One of the things I’ve learned from this blog after nearly eight years of keeping it daily, or nearly so:
Sometimes you’re just not that into it.
I suppose it’s inevitable. The election nearly killed many of us, and even though the news has not stopped or even slowed down — economic meltdown, brink-of-disaster-Detroit, Mumbai bloodbaths, hello newspaper what horrors have you brought me today? — it lacks a certain frisson of late, and that frisson is: Opposition. You could get into the election because no matter who you were rooting for, there was a guy on the other side, and you were working toward the crushing defeat of that guy, and when it happened or didn’t happen, we had, what’s the word? Closure. I hate that word, because it’s bullshit, and because it implies that stories end. Stories never end, which we’re discovering now. To be sure, a curtain rang down on November 4, but on November 5 Sarah Palin was still with us and campaigning was giving way to governing and the narrative wasn’t nearly so clear.
It isn’t just me. Even Rachel Maddow is getting on my nerves of late. Keith Olbermann has gone back to being supremely annoying. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert keep their standards high, but if it weren’t for that Christmas special, who knows how I’d feel?
Anyway, it just seems like a little air has gone out of the balloon, and many days I sit down to the blinking cursor with one thought uppermost in mind: Meh. It’ll pass; it always has in the past. And this isn’t navel-gazing. I’m telling you so if one day you check in and see a sign reading, “Gone to Texas,” you’ll know it wasn’t you, it was me.
Texas. I should be so lucky.
So today the New York Times has a story on Page One, about the way cost-cutting is hitting local TV news, and that is: Farewell to the highly paid local-TV anchor. I am hearing the sound of the world’s tiniest violin, and it is playing a sad, sad song. While a part of me can empathize with any journalist who’s feeling a moving rug underfoot, anyone who’s worked in newspapers isn’t going to be moved much by hearing the local show pony down at Channel 6 is losing their six- or seven-figure salary. Especially those of us who’ve worked outside the big cities, and may have known a few of these lucky bastards personally, may have trouble empathizing. It’s hard to accept, sometimes, that simply by virtue of showing up every night at 6 and 11, they have the power to command advertisers, and hence earn their dough. You think: Even viewers in this town aren’t that stupid. And yet they are.
It’s the passing of an era, to be sure. How many entertaining stories have we heard through the years? The adulterous male-female anchor team, caught making the two-backed beast in a deserted state park somewhere. The blow-dried talking head, annual salary somewhere north of $450,000 a year, enraging the local stripper community with his attempts to tip with quarters. (They called the station to complain.) The female anchor, arrested for DUI after her car pinballed off the Jersey barrier one too many times. Another so thoroughly useless around the newsroom for any job other than smiling and reading, told by the news director that she needn’t bother trying to actually write any copy. Dinosaurs stumbling into their own version of the tar pits. All that will be left are the veneers and the toupees.
Off to start the day with a little exercise. Envy me, world: I have the metabolism of a
50-year-old 51-year-old woman.