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News?

Posted: February 9, 2013 - 3:39pm

I went through some old newspapers and checked online to see if there was something in the news that I could rant about this week, but I’m having a difficult time deciding on what’s really important enough. Lots of the regular celebrity news: who had a baby or will in the next nine months; does the People Magazine cover make Jennifer Lopez look old; who fathered Michael Jackson’s children (I thought that was old news).

There’s the girlfriend that doesn’t exist. Not being a football fan, I can’t understand what is so important about some kid being hoaxed online, or not, except that the media fell for it. That certainly isn’t the first thing they’ve been taken in by in the past few years, but I might have to get political if I expound on that point. It was good for an interview with Katie Couric with more to come, I’m sure.

And to follow the sports line, Lance Armstrong, who I hoped had disappeared from the public eye for awhile, supposedly apologized for his transgressions — to Oprah, no less. His defense (reason, excuse?) was that everyone else was doing it. I could only think of my mom’s response to that reasoning: “And I suppose you’d jump off a bridge if everyone else was doing it.” Apparently he might have, considering the extreme steps he took to be a copy-cat. Give it a few months. He’ll be back, just like Arnold! The public has a tendency to forgive if not forget.

Then there’s the new Coca-Cola ad trying to bring some reason to the argument about obesity: everything in moderation. But we need a villain, and Coke is an easy one. At least now I know who to blame for the several extra inches around my hips and I don’t even drink pop! (Sodas to you who speak another language.) We place the blame on the object so we don’t have to address the habit. Let’s ban guns, get rid of tobacco, put warnings on hot cups of coffee, but for heaven’s sake do not ever expect us to take responsibility for our actions or examine the social milieu that makes us do what we do. We might have to admit that the past several years have been a social experiment that didn’t work. That discussion was only good for about two days because Lance came on scene but I have seen the ads a few times on TV.

The real news of the month, though, is that a customer in Australia measured a foot-long Subway sandwich and found it was only 11 inches. The New York Post did some research and found that four out of seven Subway foot-longs were less than 12 inches. Wow! That missing inch can make up for the extra Coke! Subway responded that “foot long” is simply a descriptor, as it is difficult to assure a 12-inch bun after baking, and also, Australia and many European countries use metric measurement so “foot long” is not a measurement in those countries. I’d go one further and say it depends on whose foot you’re measuring but I’ve been called a smart alec before. And now Subway is being sued because of the shortfall and they promise to bake more accurately.

By then it was time for lots of inauguration news, up to and including the number of porta-potties they rented for the expected crowd. Michelle wore the same dress twice during the Hawaiian vacation and elicited several comments, all good, because we all wear our clothes more than once. However, she did not wear the same dress to the inauguration that she wore four years ago; but then, who wears the same dress to prom?

The talking heads have dissected everything about that day from whether Beyoncé lip-synced the National Anthem to whether the president’s speech really said anything — or was he lip-syncing, too? And now, after the fact we learn that Michelle has her hair in bangs! What a headline!

Have you ever thought that24-hour news is a blight on the landscape? When we came to Alaska the news was broadcast on TV once a day, and it was a day late. If you wanted current news, you relied on the radio, hoping they’d cut in with bulletins if anything important happened. We were in the village and learned of Bing Crosby’s death that way (even then certain celebrity activity was news, but it was usually somebody died or was lost at sea or something equally as dire).

Then one year, the Super Bowl was broadcast live and someone must have said “Ummm ... if we can get a football game the same day there must be some way we can watch same-day news,” and soon we had TV news when it happened. It wasn’t until 1980 that Ted Turner blessed us with 24-hour news and it went downhill from there.

“All the news all the time” is certainly subject to interpretation. I have just written eight hundred-plus words about the news and have not mentioned the economy, the national debt, Syria or North Africa or even the weather. I could be writing for CNN.

Virginia Walters lives in Kenai.

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