Monday, August 31, 2009

All The Seats Are Naugahyde

Jenna Bush on the Today show is an amusing, fleeting concept. Given the florescent yawn of corporate newstainment, pushing another jabbering dope in front of the cameras means relatively little. That Jenna's pop is an unindicted war criminal lends her a slight, unique edge. Not many members of mass murdering families snag cozy TV gigs. And if Today doesn't work out, Jenna can always migrate over to QVC, where she can sell her personal jewelry line made from the irradiated bones of dead Iraqis. See how they shine! And yours for only three easy payments of $39.95!

I'm sure that Media Matters and kindred scolds will flap arms and gums about the desecration of journalistic trust, or whatever it is we're supposed to revere. In that sense, Today's hire is a smart one, as it gives everyone something to cluck and whine about until the next lull in the abyss.

To me, the Today show means having a late-teen crush on Jane Pauley, a fellow Indy native who I mooned over when she read the local news on WISH-TV. After her, Dave Garroway, Today's first host whose kinescopes I watched at the old Museum of Broadcasting in NYC. Garroway's easy, informed style would be lost on contemporary audiences. And his calls for peace, open palm raised to the camera, would incite professional reactionaries and their followers. Maybe that's why NBC paired Garroway with J. Fred Muggs --

Such communist notions could be blamed on the chimp.

"Mr. Muggs -- have you now or ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

(Muggs raises a clenched fist, then attacks Joe McCarthy, ripping open his face while screeching about Fifth Amendment rights.)

What was I saying?

Remember that Obama/Joker/Socialism poster that rattled liberal sensibilities? Turns out the original concept came from a lefty critic of President UnChange in Chicago. I had a feeling this was so. The poster seemed too clever to originate from the teabagger/Town Hall nut wing of our robust and much-envied democracy. The wags at Gawker tried putting it all into perspective, but pre-chewed snark flies only so far. If you entertain any lingering thoughts about intelligent political exchange, then avoid the comments section. Where are the communist chimps when you need them?

While in the East Village, I took my son to St. Mark's Books, one of my favorite hang-outs from earlier days. Looking along the Current Events shelf, I came across a familiar spine.

An older man approached right after we cut.

"You wrote that book?"


"You predicted how Obama would turn out?"

"It's all in there."

The man smiled and took the copy. I dunno if he bought it, spat on it, or threw it across the store. Most likely he put it back, allowing it to collect dust alongside heavier, more theoretical tomes.

What a modern girl must do to move product these days!