The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dumberer and Dumbererer

I didn't mention the Super Bowl, which was a lackluster game with pitiful ads. The funniest moment by miles was the Letterman/Oprah bit, which took all of fifteen seconds. The most surreal were the three based on the premise of men kissing, then being all horrified. It's generated its share of predictable criticism ("Out-of-control liberal political correctness!" "Demonization of gays!"), but it really was weird that three (THREE!) separate sponsors went with this comedic angle, considering how carefully planned and focus-grouped they must have been. Not to mention the expense, when one of the sponsors (whoever makes Snickers) has already cancelled the whole campaign because of the outcry. I thought it was just lame comedy. But I need to move on to the actual issue-- infotainment!

It was actually on the car trip to a Super Bowl party that the conversation turned to media-fueled scare stories of the last few decades. Road rage (haven't heard that term in a while), backwards masking on rock albums, Dungeons & Dragons leading to ritual killings, the "long-suppressed" "memories" of people forced to attend satanic black masses as children, the nationwide accusations of child molestation at day care centers (run at best by homosexuals, and at worst black mass-attending ritual killers).

Probably the worst ad I saw during the game was Katie Couric's ads for the CBS Evening News. Her repeated assurances-- during the third most-watched show in American history-- that "the news" would become more of a platform for uplifting human-interest stories, and less about the news were... what? I've posted a couple of stories on the vapidity she's brought the once-revered show (starting with the 'what will she wear on her first appearance' fervor), but I figured it was a case of 'miscasting' rather than the blatant Today Show-ification of journalism. Maybe my concerns are unfounded, and it'll be a ninety million viewer bait 'n switch.

But that isn't a case of media-fueled hysteria. Just corporatism. The hysteria came today, with what is Newsweek's second big story in five weeks about the most recent threat to Western civilization: young floozies. While Hilton, Spears, and Lohan are undeniably skanky imbeciles, I'd say they're about as likely to turn adolescent girls into alcoholic orgy-goers as Dungeons & Dragons was to incite murder sprees. Stories are already cropping up citing Newsweek's dubious 'statistics' and convenient disregard for reality, but frightening suburban mothers has proven quite profitable in recent decades.