October 03, 2002

Arrrrr, Blow Me Down I'm

Arrrrr, Blow Me Down

I'm a print journalist. I've always been a print journalist, an unseen apparition conjuring the written word for newspapers and magazines, preferring to remain anonymous while my writing speaks for itself.

I'm often perplexed by the antics of broadcast journalists. I'm not talking about the revered and stoic talking heads like Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather. They at least have the common decency to sit in one place and read the day's news to us, an eager tribal crowd gathered around the flickering flames of the television campfire, soaking in the wisdom and words of our beloved tribal elder Dan "Speaks The Truth" Rather.

It's the stunt journalists who bother me, the Ashleigh Banfield's of the world, shameless self-promoters who will do practically anything to get a dramatic shot of something that is, by and large, not that dramatic. In Banfield's case, she climbed the Brooklyn Bridge in a pathetic attempt to show the Banfield-starved masses that American suspension bridges are *gasp* vulnerable to terrorist attack. I really didn't have to see Ashleigh huff and puff her way to the top of a bridge to know that bridges are potential terrorist targets. Although, truth be told, I probably had several small sexual fantasies as I watched her huff and puff. She is disturbingly cute after all.

But, we don't have to just look and gape and ogle and drool over Ashleigh Banfield to see pointless stunt journalism in action. Take the huge, massive, terrifying currently unfolding story of the minor hurricane Lili. No sooner had the storm hit U.S. shores, than news crews were standing on the wharves, intent on getting that wind-blown, driving rain camera shot that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that hurricanes consist of strong winds and driving rains. Um, I actually already knew that. I don't need to see a poncho-wearing newscaster with rain spattered spectacles telling me exactly what I already know. Yet there they stand, wind whipping by so fast, you can barely hear what they're trying to scream into the camera.

DRENCHED NEWSCASTER: As you can see behind me, Lili is a truly dangerous storm! I was almost decapitated a moment ago by an airborne cat clawing desperately at the air! You'll notice that my poncho is flapping violently! That's because Lili is packing strong gusts of wind! Wind, as you know, is air moving at a high velocity in a certain direction! I'm able to stay firmly planted on this wharf because I have lashed myself to this wooden pole! As an added precaution, I hammered a 30 inch spike through the pole and inserted it into my anus! You can't take chances with powerful winds like these!

Can't they just set up a camera on the beach and deliver the news from the warmth and dryness of the newsroom? It seems perfectly reasonable to me. I mean seriously, if they're going to go to such extremes to show us a powerful maritime storm, they should pull out all the stops and start talking like an old salt of the sea.

DRENCHED PIRATE NEWSCASTER: Arrrrr! We be having a bit of what me mateys call a gale! Ye see behind me an angry sea, a sea that eats sailors for dinner the way a scurvy dog that hasn't eaten in days laps up its own droppings. Arrrrr! Thar be a lot of wind a'blowin here. The last time I got blown around like this at sea was when that saucy little whore tried stowin' away on me ship. Lili was her name!

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