Dec 14 - 20, 2006 
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Thin Line

By John Bear

Pork-Induced Paralysis--I took a much deserved day off last Tuesday. I had contracted a scorching case of dysentery from eating cheap pork sausage--purchased at a massive corporate catch-all that has overtaken every small town in America like some terrifying economic Genghis Khan. It is, sadly, the only affordable food depot in my new hometown (Alamogordo) for the woefully underfinanced wordsmith.

But that’s a story for another time.

In between bouts of passing out and forgetting who I was for half an hour, I watched television. Five-thirty rolled around and I was pleasantly surprised.

For once.

The NBC national news was running its half-hour segment with "minimal commercial interruption."

What a novel idea. After being bombarded for nearly 24 hours a day with different ways to make myself complete--and at shockingly low prices--I was finally giving a brief reprieve, if only for half an hour.

My recollection is a bit hazy, as I was in the throes of pork-induced paralysis, but I distinctly recall Middle East coverage that lasted for more than 10 seconds, a new record. The more in-depth coverage recalled, if ever so slightly, the PBS news, a program the networks would be wise to emulate.

Even though the television news is chock-full of those prepackaged “news segments” which amount to little more than cleverly disguised advertising, it's a beautiful thing when the powers that be decide to let one massive corporation sponsor the news.

After all, those swine known collectively as marketing reps have 23-and-a-half hours left in the day to let me know that I no longer have to suffer through the agony of fidgety foot syndrome or bow down to the infernal overlord of sorrow: male erectile dysfunction.

To veer into unknown tangents for a moment, all these diseases are aggravating my Over Paranoid Syndrome. It’s genetic. And there is no cure.

And we’re back in five, four, three … This new commercial-light development in the television news world makes me feel kind of fuzzy, a sensation I am not used to.

In fact, I'm a little scared. A momentary lapse of bitterness can terrify the professional disliker of everything.

Talking head Brian Williams said the new format was an experiment and they would be trying it out again. I hope they stick with this ingenious concept. Yes, I called it ingenious, at least as ingenious as bland corporate news can be.

Since local news channels tend to ape everything the big wigs do--from hairstyles to snazzy graphics--the local yokels may very well follow suit.

Imagine a 10 p.m. news program with minimal weather interruption, a noticeable lack of boorish, disembodied voices enticing consumers with calls of No money down! No payments for 75 years! No ambulance-chasing cretins promising big cash settlements. And, best of all, no local television news commercials.

If this catches on, local and national television news programs will be forced to fill their time slots with what’s going on--fake news segments notwithstanding.

If they say, “but it’s a slow news day,” they're lying. Trust me. I live in a town where nothing ever happens. But there's always something happening.

 
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