Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 2002 / 3 Kislev, 5763
Good news for skateboarders looking to keep up with world events
Good news for skateboarders looking to keep up with world events. The
new General Manager of CNN Headline News, Rolando Santos, told the San
Francisco Chronicle this fall that he hopes to make the news featurettes
more "edgy" and "out there." He compared his morning news readers to
"disc jockeys on a zany morning show." That's right. A zany morning show.
The photograph accompanying the interview with Mr. Santos made him look
more like the manager of a suburban shoe store than a zany arbiter of
hipness, but nonetheless he or someone in his charge has been busily
coaching newscasters and announcers in the proper use of idioms like
"ill," "whack," and "sick."
Whether Stone Phillips addressing a viewer with "Yo, Homes" will really
make a tattooed young Turk want to check out how the Dow is doing
remains to be seen. My prediction, however, is that we won't be seeing
Peter Jennings wearing a backwards baseball cap any time soon.
Sometime last year, having noticed that television news had finally
given vacuousness, fatuity and self-importance places of primacy over
actual, you know, news delivery, I pretty much stopped watching it, so
I'm probably not the one to ask.
For reasons mysterious to me, the consumer culture is obsessed with
capturing the senses and disposable income of young men with attention
deficit disorder. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. Still, I have a
hunch that newscasting and edginess don't really mix. If I want edgy,
I'll rent a David Lynch movie. When it comes to news, well, what with a
Korean nuclear weapons, imminent war with Iraq,
the ongoing unpleasantness with terrorists, a tanking economy, smallpox
threats, and what have you, the news seems edgy enough on its own. Why
gild that rotting lily?
When it comes to newscasters, I would prefer to
eschew a hyperactive longhair and embrace the old standard: a gray,
middle-aged, slightly depressed anchor whose very demeanor whispers,
"We're doomed. Stay tuned." Am I alone in this?
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2001, Ian Shoales