ALL ALONG OUR WATCHTOWERS where our Princes of the Media tell us our views, things are looking very shaky for their latter-day plutocracy. Their ratings tank, their circulation implodes, and revenues auger into the ground like a one-winged Gulfstream. Like the once-popular Yogi Berra Restaurant, people are staying away in droves.
Extreme measures seem to be called for and extreme solutions are tried. Some once-brilliant network exec has a new thought to save the ratings, "sex!" Katie Couric's perky points are whipped out, rubbed with ice-cubes and back lit by the blaze of Baghdad. It doesn't help. Husbands cringe and wives run screaming from the plasma-screen wall. Faced with the continuing disaster, another never-brilliant New York Times publisher has his only idea for the 600th time: "Bash Bush!" Times editors from the last time the Publisher waved his stuffed moose around convene for their 5348th Sulzberger Suckupathon and decide to "save the newspaper" by..... redesigning the web site! Ad sales and staff continue in their mutual suckage. Heroin suppository prescriptions are renewed.
Across town, employees of cable news networks whose viewer-ship has fallen to rival the circulation of "The Nation" ponder a future without houses in the Hamptons, and their forthcoming inability to land jobs as spokesmen for Ginzu Knives at the North Dakota State Fair. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or, as we used to say in the 60s in the drug-drenched pits of Berkeley, "If you are going to have a revolution, get ready to do revolting things."
Backs to the ratings wall, they pull out their thermonuclear weapon, and video tapes of Nancy Pelosi go into heavy rotation on CNN while the beheading of a woman in Iraq doesn't get airplay outside of the blogosphere. Outside in the cold distance, a Chris Matthews howls like the tree in the forest with nobody around to hear him. Does he howl? I can't tell you. I'm not there to listen.
Every so often, Matt Drudge trudges up from the numbers swamp with more tale tales of viewers gone down into the quicksand of 'We couldn't care less.' We'd listen to Matt more carefully, but lately it has always been the same old riddle where you start from the middle.
"There must be some way out of here,"
said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion,
I can't get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line
know what any of it is worth."
Out beyond the coastal media enclaves ravaged by the black plague of the spirit, normal Americans yearning to know about and hate the enemy that has killed thousands of them and plans to kill tens of thousands more still tune in in the hope of a shred of the truth, a fraction of a fact. Instead they are informed, from unnamed sources deep within the CIA, that their enemy is the President who has kept them safe for four years. They click away and don't click back, and the soon to be made redundant reporters, newscasters and producers wonder why. After all, everything they have been spewing over the air and through the newspapers for years has been correct. Everybody they have lunch and dinner with, everyone that they cheat on their spouses with, everyone that they take "social drugs" with, everyone who has also been spewing the same stuff, says so. How can the people, the little people who don't even have an account with a car service, be so stupid, be so wrong?
"No reason to get excited,"
the thief, he kindly spoke,
"There are many here among us
who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we've been through that,
and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now,
the hour is getting late."
But the people aren't wrong. As a great ad-man once said, "The consumer isn't an idiot. The consumer is your wife." The people are sick of it all. Sick of the same old two stories being told to them over and over. Sick of the blather and the disaster and the doom which they know, in their gut and in their heart, to be only a shadow, a dark shadow, of the real story.
It's not really a question of whether or not the old media could get their sad act together, get their fat ass in gear, get their revenue base back, come on in, have a cigar, and call it 'riding the gravy train.' They could. Fox News, every season, proves that. Nor is it a state secret how to do it. Fox News shows you how, 24/7/365. No, it is more a question of whether or not the established elements of people that make up the failing media can, themselves, get the audience back. And the answer to that, now and into the future, is, "No."
All along the watchtower,
princes kept the view
While all the women came and went,
barefoot servants, too.
No, they can't because they simply don't have the intellectual tools to do so. They might have been able to at one time much earlier in their careers, but by now they are so ossified in their age and in their hiring practices that they have no chance at it. Old liberal media has been failing to reproduce at replacement rate for years. And when it has hired, It has not hired new, fresh minds into its institutions, but has been buying up the clones produced by such mainstream media bio-labs as the Columbia Journalism School. This is not surprising since they've been retiring into teaching positions in theses sorts of schools for decades. Positions in which they create little journalists out of their whole and moldy cloth; kids that turn out just like them.
The result is that, even as the media generation forged in the sixties and seventies begins to retire, their replacements in their institutions are merely clones of themselves. Sometimes they are even their own children since nepotism is the way of the media companies. They are kind to their children, they have to be since in many cases the kid is the one child that survived the great liberal abortion festivals that marked the early marriages of these people. The end result today is, like an ancient cosmology that was turtles all the way down, these liberal media monoliths are staffed with liberals all the way down. And that means that their daily bleatings in search of love will continue. It means that their cracked bells will never stop ringing.
And those bells will ring even louder in the next few months as the liberal media, bleating in lock-step with the Left and the dwindling liberal Democratic party, tries to beat a war-weary electorate into shrugging submission; into a desperation so deep that they will do anything to make this cast-off cartel of crap shut up, even vote them into power. And so they will ring out their cracked bells of doom, of surrender, of despair and the decline of America into delicate things.
Nothing else has worked and nothing else is to hand. So ring out the message of cracked bells, Let the citizens of these states know that for you to shut up, they've got to give power over to the party whose plan is to kill them after taxing them half to death. Boys and girls up in your trembling tower, jerk on the ropes. Ring them bells. It just might work. We don't like long wars, we like quick wins. Maybe we'd like a little peace and quiet around here for a change. Or maybe, just maybe, we'd like you to shut up and listen to us. God knows more and more of us try harder and harder not to listen to you.
But don't think that we're stupid. After all, we're smart enough not to listen to you. And don't think we don't see your plan. It is so hard to miss since you seem, in your dotage, to have hidden it in plain sight, forgetting we've all read Poe's "The Purloined Letter" in high school. Let me see if I can explain it clearly, even to you. Please try not to quote me out of context.
Outside in the distance
a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching,
the wind began to howl.
The program of this dying media -- which has chained itself onto a drowning political philosophy -- is quite simple: To take the rest of us down with it. And you plan to do it by carping on doom to such an extent that one literally will not be able to hear oneself think. Doombells in the coming months will ring everywhere at a volume louder than a U2 concert seeking to save Africa from the Africans. Stick you head out the window on Mainstream Media Street and listen. Do you hear it? Yes, there it is.
The cracked bells and washed-out horns
Blow into my face with scorn -- Dylan
The bells, bells, bells, bells, bells of the Bush-bash are clapped over the citizen's ears wherever and whenever he foolishly glances at a newspaper's front page, or mistakenly clicks on a major network of a Sunday morning. Stock markets improve, jobs are so filled up that there are jobs Americans won't do because they have jobs they are happy to do. A deep problem of many Americans looking to buy second (or third or fourth) homes is that interest rates aren't as magical as they were a year ago. The 18% mortgage interest rates brought to you by Jimmy Carter's administration are consigned to the shadows while Jimmy Carter, America's official Buffoon to the world, is actually given space for his opinions on how to handle Iran, the price of oil, and the national economy. And the ratings tank, tank, tank, and the circulation of newspapers creates ever widening unemployment in the news rooms, and still the cracked bell beatings go on in the hope that Americans everywhere will say, "Hurts. Hurts! Make it stop!"
But it won't stop because, like bears hooked on garbage, the mainstream media of the United States knows only two things and tells only two stories.
In the end, the old media is dying off because the only stories they know are "Vietnam" and "Watergate." Everything they've said for nearly half a decade are just variations on those themes and we've become sick and tired on these old moldy tales; a sickness unto the death of the old media.
Tomorrow or the day after, how these old mold tales keep being rung out with the cracked bells.Posted by Vanderleun at September 9, 2006 6:26 PM | TrackBack