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It is official; I have joined the curmudgeon crowd. I am now an official member of that group of people that run around bemoaning the ‘signs of the sure apocalypse’ that are being made manifest every time I tune into AM News coverage. The first five minutes of pretty much the same across the country, first, the local station begins its’ “if it bleeds it leads” segment informing the viewers what latest inhumane act we as people have committed against each other; then it’s on to the weather where we are assured that the sun did  actually rise and barring any unforeseen accidents, will more than likely set a bit later in the day, then it’s on to traffic, and depending on where you live, only one of two things will happen, you’ll either sail through and make to work on time or you’ll sit in some log-jam and be an hour late in getting where ever you needed to be.

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Then it’s on to the network or cable AM news shows, where it also follows the local formula, if it bleeds it leads, more weather, more traffic, and then, Hilarity ensues. It seems that while I have purposely been avoiding the morning news shows like the plague, they have been racing to the bottom at breakneck speed. For instance, today I was made aware that if you are a woman who wears high heels to the office Christmas party and drinks a bit too much, you should be careful not to run in said shoes, followed by several clips of women running after busses, trains andor planes, all the while falling rather undignified on their faces. We don’t really know whether or not these women were in fact, under the influence, but I suppose the segment producer made his or her judgments based on purely scientific criteria. Then it was on to Beyoncé, apparently, a soft drink company has chosen her to be their ‘ambassador’ by paying her 50 million smackaroos to adorn their billboards, cans, and wherever else they may find it fitting. I won’t name said soft drink company not just because I don’t use their product, they also will not pay me to hawk their wares.

 This is all going on the background while I am reading some very sobering news about the origin of the Honey Boo-Boo phenomenon when I realize I have missed the boat; not only about Honey Boo-Boo, apparently some very “serious and important” people follow her every move, but also about the very “serious and important” people themselves; I hardly recognized a name.

 That is when I realized that I have joined the “Hey…!!!...Get off my yard…!! Club, complete with ellipses and too many exclamation points…!!! I seem to have lost my point of reference in todays’ society.

 When we should be spending more time getting to the bottom of malnutrition and the lack of opportunity for our youth, we are glorifying excesses; when we should be lifting and engaging our society to reach for the heavens, we seem to be content in appealing to the lowest common denominators.

 And the idiocy does not stop there; what used to be a two hour morning show has morphed into a morning long drudge of cooking, gossip, make-over, more gossip, topped at last by the late morning news, followed by the noon  o’clock news…Whew…!!!

 This is the part where I long for only three channels, that used to actually turn off at midnight or two in the morning, until the powers that be decided that we needed to know everything all the time no matter how mindless and mediocre it might be. There are no journalists, only script readers; there is no in-depth reporting because there is no “bang”, no hook, and no gotcha.

 When we should have been hearing about the lies and machinations that led us into at least one unnecessary and one extended war, our attention is steered towards the American Idolization of entertainment. We did not see coffins for the first seven or so years, and to some extent the American public was fine with that. No one wants to be reminded that there are real people dying in many parts of the world.

 In many cases we have been led down the road of hero worshiping that has in effect cheapened the meaning of the word. Those survivors of the many crimes against humanity in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries see themselves as people who lived and made their lives mean something other than just breathing in and out.

 Those who survived the various Trails of Tears, and there have been many, live to tell their stories so that we may learn from them. The quiet veterans of the many wars don’t puff out their chests and demand recognition; many realize that they are here because one or many of their comrades stepped forward and allowed them another day on this earth, another day to feel the warmth of the sun, and share in the birth of another.

When everyone is a hero, then, no one is.

 I believe that by allowing ourselves to be distracted by the shiny baubles presented everyday by our entertainment media and their so-called news branches, we do ourselves a great disservice, and we learn little and opine much.

The fact that we are still waiting for the next Cronkite or Murrow, is pretty sad actually, because the ones that are coming up are learning from the Maury Povichs, the Jerry Springers, the Piers Morgans; and that is a damn shame.

Happy Holidays, Merry Kwanzaa, Joyful Hannukah, Cheerful Christmas...and Get The Hell Off My Yard...!!!

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