Friday, March 25, 2005

A Gift From The Gods

I wasn't going to write about this any more, but events keep getting in my way.
Here we are on Day 8 of the Terri Schiavo circus.
I watch Jon Stewart crucify the cable news outlets for their comical, over-the-top histrionics.
The news today has been full of "new evidence" that Mrs. Schiavo is more animate than anyone had ever suspected over the last 15 years: I half expect to hear that she has jumped out of bed and rushed off to her lambada class.
Then I turn on a movie I Tivo'd last night: Nothing Sacred, a screwball comedy from 1937 about the media circus that develops around a beautiful girl (Carole Lombard) they believe is dying of radium poisioning. The phoniness of the "concern," the outrage of the mayor and the newspaper editor when they find out the girl is a fake -- it's all a perfect satire of what's been happening this week.
I'm sure Turner Classic Movies scheduled the broadcast of this film long before the current circus erupted, but the timing couldn't be better.
When the move is over, I switch briefly to CNN Headline News, where a bizarre, hysterical female impersonator named Nancy Grace is screaming about Ms. Schiavo. There it is: Nothing Sacred in real time.
I still think the Schiavo story is a heartbreaking tragedy, but the media and the right-wing politicians have so cheapened it that I can't help laughing at their ludicrous theatrics.
I said a few days ago that the only possible positive outcome of this would be a serious national discussion about "life."
Now I think there's another positive outcome: The rapid disintegration of the cable news outlets into the targets of public ridicule that they should have become during the presidential campaign. It's going to be difficult for anyone to take those clowns seriously after their behavior this week.