Life’s Priorities and Ways I Would Not Like to Appear on the News

12 Mar

  

I’ve been watching the news a lot, specifically all the reports on the Japan quake and tsunami. Whenever I switched over to the closer-to-home side of things, every single local news broadcast showed the same thing: Bay Area people upset about their boats. See, the catastrophe in Japan triggered waves that eventually reached the San Francisco Bay Area. In Santa Cruz, waves rolled through the marina, sending boats bobbing like toys in the tub and capsizing many. Now, I sympathize with these people up to a certain point….but they look pretty ridiculous crying on the news and saying things like “This is like, the worst thing that could happen” when the scenes from Japan include death, devastation, and total loss. When I watched a woman sob about her ruined boat for the third time (you know how parts of the news keep getting replayed?) I was pretty disgusted. As Ron said in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: “She needs to sort out her priorities!” Finally, my annoyance bubbled up until I was yelling at the tv. “You’re on the news! People can see and hear you! You lost your mini yacht–big whoop!”

I logged into WordPress, intending to write a big, angry rant as a blog post. But you know, I decided it was unreadable. It wasn’t helpful or clever or wise and it contained quite a few spelling errors (I do that when I’m upset, take it out on my words). It was also unfair. Maybe those boat owners’ soundbites were edited to save time, and the part where they express concern and perspective about Japan was lost. Maybe they’ve had a string of bad luck lately and their boats and the clothes on their back were the only things they had left. Or, maybe they really meant what they said at the time of the recording, but then watched themselves on the news and felt shame and remorse. Who knows? I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

What has come out of this little experience is a reflection on the media and the representation of one’s self. Or…..

 Ways I Would Not Like to Appear on the News:

  1. As a person who can’t see the big picture, a person who cries over lost (unnecessary) property when there is a major loss of life in other parts of the world. (Well, you didn’t think I’d completely let it go, did you?)
  2. As one of those headless obese people. You know what I’m talking about–whenever the news talks about obesity, they show footage from the neck down of overweight people walking the streets and going about their days. I know they do that for anonymity, but I always wonder if any of those people watch the news and think “Hey, that Goofy shirt looks familiar…and I have a purple purse just like that…hey I was near that street today…ohmygod…..”
  3. As an interviewee with no smarts or personality. Sadly, I see this a lot on the news. The reporter in the field pulls aside a man/woman on the street to ask a pertinent question and the interviewee’s answer is painfully awkward or ignorant. There’s also usually stage fright involved, and so the unfortunate person ends up blabbering with a deer in the headlight look.
    “What do you think about the proposed development project that will require the demolition of the 4th street soup kitchen?”
    “Well, uh, I don’t know. I think they should talk about it. Or, maybe ask someone what to do. I, um, don’t go to the soup kitchen but I see it when I walk by… There’s usually people there, so, um, yeah….”
    Oooo, ouch.
  4. As a field reporter in a place nobody wants to be. My heart always goes out to the reporter out in the freezing wind and rain, talking to his/her coworkers back in the cushy office. For all I know, those guys love their jobs, but I think I’d probably snap.
    “Well Diane, as you can see, I’m freezing my butt off. I’ve schleped all the way out here to middle-of-nowhereville to tell you and our viewers that it is frickin’ cold everywhere, but especially so in middle-of-nowhereville. Yes, while you and Mark chuckle about Dusty the kleptomaniac cat in the temperature-controlled newsroom, I’m out here taking on Mother Nature herself…And guess what? The rhymes-with-witch must have just watched Old Yeller because the rain keeps on coming.”

 

What’s that? You want to know about ways I would like to appear on the news? Now that’s an idea….

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14 Responses to “Life’s Priorities and Ways I Would Not Like to Appear on the News”

  1. Anneloes van Rees March 13, 2011 at 12:43 am #

    Very true. And the ways you don’t want to appear in the news are just hilarious. Keep up the good work – love your blog!

    • Oh My Words! March 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      thanks so much! I gotta say, your encouragement means a lot! I just subscribed to your blog–very jealous of your London Life 🙂

  2. earlybird March 13, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    I’m very impressed by your self-control in tuning down the original post! but this made the points very well.

    • Oh My Words! March 13, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      Thanks! My self control isn’t usually impressive, but at least the second version of this post was a bit more fun 🙂

  3. Barbara Edwards March 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    A very unusual serious cum funny blog, if that makes sense? I could feel your anger in the opening paragraphs and share your annoyance. However, you did have me laughing by the end of it and for this I both thank and congratulate you. Of course that’s why I follow good writers ha ha

    • Oh My Words! March 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      lovely! It’s awesome you felt where I was coming from and ended up laughing with me. I’m honored that you’re following along!

  4. Rediscovering Tina March 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    I was thinking I never want to be on TV as one of those people who say about the serial killer next door… “HE was so quiet and sucha goodneighbor! I can’t believe he would do this!”

    • Oh My Words! March 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

      YES! Oh man, you totally got it. It was really bothering me when I realized that my list was only 4 items long (5 is just a much more satisfying number, you know) and I think this is the long-lost list-ender! They ALWAYS say that, don’t they? I guess it’s better than saying “He was really creepy…I always knew that he was capable of a horrible crime, I just figured someone else would report it.” But still.

  5. Ash March 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    I would definitely be depressed if I saw myself as a headless obese person. How embarrassing!

  6. WobblyWords March 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    I particularly enjoyed your audience addresses or asides (whatever they are called by writer folk such as yourself). It seems to me parenthesis are often misuse (as above of here perhaps) and addressing the reader is just awkward or unnecessary but you did a fabulous job. It was like I was right there listening from the kitchen as you ranted, then talked yourself into composure 🙂

    The note about angry writing and spelling “I do that when I’m upset, take it out on my words” was particularly funny to me!

    Well done!

  7. Chinasaur March 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    I just don’t think I will do well on any news. Especially since news are always tend to be bad news, what can you say to satisfy everybody in a bad situation? It’s hard to balance personal feeling and unbiased thoughts already and putting it into intelligent words without time preparing??? I will avoid it. So maybe that is why we see more people like you described on the news instead. It’s sad and funny!

  8. arkarch March 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Funny. Very good.
    I enjoyed it.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Life’s Priorities and Ways I Would Not Like to Appear on the News (via Oh My Words!) « Scriptor Obscura - March 14, 2011

    […] I’ve been watching the news a lot, specifically all the reports on the Japan quake and tsunami. Whenever I switched over to the closer-to-home side of things, every single local news broadcast showed the same thing: Bay Area people upset about their boats. See, the catastrophe in Japan triggered waves that eventually reached the San Francisco Bay Area. In Santa Cruz, waves rolled through the marina, sending boats bobbing like toys in the tub a … Read More […]

  2. God Will Get You For That, Walter! « Oh My Words! - March 15, 2011

    […] thought I was going to follow Saturday’s post with one on Ways I Would Like to Appear on the News but something happened (divine intervention?) […]

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