If the newsman actually reported the news, would the internet break?

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Mornin’ all.

Last night, I dreamed that I was a blacksmith who specialized in forging weapons for knights. Like, medieval knights. I never saw their faces. As I looked up to hand over the swords, they towered above, the golden rays of sunshine bleaching out any glimpse at the majesty of their beings that I could have had. Magic. Absolute magic. *fangirl sigh*

The weapons were giant, too. The shields I needed to temper were as tall as I was, and the swords were almost impossible for me to swing. And yet, I did it, because the kingdom’s fate relied on my skills.

How friggin’ awesome is that? Can I have that job in real life?

How exactly does one go about becoming a medieval weapon forger? Wait…are there even knights anymore? And where can I get a forge in the first place? There has to be a Forges ‘R Us somewhere…right? Do you think the constant *ting**ting*clunk**ping* of my hammers would piss the neighbors off? Do I have to file taxes if my job is “make weapons that shalt kick ye olde arse?” And would any injuries I suffer as a result of the process be covered under Obamacare, or is that more of a workman’s comp thing?

Hm. Perhaps this is not really suitable for an actual life goal. Maybe I should just settle for creating arms for gallant knights in the cloudy world of Dreamland.

Ah well. I know for a fact there are plenty of villains that need vanquishing there!

Today’s Friday…or as my kids are calling it, “The last Friday of school!” …usually followed by high-fives, back slaps, fist pumps, and the random, “Huzzah, chaps!”

Remember how great it was to be *almost* at summer vacation? I actually used to like the last few days of school more than the first few days of vacation. It was the final leg of a marathon, and the end was so close you could almost taste the icy bottle of Gatorade and feel the firm weight of your participation medal around your neck. Possibilities stretched out before you, your mind painting a picture of the golden days ahead. Would you relax? Go fishing? Maybe camp.

Or if outdoors wasn’t your thing, you’d sit in class on the last couple days of the school year and dream about finally beating your sister’s high score in Bubble Bobble…

*awesome fist bump to anyone rad enough to remember Bubble Bobble*

…or mastering the art of online insults while MMOing. Maybe you thought of the quilt you wanted to make, or the make up you wanted to master, or figuring out how to build the soap box car legends are made of. Maybe you were just looking forward to sleeping in so late that you couldn’t in good conscience say “Good morning” to anyone all summer long.

We all felt like we were going to reach life’s pinnacles, didn’t we? And the anticipation was, without a doubt, far more satisfying than the actual vacation. Don’t get me wrong. I loved summer vacation. But looking back, it was the impossible super hero I saw myself becoming while I itched to hear the final bell that makes me smile now. Everyone thinks they will have a perfect summer. Everyone forgets the bug bites and sunburns and hours of mindless boredom while your folks were at work and having nothing but Spaghetti-O’s and Muy Nachos…

*fist bump for fellow survivors of Muy Nachos crackers*

…for lunch all summer long. The dream was always better than the reality.

That said, as a parent, I won’t disabuse my kids of their excitement. It’s so fun to be on the other side, to watch the glimmer of hope pool in their innocent little eyes for what’s to come in the hot months. Even though I know reality cannot possibly live up to the Most Epic Summer of All Time that’s playing through their heads, it’s wicked cool to see them so giddy.

No, I won’t disabuse them of it now. I’ll wait until I hand out the summer chores list next week. Muahahaha!

Say, have you heard about the jailbreak? Unless you’ve been off the grid in the depths of the dessert with no internet, phone, or a even a view of one of those small message planes that drag informative and funny banners behind them, I’m pretty sure you probably have. I’ll recap, though, for those who need glasses and can’t see what the banner says.

Two inmates broke out of a jail in New York. Newsworthy in and of itself, but nothing like this media frenzy we’re seeing. Why is it so sensational? Because their escape is like something out of a movie. They cut their way out through pipes, and crawled to freedom like Andy Dupree in Shawshank Redemption. They may have had insider help, so there’s another twist of intrigue. And they left a note on the pipe next to the hole with a racially inappropriate drawing and the words “Have a nice day!”

“Oh those bastards!”

See? It’s got it all. I’m not surprised it’s getting so much attention. I am surprised, however, at what different news sites are grabbing onto and running with.

The breakout happened almost a week ago. People clicking their mousies have made this prison break story number one on the news sites, and the hungry fat cats in charge have decided they want to keep people coming back. Why not give them more of what they clearly want?

This becomes a problem quickly, because aside from the basic facts I stated in one paragraph, there isn’t much more that’s actually known. How many times can you say, “Two inmates escaped from jail through the plumbing system, potentially with inside help, and left a rude note to taunt guards on their way out,” before people get bored? The news sites spent the first few days reiterating that info, but there are only so many words in the English language, and only so many ways to coherently arrange them.

So now, with a desire to keep the public informed *cough*clicking on their site and pleasing sponsors*cough*, the news sites are desperately trying to scramble for any angle not yet covered.

Some have chosen to pick apart the lives of the inmates. Okay, they were arrested, convicted, sentenced, and escaped instead of serving their time. They kind of deserve to be under a microscope, and that seems like a legitimate angle for the story.

Some sites have decided to make wild accusations and delve into the lives of the prison guards that may or may not have had anything to do with the prison break. That’s shameful, media. Utterly shameful. The media is, in all likelihood, ruining innocent lives by doing this. No one has been arrested or charged with aiding and abetting, and it’s not “journalism” to throw out random guesses and present them as truth. It is, in fact, the complete opposite of journalism, and any reporters taking part in this unsubstantiated witch hunt should be fired.

“Well that’s a little harsh, Bethie.”

Wait a sec. Hold the phone. A reporter can get canned for saying he was shot at in a military transport when he wasn’t, a lie that literally harmed NO ONE, but we should give a pass to those who are completely making shit up out of thin air and potentially RUINING LIVES?

“…but I was offended by Brian Williams.”

OH. Okay. See, I didn’t know you were “offended.” That changes everything.

*squeak**squeegy* *squiffy noise of wiping sarcasm off the screen*

Aside from potentially destroying the professional lives of likely innocent guards, there’s another trend in the media at the moment that’s got me rolling my eyes and shaking my head. Some news sites have decided to take the ground breaking approach (pun most DEFINITELY intended) of telling people exactly how to cut their way out of jail using the tools that most jails have in their maintenance departments.

Let that sink in a minute.

This “responsible” news outlet has decided to educate the public at large on the best, most feasible way to break out of jail, should they ever find themselves locked inside that iron cage. They’ve spoken with power tool experts, dug deep and found supply lists for the average jail house, and combined the knowledge to provide us with a handy dandy breakout plan.

There are lines in journalism that have nothing at all to do with causing offense. What kind of message are they sending by doing this?

“Bethie, it’s just an article.”

…on a well respected news site, by people who are trusted to be journalists. There’s a responsibility in reporting the news that has slipped by the wayside. Are people interested in knowing how the convicts broke out? Of course! Should a site write a Jailbreaks for Dummies booklet that anyone with a basic education can follow? REALLY??

In situations like this, I like to ask myself, “WWWD?”

What Would Walter Do? Walter being Walter Cronkite, of course. One of the best newsmen of all time.

…OMG. You…you don’t know who that is, do you? Damn I feel old. *sigh* Google him. Watch the YouTubes. Learn. THAT, kiddies, is journalism. That is what the news used to be. Facts. Well researched facts presented by someone with integrity. Novel concept, eh?

And the other thing I wanted to talk about before I take my mediacentric soap box apart to make a summer derby car…

Fat in the media.

Fat asses. Fat guts. ‘Merican fat bellies. Fat faces. Double chins. Flabby arms and thunder thighs.

These things happen. They’re real. There are bodies out there which are larger than average.

My question is… If someone else is fat, what in the hell is it to you?

Why is there so much anger and hatred these days at someone who is overweight?

A celebrity puts on a few pounds, it’s the end of the world according to the news. Stocks will plummet, society as we know it will break down, martial law will be enacted and we’ll be forced to loot and pillage for the basic scraps needed to survive if the paps see even a hint of a belly on a popular actress. Jennifer Lawrence went up half a size…might as well say that Godzilla is rampaging for all the panic, fear, and hate that is lobbed her way.

And not just actresses. Average people on the street. How many times are we bombarded with articles and exposes that claim to want to help people get “healthy,” but are actually no more than a ploy to turn larger people into side show freaks? And to create an insurmountable chasm between you and them?

Do you know why people are fat?

No. No, you don’t. You can’t possibly, because each story is different. Each set of genes is different. Each metabolism is different. Each fragile emotion is different. Perhaps there was abuse, and the person found comfort in food. Maybe there was trauma, and the person got bigger to feel safe. Maybe there’s a chemical imbalance that makes it impossible for the person to stop eating. Maybe the person is struggling with deep depression. Maybe the person never learned proper nutrition. And yes, maybe the person is just lazy.

The point is, you don’t know. You have no idea what has led to a stranger having excess body weight. Dr. Oz doesn’t know. That annoying twat Jillian Michaels who yells at all fat people doesn’t know. And do you know what? You don’t NEED to know. Because no matter what the media tells you…

….hang on. This is important, so it’s getting it’s own line. With caps. And bold…

SOMEONE ELSE’S BODY HAS NO EFFECT ON YOUR LIFE.

Period. Fat or thin or average, it just doesn’t. It’s not something to get angry about. It’s not something to shame people for. It’s not something you should be concerned with if you aren’t overweight. The only thought you should ever have about a stranger’s body fat content is, “Not my business.” Because it isn’t. And when you jump on the current bandwagon and let the media whip you into a frenzy over someone else’s ass, you are just dancing like a puppet on a string.

“But they need to be healthier.”

Two points:

1) Anger at fat people does not stem from any desire at all to see them get healthier. It stems from miserable people who are miserable in their own lives and crave something that will make them feel superior to others. If it was about health, there would be sympathy and understanding, not anger and vitriol.

2) We DO need to be healthier as a society, but as long as the media is making someone else’s fat an “us” vs. “them” debate, THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

Because the truth is, it’s NOT an “us” vs. “them” debate. It’s not a “debate” at all! It’s a health issue. Is there “debate” about cancer? Strokes? Would you ever say, “Get off your ass and DO something and maybe you wouldn’t have gout, asshole?” No, you wouldn’t. That’s utterly ridiculous, because there’s so much more to curing those health problems than simply wanting to be better.

And the very same goes for people with weight issues. As with every single other health problem in the history of ever, it’s a complex and personal journey for the person affected. Complex and PERSONAL.

So why is the media telling us we need to be angry about someone else’s body weight? Why have they made it their place to encourage the public to shame people about their health problems? Why has the media decided to do it’s level best to make you fat monitors for everyone else?

I don’t get it, folks. I guess I just don’t understand the current trends in “journalism.” Telling us how to break out of jail….”exposing” people for wrongdoing that there is no proof they wrongly did…making health issues a point of anger and hatred…

Is this trend going to continue? Should we keep clicking and letting it continue? Don’t you miss logging on to a news site and just getting the news? Because I do. I miss the days when the news didn’t try to whip me into anger, or bring me in on conspiracies.
WWWD?

Cry.

Walter would cry.

Thus concludes an admittedly preachy Musing for Friday, June 12, 2015. I’m off to put my headphones on and listen to a podcast while I sand down a car. Don’t worry, I’ll wear a mask. Wouldn’t want to harm your life by getting a stuffy nose from the dust. That would be, like, totes irresponsible of me to put you through the trial of seeing me have the sneezes, and I’d hate to put you in the position of having to sneeze-shame me.