“People forget that words can do as much harm, If not more, as an actual bullet.” - moi
disclaimer – while I have never been to the white house correspondents dinner, nor probably would have any interest in attending. what I am told is that it really used to be a fun event for a day when people could let down their guards and have a nice meal and some laughs about each other. I think this might have been in Papa Bush and the Clinton era.
what I am seeing since that time with the media, and the advent of “new media” and a seeming death to deep journalism, photo-journalism, and even great writing/investigative journalism. is that the media has also gone the way to corporate greed and followed a similar trajectory and path that everyone else is on – yet – no one wants to admit it, or no one really has the power to say, “hey, this isn’t a good path to walk on if we want to report the news and the idea of truth.”
all I know is that with the people I watched working stand-up comedy, they no longer play certain places because, “you can do 40 minutes and all they will do is take 30 seconds of the entire act that for whatever reason, offended them, and that is all they will remember and talk about.”
I read the papers this headlines this morning and my goodness, aside from the people in media attending the event where a comedian did a gig that pissed off everyone, I would say that perhaps the media might stop the current modality of the dinner and simply have a nice dinner, get a band and have a dance, and take a day of rest from reporting anything. just all go have a nice evening, drop the ego’s, pride, hurtful criticisms, hatred, envy….just try to have a decent fun evening – leave all the cell phones and cameras outside of the room, and no one report about it. might be a cool event no?
but instead we live in a country where since the papa Bush and Clinton era and that of “new media” has dramatically changed the landscape of news inside the USA (thank god for BBC world and me watching German and Swiss news in addition to the seemingly biased op-ed shows the USA is trying to pass as news) you used to have 5-60 decent sized companies that controlled all the media in the USA. fast forward to president Clinton giving license to the country to lie by saying, “I did not have sexual relations with…” (I get Mr. president, you were embarrassed, afraid of your wife cutting your family jewels off, or bummed that the perks of power and your position were out in the open, while many folks protected you, not so much to protect you, but rather what they would lose if you were out of office?)
fast forward and in just 25 years, we have 3-4 companies that control the majority of USA news, I can’t count how many amazing photojournalists I knew that are now wedding photographers, print media with newspapers has basically died and/or is dying, news is now judged by the nanosecond attention span of the data tsunami showed into every and ALL crevices that are available in the media outlet stream, and individuals now have access to powerful tools in social media and access to write/create/edit/post their own construct about anything.
so what happened? I don’t really know. as far as I can tell, greed, vanity, and the short-term money grab for self somehow have superseded the idea of fair and unbiased reporting of a story. think of it like the election process…what is it now, you get elected and start your re-election campaign asap? the media folks love to go out on the campaign trail and hear the exact same speech 5-9 times a day in different cities and behind the curtains, well…the same behavior that they persecute others for, happens inside their own ranks.
what is missing today? the ability to laugh at oneself. it could be that political comedy is more like a blood sport these days where a slanted agenda is more important than having us look at what flaws we have in a funny way? it could be that our egos and feeling of self-importance are so high? (check that selfie vanity research data in the past 7 years- freaky numbers) or it could be that we simply live in a world where everyone has pasted so many layers of makeup with race, creed, color, size, belief, ideology over themselves, that when they look at another human, they can’t see there is another human being behind their layers of “stuff.”
we allowed these behaviors and social skills (or dilution or lack of them) to happen. why?
because we have so much stuff covering up ourselves and are so afraid for others to shine a light in and see that pretty much everyone has the same crud inside their imperfect organization with humans trying to live to some image or brand that they don’t want to be tarnished.
it makes it hard, if not impossible for human beings to see we are all human, and instead of being humane to each other, it has turned more into a cruel game that the idea isn’t to get people to laugh at our behaviors and imperfections…but to make someone the brunt of a joke that is hurtful for profit, ratings, and advancement of self on a stage.
when the press starts believing its own press, well…it isn’t a good path for anyone that reads or watches what it reports.
as for the world of comedy, well? that really has become a world where I guess they can now work inside a small aquarium, refrigerator, confessional, or closet because anything larger will offend someone.
just my ramble…days like today, I wonder why I even waste my time with what is my observation of the moment. I shut off the tv in the 90s with the Clinton mess, I don’t really listen to music anymore unless it is live and/or with a high-end concert PA system. in a world filled with earbuds or the folks that think the crap audio from their cell phones is what everyone wants to hear. with the internet, I don’t watch the mass of video, but look to read data and find all the people want you to do is watch.
I guess that is my problem, anyone can talk about, watch, or be a critic. where are those that will go do, and don’t need the press and or accolades to do it?
“Beware the man that can’t laugh at himself, he always runs the risk of looking the fool.” (not sure if this paraphrase is Walden, Emerson, or thorough. what I am seeing is people attacking each other to cover up their own sins and transgressions and thinking, “people won’t see what I am doing when I attack anything negative or wrong, and I will take credit for all that goes right – even if I had nothing to do with it.”
people wonder why I am out in corporate America anymore – there were plenty of people that behaved just like what I wrote and whose model today is our sitting president. sadly, it is only when you get out of the game, take a moment inside yourself, that you realize how much of yourself you lose while chasing the shiny baubles that the world calls, “success!”
this concludes my 10-minute ramble of words, thoughts, unfunniness and amble opportunity to criticize the poor use of words, grammar and context from a critic. truth is, i do this for myself, and if you create - odds are - few will ever read it unless it is in the mainstream of some data flow that only requires one to click a button - not read, think, ponder. sort of sad, no?