A question, with all due deference to our dear friend Vince, who is not part of this particular problem:
Why the hell does anyone watch local TV news?
I watched my own last night, to see if today’s plans — telephoning, work, sparring with the mortgage guy (6.1 percent?!? I don’t think so), making beef stew — are going to be shot to hell by a school delay or cancellation. We’ve been under a winter storm warning for about two days now, giving the local weathercasters ample time to inflate an entirely normal winter event into a near-apocalypse.
You’ve heard this whine before, though. This time I paid more attention to the other things that always bug me — the way the girl anchor delivers her line, then turns to look expectantly at the boy anchor; the vertically folded script, a meme that must have been peddled by consultants; the toss to the reporter on the set, who pretends that what she heard at the school board meeting is so very, very important, the overarching sense of incredible urgency,. I mean: Who falls for this crap? It’s worse than talk radio. All I want is a weather report! And not one with furrowed brows! Sheesh.
No wonder Jon Stewart is so huge.
Go read G. Beato’s piece in Reason on the year in excuses, rationalization and other equivocating.
And I missed this on Monday, but …wow. This is tops in tasteless, the rest of the story of WashPost reporter Michael Dobbs’ tsunami experience, presented here as more of an Annals of Ruined Vacations piece for a really cool cutting-edge travel magazine:
Taprobane is a tear-shaped rock just off the southernmost tip of the tear-shaped island of Sri Lanka. In the 1920s, a bogus French aristocrat created a luxuriant garden on the rock, topped by an exotic octagonal villa. In the decades since then, Taprobane has played host to a succession of aesthetes and eccentrics, ranging from the writer Paul Bowles to the art patron Peggy Guggenheim to the adventurer Arthur C. Clarke. My brother, a Hong Kong businessman who bought Taprobane a decade ago, markets it to rich Americans and Europeans as “the isle of dreams.” Geoffrey, who is known for throwing fabulous parties, had invited an eclectic selection of guests to this isle of dreams to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.
…The first few hours after the disaster seem almost unreal. My brother was worried about his other properties along the coast — and we were all in a kind of trance. At one point, a helicopter hovered overhead, looking for survivors. “What they don’t know is that we are all down here, eating Stilton,” cracked one of the Aussies. …We drove up the coast along a trail of ruined homes, twisted buses and wrecked fishing boats to the city of Galle. My brother has a little hotel there, on a hill above the devastated commercial district. The last paying guests were leaving, and the Last Days of the Raj atmosphere Geoffrey works so hard to cultivate was giving way to the grim camaraderie of a MASH ward. Dazed tourists streamed in with stories of collapsed beach cabanas and days and nights in the jungle.
…On our last night in Sri Lanka before heading back to Washington, Olivia told me that the experience had made her aware, for the first time, how lucky she is to live in the United States. Alex, a junior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, is reluctant to tell us what she thinks because it would come out sounding “too sappy.” But she hopes to establish ties between Whitman and schools in Weligama.
Only 12-year-old Jojo, a sports fanatic with a tough-guy persona, seems impervious to the wave of altruism sweeping through the Dobbs family. “The good thing about all this,” he told us, as we cut short our vacation, “is that we will be back in Washington for the last Redskins game of the season.”
Oh, thank GOD.