has become a vacuum where the real reality has been sucked in, sensationalized, and made harmless for those who live comfortably at home with our electronic gadgets. That's why TV has a "reality" genre. We don't live there anymore, so we watch it on TV. So let the end of the world come, and I'll sit back and not worry about it, cause the people at Headline News will tell about it, right after the next commercial.

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