Every time when I drive in my car listening to a music station and the announcer says “we’ll be right back, don’t go away”, I automatically hit the button for the next preset station. If that station too has commercials, I keep hitting the buttons until I find music that I can listen to.
Sometime, when all of my presets are submerged deep under a tsunami of commercials, I turn the radio off and listen to the gentle and soothing sound of silence. I kind of suspect that most people do the same thing, but I am not really sure about that.
I find myself doing basically the same thing when I try to find something worth watching on one of the “news channels” on my TV.
Some of the topics discussed this Sunday morning were as follows:
1. The main topic of “Up With Chris Hayes” was “Not Made in USA”. Several interesting talking heads, all of them new to me, were discussing the business model of Apple, the past, present and future of the iPhone, the horrible ordeal of hundreds of thousands Chinese serfs who have to manually assemble devices for a few cents an hour which are then sold to us for hundreds or thousands dollars by Apple, but also Hewlett-Packard, Dell and other companies, in an extremely toxic environment if they want to survive, for a while, anyway.
2. The main topic on the Bloomberg show was “The Rise And Fall Of Internet Companies”, including Blogger, Twitter, Facebook and other companies. Fascinating glimpses into the recent past of companies that play a bigger and bigger role in our lives, until somebody comes up with a better mouse trap that can deal a mortal blow to any of these companies.
3. CNN International had on a show with Fareed Zakaria from Davos, Switzerland, which I found very interesting partly because he spent a lot of time talking about the demographics, indebtedness and bleak prospects of Japan.
4. After a while, a new show with Candy Crawley (she’s as mean as she looks) started on CNN International. Candy was interviewing Ron Paul and she seemed to have basically only one question that she was really interested in: “Which of the remaining GOP candidates would you be willing to endorse?” What she was implying by that, of course, although she did not say it for the moment, was: “We all know that you are a pathetic loser with a squeaky voice and that you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell to be nominated”.
Although I am really interested in either and all of the topics that were discussed this morning on my alphabet news station channels, I was unable to listen to any of the stations for more than about 3 or 4 minutes because that is how often the programs were interrupted by long commercial breaks, at which point I changed the channel and strayed to another of these three stations if it did not have commercials on.
So instead of really listening to what any of these talking heads wanted to tell me, I heard bits and pieces from about 16 talking heads in short burst of about 2 to 4 minutes about eight or nine subjects. However, I was not really able to listen to any of these shows because the segments were so short that neither the speakers nor the listeners were able to really develop a coherent train of thoughts.
I came away from the experience very frustrated. It’s like being with a beautiful girl who is just teasing you. She will let you do anything to her, well, almost anything, except for, you know, what you really want to do to her.
I still remember that this was what happened to me for example in 1978 with a beautiful blonde Slovak girl in a student dorm in East Berlin. It has been more than 30 years, but I still remember it because it was so excruciatingly frustrating. I later found out from a Polish student that she did exactly the same thing to him because she had a boyfriend that she was going to marry and this way she was still able to have some fun, while, legally speaking, remaining faithful to him.
That girl would be on solid ground and she would not be lying to her fiancé if he asked her 34 years ago whether she remained faithful to him. I have a feeling he did ask her. Come to think of it, she was probably Catholic.
But I really hate being teased like that, whether it’s by blonde girls, MSNBC, Bloomberg, or CNN. Since neither my relationship with that “faithful” girl back then or with the “news channel stations” this Sunday morning were consummated, I was left in both cases with a feeling of deep frustration.
I think that the girl whose path I crossed for a brief period of time decades ago in East Berlin probably went on to marry a guy she did not really love because she was so incredibly superficial.
And I also think that I need to stay away from TV talk shows of the various channels of the Wall Street Media that try to lure viewers with promises of interesting subjects to be analyzed by knowledgeable people.
That too is just teasing. Because the real purpose of the show is to sell stuff peddled in the commercials and the stuff that is subtly peddled by the talking heads, these shows are even more superficial than that silly Slovak girl in East Berlin more than thirty years ago.