Monday, May 22, 2006

Fake News From Fake America

My RSS reader brought this article to my attention, and I could not be more proud of it and, simultaneously, more disappointed in our nation's media. It's from the San Fransisco Gate by way of the AP, and its headline is, I shit you not, "Jack Bauer Saves Day on Finale of '24'." Ugh. It's bad enough when CNN reports on the life-changing news that only 33.06% of Americans prefer Eliot Yamin over Katherine McPhee and that old dude who's gonna be doing "Just For Men" hair color commercials in a year or two, but at least they're real people doing stuff in the real world. I hate to shatter some people's illusions here — and if you're one of those idiots whose head will explode when you find out that John Edward doesn't really talk to your dead relatives, Dan Brown is a big, fat liar, and your parents just made up all that crap about the Tooth Fairy, you should cover the room you're in with plastic sheeting and then keep reading — Jack Bauer is fictional, Associated Press. I'm totally cool with E! Online rehashing our country's memes as if we haven't already heard them a thousand times by the water cooler — "Did you guys see Desperate Housewives last night when Bree finally snapped? How she murdered Susan, chopped up her body, slow-roasted it, and served it to Lynette and Gabrielle at a dinner party?" Yes, look how we're all united as Americans and united in our love for Marcia Cross on a rampage. (By the way, that would make a fucking awesome episode of Desperate Housewives, and if I see that on TV, all of Marc Cherry's sins of mediocrity will be immediately forgiven.) But when those same TV junkies are shocked to see Teri Hatcher alive and well, posing in FHM magazine, it's time to throw away the remote and re-join the actual planet.

It's not like truth and fiction haven't already been twisted around enough: apparently this pheremone spray will make me irresistable to women, carbs are either bad for you or good for you or the complex carbohydrates are good but the refined carbs are bad or something, and Karen Ryan — "I'm not a journalist but I play one on TV" — has a Medicare plan the Bush administration would like to sell you. The AP might think they're just catching people up, but we're really too dumb to fall for that. You mean Jack beat the bad guys? I seriously did not see that one coming!!! And I bet he'll get into some other shit come January! No, I thought that season six would be two dozen episodes revolving around Jack's decomposing corpse. Okay, nothing could've ever redeemed Charmed, but if J.J. Abrams really wanted to pull off an amazing series finale of Alias, he'd have duly killed Sydney off. Maybe have Marshall sautee her and serve her up to the rest of the principals. Basically, unless it's a Roadrunner cartoon, anthropophagy improves pretty much anything.

But if it's not going to surprise me, tell me something I didn't already know, tell me something true, what's the point of even having the news? The whole quilting-bee atmosphere, where we get a liberal and conservative repeating their inane talking points and no one challenges them cause everyone's entitled to their opinion and you can't hurt anyone's damn feelings nowadays by telling them that they're full of it, isn't illuminating or useful or worth my damn time. If I wanted to know what happened in imaginary 24-land, I'd watch the show... or I'd do like I do in the real world and just assume that the writers couldn't come up with anything new after having Keifer's irritating daughter kidnapped for like the fifth time. You mean to tell me that one of the axis of evil is developing WMD's — where have I heard that before? It's an election year and gays are trying to get married and hippies are burning the flag (really?) and the government isn't tracking our phone calls but it's "protecting us from terrorists." Maybe one of these days, they'll be able to write an actual news story about someone, somewhere having an original idea, because that really doesn't happen every day.