Is it me, or is the world on Nyquil?
Random thoughts while sitting home with a tapering Nyquil buzz:
• Though I do a daily show on a commercial station, I’m a fan and supporter of National Public Radio. Competition is good, and NPR fills a valuable slot. But I’m writing this at the end of Fundraising Week, and as always, I’m wondering what NPR genius decided that the best way to attract donations is to have local people repeat a phone number six times a minute to the point that if I hear “Seven eight four, one zero zero five” one more goddamn time, I’ll start screaming and won’t be able to stop.
• That’s the Cory Farley Show, 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays on KBZZ, 1270 AM, where we never beg for money, but you’re always free to send it. Thanks for asking.
• Hot topic as I write seems to be the bailout of the automobile industry, a swamp into which I shall not wade. One aspect of the argument points up what I think is among this country’s major problems, though.
No, make it two aspects and two problems:
First, millions of Americans seem eager to blame General Motors, in particular, for not producing “cars people want to buy.” GM has hardly been a model of corporate genius, but it’s worth remembering that car companies aren’t in business to reform society. They’re in business to sell vehicles, and as recently as 18 months ago, Americans lined up to buy their largest, most wasteful ones. Even if GM had foreseen the changing demand, it couldn’t have turned around fast enough to meet it. Ford’s modest try at a “green,” socially responsible approach a few years earlier was a total bust.
Second, surveys show we’re already turning on the Democrats for not having made everything right. The seeds of our economic implosion go back at least 10 years and were nurtured by Bush administration policies since 2001, but voters are an impatient and malleable bunch. If GOP leaders don’t overplay their chosen hand of obstruction through feigned concern for “our children,” they could stop and maybe even reverse their slide in 2010. People are morons.
• Can daily newspapers get any worse, and if they do, should we mourn their passing?
I’ve read between two and five papers every day I could get them for 35 years. Back in the day, you could count on a variety of locally written pieces giving different takes on major issues, plus details on local stuff that might or might not be of interest. About 10 years ago, they began to show an alarming sameness, with identical wire-service stories from Reno, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, but you still got an Editor’s Choice smorgasbord of local and oddball stuff.
On Sunday I went through three big-city papers looking for things to talk about on the radio. I found just three, count ’em, three stories that piqued my interest enough to clip them out. All three were from wire services; two appeared in all three papers and the other was in two of them.
The papers themselves were as alike and predictable as suburban shopping centers: bland coverage of national matters in Section 1, token takes on homegrown issues in Section 2, split about equally between happy talk (“Local woman recalls Calvin Coolidge visit”) and problem-du-jour (“Teen STD rise continues”), then canned Style, Travel, Sports and one of the two impossibly lame national “Sunday supplement” magazines that always make me ask, “Who READS this?”
Don’t misunderstand: I love newspapers, and I worry about their future.
But maybe they’re already dead.