Lately, my TV channel has been often tuned to the Classical Music channel. I don’t really watch the Classical Music channel. It’s visual display is only a static picture of an album cover with some banner ads about other music channels that I might also enjoy. I put on the classical music channel and enjoy listening to its ever-changing selections as I pursue other, more constructive activities around the house.
I used to be a TV news junkie. I watched CNN with great regularity and our own CBC all-news channel which is named “Newsworld,” but is sometimes referred to as “SnoozeWorld.” Canadian news doesn’t seem to have nearly as much of the dramatic flair that typifies American news. Our publicity-gathering, crack-snorting, former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, (now deceased) has been replaced by a snooty snob of a creature (John Tory) who is a bonafide conservative rather than a populist bully.
Increasingly, however, I find myself dismayed at the poor quality of the writing for CNN. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to tune in to CNN to watch and hear the following report:
“I’m here, on the ground, in Baghdad, to assess whether Iraqis will be needing more American boots on the ground as we go forward in the clear light of day, or if, as some have claimed, it is an issue that will be kicked down the road and left to the next president to decide.”
I here this babble, I smack my forehead, and wonder what on earth has become of erudite speech. Why use so many of these wordy, clichés and idiotic idioms?
“I’m here, on the ground, in Baghdad…?” Really? You’re on the ground? Well yes, I suppose your feet are on the ground. That’s where people’s feet often are when they’re standing some place, and you don’t appear to be floating or hovering above the ground. But why not say simply that you’re ‘in Baghdad’ and give the viewer credit for being able to determine that you are standing on the ground?
I won’t go through the whole speech item by item. I’ll just offer a revised version of what the reporter might have said:
“I’m in Baghdad to examine arguments about the possible need for more U.S. soldiers in this country and who might be best suited to make that decision.”
No ‘kicking cans’, no more ‘boots on the ground’, no ‘goings forward’, no ‘clear lights of day’. I don’t even have to describe myself as being “on the ground,” when the descriptor “in” will do the trick, or even “on location in…”
There’s the bad writing with which one must contend. Then there’s the bad news too!
Donald Trump’s popularity has all the earmarks of a WWE crowd run amok and the success of his candidacy says volumes about the generally poor education of the American public. Having a predominance of good crap-detectors in a society speaks of a good educational system. Having large numbers of people who believe that reality TV shows even vaguely represent reality and that WWE represents real sport with real action, tells me that the U.S. may be ready to be “Trumped.” I hope not, but that prospect does seem possible.
If you want to have an amusing look at where the U.S. seems to be headed, there is a mildly amusing, but disturbingly prophetic film called, “Idiocracy” starring Luke Wilson. His character is hopelessly dumb, can’t do anything right, but he gets accidentally frozen in a U.S. Army, cryogenic, hibernation experiment just as an earthquake hits and he awakens in 2505. At once, the people in the future recognize him for his genius, because compared to them, he is a genius! He is prized and sought after, even riding along with President Camacho in the backseat of the presidential motorcycle.
But despite the fame of Wilson’s character, he yearns to return to his own time and thus spends much of the movie searching for the elusive time-machine that will send him home. It is not a great movie. There are only a few ribald giggles to be had now and then, but the prophesy of it does seem to be coming true in shorter order than I had ever anticipated. President Camacho, President Trump, only their complexions and their costumes would set them apart. Their main appeal is a cartoonish image and mindless bluster. They are easy to understand, despite the absence of considered content in what they say.
So I listen to Stingray Classical Music. My service has several different classical music choices and a Big Band choice to which I sometimes listen. A nice fire in the fireplace, a glass of wine, a good book or a cooking process to which I must attend like the Galloping Gourmet (slurp). I’ll check in on ‘Merican tribulations morning, noon and night, but only for five to ten minutes at a time. That’s all I can take. Then it’s back to the future/past for me!