I had the TV on some mainstream corporate newscast the other day. I think it was CNN but can’t be sure. I wasn’t really paying attention to it. It was just background noise. As you might imagine, they were reveling in the long, orgiastic Whitney Houston funeral march. A voyeur’s feast. They convinced all us peasants that she was the greatest thing since Billie Holiday, and that she had the broadest vocal range of any singer in this or the last century, and yadda yadda. It was pretty amusing watching them dance all around the true cause of her death. These craven vultures just couldn’t wait to come out and say it: she was a drug addict and she overdosed, or at least passed out in the tub and drowned. They just couldn’t wait to turn her into another cautionary tale for our ludicrous comic book culture, but for propriety’s sake they had to restrain themselves. I found it comical. Well, we musn’t speculate, they kept saying. The coroner hasn’t released his report yet. Don’t rush to conclusions. But, of course, we all know she “battled inner demons.” That’s a euphemistic way of saying she was an alcoholic and an addict. Some of them are already yammering about going after her doctors the way they did when Michael Jackson died. Every fairy tale needs villains, and there’s nothing quite so titillating as a good old fashioned lynching party.
Then, placing the limelight squarely Houston’s daughter, they lamented over how the poor girl was going to have to spend her life in the limelight!
Thus far it was all standard fare, but then they started talking about Whitney Houston’s estate, and speculated as to who was going to get what. It was beyond unseemly. I just blotted most of it out, but then some hideously perky woman chirped out something that absolutely stunned me. In her happiest, most upbeat and sunny broad-casty voice, she said, “Whitney Houston is worth a lot more dead than she was alive, sorry to say.”
Well, I’m sorry to say that we’re morally dead. If that woman had called Whitney Houston a nigger she would have been hauled out of the office by lunchtime. I’d say that her career would have been ruined too, but I guess Fox News probably would have picked her up. They’re not too particular about matters of racial sensitivity. But there she was, uttering one of the crassest sentiments I’ve ever heard expressed in public, and to my knowledge it barely raised an eyebrow.
These people are absolute crocodiles. They deserve to be reincarnated as earth worms. So much for the superior virtue of the white middle class that conservatives are always bleating about.
Right now, they’re taking a break from voyeurism and engaging in their second favorite pastime: whipping up hysteria. A new study shows there might be arsenic in baby formula. Be afraid, young parents, be very, very, very afraid! And have we mentioned that the Iranians wanna start World War III? Well, they do. Take our world for it. But don’t go away. A reporter is promising to reveal ‘shocking” new details about Whitney Houston’s erratic last days. I hope I have time to make popcorn first.
I was in Sweden when John Kennedy Jr. died. It made the front page and all, but the Swedish media didn’t morbidly dwell on it. They spent far more time on something else then occurring in the world, namely, massive student demonstrations in Iran. The kids were getting extremely uppity and a very definite Tienanmen Square type of vibe was developing. The rumblings were potentially earth shattering. Secular minded youths were sick and tired of the stodgy old mullahs that ran everything. But you never would have known it here.
Upon re-entering the states, it was wall to wall John John. You would never have known what was happening in Tehran, and not knowing it, you could easily be convinced by a dishonest president that the Iranians were all part of some wicked axis of evil.
After witnessing examples of real journalism in Scandinavia, it was pretty ghastly to see puffed-up, posturing TV stars like Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather loitering outside the funeral with their trench coats and umbrellas, very gravely intoning things like this: “Wait. We think somebody’s coming out of the church. Yes. We have confirmation, somebody just came out of the church! It might be Teddy Kennedy but it might not be, and if it’s not Teddy that means it has to be someone else.”
Somebody needs to tell Tom Brokaw that always sounding like you’ve got a steel rod shoved up your ass doesn’t constitute genuine gravitas.
I remember thinking that a people this dumb don’t deserve to be free. Shortly thereafter we got George Dubya for our sins, and the US hasn’t had a moment of peace since.