Hyperactive Television: USELESS

Hyperactive Television: USELESS November 6, 2009

I’m trying to watch the celebration in NY – the Yankees going down the Canyon of Heroes amid a couple million fans and a lot of shredded paper – and this is the most unsatisfying experience. Why? Because television broadcasters -and apparently whoever is directing them- have gone completely hyperactive. I want to see the parade. That’s all I want to see. I don’t want to see silly female reporters screaming into their microphones about “the love and positive energy” or boorish male reporters scaring little kids by shoving mics in their faces and demanding a performance.

Even worse, though, are the banners. There are so many banners on the television screen, that I feel like I am peering through a fence, hoping to get a glimpse of the Yankees. There are bright banners near the bottom announcing THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE WATCHING and THIS IS WHERE YOU ARE WATCHING IT and LIVE! in HD! And then near the top on another side LIVE COPTER!! Then a picture-in-picture, with another brain dead reporter who has run out of things to say and decided to simply shove his mic into the faces of two women who emit ear-piercing, tribal screams.

I flip through the channels, one after another, and it’s frustrating. Every channel has an overabundance of banners, bellowing reporters talking and talking about what they see…but we’re not allowed to see it! I am watching the parade, but I cannot SEE it! I can’t hear the crowd; I only hear the mediafolk.

Right now: a graphic of lower Manhattan with three pics-in-pics…”there’s Nick Swisher!” says a reporter. What I can see is a sea of arms raised to take a picture, nowhere near the float.

I’m just gobsmacked. Technology offers too many options to those news folk in their vans, and they are unable to just train their cameras on the parade route and shut the hell up. Awful.

“I love the parades,” says a reporter. “I am an American and I love the parade and the bands!” Not that we can see any of that.

I am struck by how utterly inarticulate the newsfolk are
. One would assume that these people, who make their livings by using words, would have more of them at their disposal, besides, “awesome,” and “exciting,” and “amazing.”

Is there a more overused word in the English language, currently, than “amazing”?

My son watched me flipping, impatiently, through the channels and he asked, “it’s the same graphics-heavy stuff on every channel; what is it you want?”

I want coherence. I want a presentation linear enough to tell its own story. I want a highly paid media-specialist who is capable of talking about something more than whether or not he alone -amid a sea of people- is being noticed by the Yankee players floating by.

I want someone with a microphone to try to say something thoughtful or even mildly profound; he doesn’t have to succeed at it, but if someone would just make the attempt to mark the moment with a word picture, or a memorable insight about the mysterious tribal alchemy of teams and cities; about how they lift each other up. It is worth dwelling for a moment on how an event like this builds small-town community in the midst of big-city anonymity, and how these bonding moments nourish the spirit metropolitan, so that when sorrow or catastrophe comes, it may be borne in strength, and with a sense of commonality, hopefulness and trust.

Television is a wonderful tool; it’s rendered unwatchable, and therefore useless, by the folks who know all about how to work the gadgetry but haven’t a clue about balance, or moderation.

Just now, the screen erupted into FOUR screens! As if anyone can actually see anything when EVERYTHING is being shoved in front of your eyes! Ack! Now they pull back and we’re watching…we’re watching reporters sitting in chairs, talking about what they’re seeing in their monitors!

Can we see the parade? Can we see the highschool kids playing New York, New York? Can we see the cops in kilts, playing their bagpipes? Can we see the damn parade, and the floats, and the YANKEES, and not the reporters?

Can we hear the damn crowd, and not the endlessly yakking gasbags who have nothing to say? Please?


Apparently, the answer is no.

“It’s exciting to watch the floats go by,” says a reporter.

Well, how nice that you got to see them.

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