I have to get myself in the proper frame of mind to handle all of Kevin’s and Pam’s and Jon’s and dday’s news stories of the day, so I wake up to Boston’s NPR morning edition and lie there, semi-catatonic, listening for about an hour or so until I’m totally depressed and can’t stand it any more.
Today they were talking about what they apparently believed to be “good news,” the story that finally, by popular demand and Presidential edict, America is going to get a national college football playoff. Mr. Obama once said he planned to “throw my weight around” and order a national playoff, so it’s good to know he believes he should use that power for something worthwhile. The story went on about how the country has been deprived for a century of the satisfaction of . . . uh, something, which I translated as knowing which collegiate athlete program is the most corrupt at recruiting the future stars for the NFL Gladiator spectacles.
Toward the end, someone mentioned that one reason the college administrators at football schools like the idea is because of the money. No kidding? Yeah, they’re going to make zillions on the tv rights and commercials. We won’t even mention that the winner will be able to recruit better, so we can all look forward to a nation of kids educated at the University of Alabama, or Florida, or some place in the wrong century.
So what this is really about is that the people who sell you beer with fantasies of the kind of sex you might have missed in your twenties would really like about 50 bajillion eyes on another couple weeks of commercials. And they’ve got you. “They” means Karl Rove, Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Bros, Apple, Comcast, America’s insurance companies and banks and other fine representatives of the corporate world. I can’t wait for the cable/phone/internet companies to tell us how great it is that near monopolies control how they price and screen what you see and how you get and share information, especially your personal information while Facebook is unilaterally changing your name.
But the corporations salivating the most over this great news are the folks who are destroying your planet. Yeah, the oil boys, gas men and coal corps can’t wait to expand their propaganda to a younger, half-sober audience who aren’t aware or don’t care they’re buying a future that’s unsustainable.
The fans won’t notice that the condescending scene in which a young black women concerned about the environment — she’s the Obama fan in this play — is put down by her fellow students and the professor whose chair and research are funded by Conoco is there to make sure you don’t believe a rival propaganda piece with the serious lady in black and white telling you that your patriotic oil companies will take care of America forever with American energy. Go America!
The price of this future, of course, is obscured by the coal guys, who want you to know that they can keep the lights on for practically nothing, if you don’t count health care costs. Yes, the non-existent “clean” coals can keep America’s factories humming with hundreds of years of toxic, climate busting fuels, as long as you don’t allow the EPA to do its job. And don’t worry about the rising health care costs; we’ll have Paul Ryan’s premium support. We’re Number 1!
Finally, about that nice lady, Nora Ephron, who died but left us Sleepless in Seattle and other wonderful gifts. Love your stuff, but I just have to say you were wrong about some men. The famous line, “men never get this movie,” wasn’t entirely correct. In fact it’s not plausible that the two men in the “Dirty Dozen scene” would have been with the women in that movie if they were not susceptible to choking up at that moment “when she’s sitting there, with her little legs all shriveled up, and he’s about to walk out the door and never know.” And it happens every damn time. We just don’t let on.
People who don’t know what I’m talking about are part of the reason we can’t have nice things.