I can’t tell you how many times I was reminded yesterday that it was the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and I expect to be reminded at least that many times that today is the 30th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. As someone who has always disliked anniversary journalism — the lazy morning-show producer’s friend, as s/he fills hour after hour with salutes to marshmallow fluff (celebrating its 50th, all this year!) and looks back at the O.J. Simpson case, now 16 years past — well, I disapprove.
I guess I do, anyway. When I’m bored, sometimes I look to Google for amusement. Today’s search: “today is the” + “anniversary of” and the results, while Pearl Harbor- and Lennon-specific today, reveal just how far we will go for a news peg:
March 15, 2010 — Today is the 25th anniversary of the first .com URL.
November 28, 2010 — Today is the 115th anniversary of the first car race.
September 8, 2010 — Today is the 26th anniversary of Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon.
And so on. Anniversary journalism is cheap, easy and makes everyone feel good, even on bad-news anniversaries. People who weren’t alive when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor can post “I remember” on their Facebook pages and maybe change their profile picture to a flag. So patriotic! So easy!
I’ll grant you John Lennon, today. Anniversaries that end with a zero or 5 get dispensation. But cool it for 31, please.
I can’t believe I once followed Ted Turner around CNN on the day of its birth and watched as he was asked, over and over, “But how will you fill 24 hours with all-news programming?” The answer: With people yelling at one another. And with anniversary pieces.
A late update today. I apologize. I’ve been reading a bit about Elizabeth Edwards, and hoping I die forgotten and obscure, so as to not scare up the squadrons of drive-by biographers Edwards did. She’s a saint, she’s a bitch, she’s a devoted mother, she’s a selfish mother, she’s this, that and the other thing. Of course she is — was — all these things, which the better obits captured. My favorite was the Washington Post’s, which contains this gem:
(Screeching right-wing harpy Ann) Coulter verbally attacked her husband and said she wished “he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” Ms. Edwards, spotting Coulter on the MSNBC talk show “Hardball,” called in and on the air insisted politely but firmly that she refrain from personal attacks. Coulter refused to apologize and attacked the Edwards campaign for raising money by using her words. But the confrontation appeared to be a tipping point, costing Coulter advertisers and clients for her opinion column.
That right there is worth a free pass to heaven in my book, or at least a millennium of time off in purgatory. I know Ann has fallen on leaner times of late, but I didn’t know the dustup with Edwards was the instigator.
And then there’s Christine O’Donnell’s take. Why is this woman still in my newspaper? Don’t losers know enough to go away anymore?
She’s going to report him to President Obama? Is Helen Thomas old, confused or just a little spluttery, as we all get from time to time?
And now to do some real work for a change.