In one of the funniest routines ever written, right up there with Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s On First,” is Shelley Berman’s rift on airlines written in 1959. In it, he talks about flight insurance, where he refers to the word “Maim” as “a horrible, horrible word” and “should be stricken from the English language.”
I’ve always agreed with Shelley . . . the word “maim” is horrible, but now there is another “M” word even more repellent – and that, my dear readers, is media. And it doesn’t matter if you preface it with the word “news” or “social,” it’s still a terrible word in most cases, and an asinine word in others. How the hell did this happen? It used to have respect. When someone said, “the media reported this or that,” it used to be taken for fact, or at least, a “probable” fact. Now, what most people hear on the news or social media is an outright lie, an exaggeration of a near-truth or at least a sensationalized version of what could or could not have happened.
For an example of the latter, the recent story about the terrorist attack near Chambers Street in Manhattan was “within blocks of the 9/11 attack . . .” Well, what does that have to do with the story? Absolutely nothing, except to make the story sound even more sensational. I mean, the attack was within blocks of “The Bottom Line” night club where Bob Dylan and others of the era sang about the “horrors” of the government . . . maybe there’s a link there, too. The whole thing is ridiculous.
And, this big to-do about Russia influencing the presidential election by hacking computers. If computer hacking was a sport instead of a crime, it would be bigger than baseball and soccer combined. The key word here is influence which means “the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command.” The fact is, we’ve been the subject of influence in one way or another since the day we were born, beginning with our parents and continuing through to the computer age, but at a certain point we should start thinking for ourselves.
I don't know about you, but I've had it with all news media. Newspapers do serve a purpose, but that is only when I go fishing, which I don't do so often these days. Oh, well...at least now we have an even easier way to handle fake news.