I’m currently “nuancing” at The Widdershins. Come and join me!
THE SCENE: A swank TV studio, with all the zoomy, whizzy lights, giant flashing screens, deep-pile royal blue carpeting, poreless, lacquered newsbots, and hysterical black-clad assistants one could ever desire. We are in the back of the studio, in the glass-enclosed center of all the action. EDITORS 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all sitting in their leather chairs, directing the action by talking to each other, pointing at their MacBooks, and shouting into their wireless headsets. They are all in their 20′s and have just been promoted after their more experienced bosses “aged out of the business.”
EDITOR 1 (swigging a Red Bull): What’s new on Twitter? We’ve gotta have something for the next segment.
EDITOR 2 (nervously): Let’s see…Demi and Ashton just tweeted…
EDITOR 3 (yawning): Oh please. They tweet when they pee!
EDITOR 4 (pushing in excitedly): Guys, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard just got bombed! A bunch of people died and that DinnerJacket guy is blaming us and the Brits! This could be the start of a huge international incident!
(A brief silence, then:)
EDITORS 1-3 (bursting into laughter): HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
EDITOR 3 (wiping tears from her eyes): Oh, that was a good one! Like anyone cares about that crap these days.
(EDITOR 4 subsides into a humiliated silence.)
EDITOR 2 (eagerly): What about Sarah Palin? Sometimes we can just say her name and people think it’s news!
EDITOR 1 (dismissively): Nahhhh, we tried that two days ago. It bombed.
EDITOR 2 (peevishly): FINE. Uh, uh…Oooooh! (points at his MacBook) Check this out!
(All the EDITORS gather around the screen.)
EDITOR 3 (finally interested): Holy shit! A kid jumped in a balloon in a back yard and it got loose?
EDITOR 2 (proud): Huh? Huh? Is this good or what?
EDITOR 1 (shouting into his headset): Listen up, people! We’ve got something. Get ready to roll in five!
EDITOR 4: This story is unbelievable! Wow, it’s…hmmm.
EDITOR 3 (dismissively): What is it NOW?
EDITOR 4: Well, just shooting it out there, but…what if the kid was never in the balloon to begin with? Or what if he was, but he’s not now? Or what if these parents are making the whole thing up?
EDITOR 1 (after a brief pause): What are you, 25?
EDITOR 4 (nervously): Uh…26.
EDITOR 1 (smugly): I figured. God, you old people just don’t understand the business any more! (gets up and starts pacing) The story’s a win-win. If it’s a hoax, we do a story about the hoax and we milk that for a week. If it’s true, boo-hoo, the kid’s dead – we milk that for a week. If the kid arrives in the balloon safely, we milk his heroic and incredible escape for a week. (suddenly shouting) DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!
(EDITOR 4 looks cowed and ashamed. EDITORS 2 and 3 look happy and superior.)
EDITOR 1 (with chilling finality): You’re fired. (sitting down, shouting into his headset) Hey! You in the black!
(ALL the assistants whirl around at the same time, with hopeful smiles on their faces.)
EDITOR 1 (annoyed): NOT YOU! The guy with the cool hair and soulpatch. Get up here, man.
(The New Guy pumps the air with his fist, then starts making his way to the glass booth as EDITOR #4 exits ignominiously. Suddenly, EDITOR #4 stops his exit, and stands in the middle of the newsroom. He exudes a quiet and desperate dignity which is compelling enough to cause a pause in all the furious activity.)
EDITOR 4: You are all a disgrace to journalism. Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow are ROLLING IN THEIR GRAVES!
(He swoops out dramatically. With a shrug, the buzzing and rushing resume.)
EDITOR 3 (yawning again): What the hell was he talking about?
THE NEW GUY: Should I Google ‘em?
EDITOR 2 (completely uninterested): Whatever. (looks at his MacBook, brightens) Oooh, video!
EDITOR 1 (excitedly): Send it through!
EDITOR 3 (happily): News for a week no matter what happens. We are AWESOME!
(All the EDITORS high-five as:)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A befuddled President Barack Obama was awakened at the crack of noon Monday to more unexpected accolades: He had just won the Most Valuable President (MVP) award for keeping the world turning on its axis, simply by using the power of his enormous brain.
Although the President was difficult to understand before his first cup of coffee and slightly miffed at being roused so early from his bed (well, who among us is really a morning person?), it seemed that, after the disbelief had worn off, he was fully cognizant of the honor and responsibility of being America’s MVP. “Wow,” he exclaimed. “You mean just by thinking about what I’m going to have for lunch, I’m actually powering the rotation of the earth? Far fucking out!” The POTUS was quickly rushed to his bubble bath by the First Lady, as Robert Gibbs, Presidential spokesperson, furiously typed the words “Thank you very much for this unexpected and overwhelming honor” into the Presidential Teleprompter for Obama to read later on in the afternoon.
Unfortunately, not everyone is thrilled with this year’s recipient of the MVP Award. Scientists, in particular, are outraged at the counterfactual assertions of the MVP Committee. Said Janet Marksham of the League of Concerned Scientists, “We have, in fact, measured the size of President Obama’s brain, and have found that it is exactly the same size as every other adult male of the species Homo sapiens. In fact, there appears to be no evidence that Obama’s thoughts are powering anything, much less the rotation of the earth!”
Despite the clearly partisan naysayers, America should be very proud of our President becoming the world’s first black MVP. The prize is $10 million, which President Obama is donating to the newly-founded charity, the Malia and Sasha College Fund for Underprivileged Daughters of American Presidents.
—Additional Reporting by S.N. Ark
(Note: Apologies for my absence…I’ve been over at The Widdershins.)
I’m still processing what I experienced on Friday night at The White House Project. It was quite exciting to be around those 100 women who are considering running for office, to hear the passion, trepidation and hope in their voices. It was also a privilege to hear the wise words of the women who have been successful (and who have failed) in the brutal world of politics. I got a good “get” from the event, too: I will have an interview with a fantastic lady, New York State Senator Liz Krueger for you in a few weeks, as well. Teh kewl!
I’m also processing my thoughts about blogging, the Interwebs, and what they’re really good for. Seems to me, the best thing we do is opinionating, and organizing for action. We’re trying to do a little of both here at TW now, because my opinions are a little dark these days, and I’m having a really hard time trying to keep a positive attitude with all the idiocy that’s going on.
I mean, what planet was the Nobel Peace Prize Committee on? Even the Obama-supporting pundits I’m reading are having a hard time defending the complete clusterfuckiness of that award. Some, like Glenn Greenwald, are not defending it at all; others seem to be resorting to the tried-and-true tactic of skimming over the obvious ridiculousness of it all, blaming the Republicans and, in the case of the DNC, calling those who criticize the award “siding with terrorists.” (I have to admit, I find that “reporter’s” assertion that Ronald Reagan, Mr. Iran-Contra, should have gotten the award, to be quite hilarious.)
Although I sometimes can chuckle at the absurdity of things, in general, I find I have lost my sense of humor. Obama seems bound and determined to make sure that nothing benefiting the needy ever passes through Congress, all the while (successfully?) blaming the Party who is out of power and who literally can do NOTHING to prevent him from doing anything he wants to do. It is really fucking depressing, and the idea that a Republican President and Congress might be taking over again in four years hardly seems bearable, or a remotely desired outcome.
So, the last thing I want to hear right now is the smug cluckings and crowings of the Right, as Obama swiftly throws any chance of real change out the window with both hands. I’ve had to put up with those jackasses and their lying, criminal, anti-American activities for the past eight years. I don’t want to hear what they have to say, not now, not ever. I will never forgive them for Bush, for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, for the destruction of the Constitution and the economy, and most of all, for being in bed with the corporations who have ruined a far-from-perfect, but well-meaning attempt at democracy, and who have now taken over the Democratic Party leadership as well. If I have been oversensitive about that because of my red-hot hatred towards these bloviating gasbags, I do apologize.
things are ch-ch-ch-changing over there!
Go take a look if you’re so inclined…and happy New Year to all my Jewish friends out there!
Well, it’s September The Eleventh again. Let’s see how we’re doing on All Matters 9/11, shall we?
Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks, is still alive and free, despite self-serving claims to the contrary by some in Pakistan.
The 9/11 Memorial is still unbuilt. (Gonna be lovely sometime, though. 2021? 2031?)
Our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan continues, and Congress has just approved another request for $128 billion to keep the pointless quagmires going. Meanwhile, the Taliban now has a presence in 97% of all the regions of Afghanistan.
There are still no body bags or coffins on the TeeVee. The dead of Iraq and Afghanistan can still be “out of sight, out of mind,” as Donald Rumsfeld decreed.
Last November, we elected a man President based on his promises of “Change,” and so far, he has done nothing but embrace the war policies and the Unitary Executive theory of his much-despised predecessor. Worse, he has protected the members of that OTHER Administration from the consequences of their actions. George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condi Rice remain unpunished for their launch of a war based on lies. Bush and Cheney’s other criminal actions, like torture, the outing of Valerie Plame, rendition and warrantless wiretapping, also have cost them nothing.
In this Obamafied, kumbaya, “post-partisan” atmosphere of no accountability ever for any Republican politician, is it any wonder that Tom DeLay is on “Dancing with the Stars,” and Mark Foley, MARK FOLEY of the underage intern scandals, is going to have his own radio show?
When will we ever learn? And when, please tell me, are things going to change?
All my sympathies go to the families and friends of the victims of that fateful attack so many years ago. I can’t help but feel that they would be not pleased by what has been done in their names. I hope that one day we will be able to remember them without guilt and shame for our collective insanity.