Wednesday, February 16, 2005

C. Boyden Gray Does Not Make My Day

I'm back. No internet access. And after spending too much of the night hitting the buttons on my hotel TV's remote with the desperate frenzy of a lab rat pressing a lever for a hit of cocaine, I can tell you...I ain't missing anything. I don't have cable, and refuse to get it. I just can't bring myself to pay for television, no matter how good it is, but the eternally hopeful naif in me likes to sit down with it when I travel, just to see if I can find a gem out there. Then I'm almost always disappointed when I get to watch it, because it's not even that good. I can't stand the segmented niche marketing of it all, how they divide up the audience so that people have less and less common culture to unite them. How many networks for 18-24 year old female bisexual video-game-playing manga fans who like country music and diseases-of-the-week do we need? How much shopping can one person tolerate? If you're older than 22, you've lived long enough to see many of the recycled shows they run for the second or third time. If you're over 50, God help you, you can start thinking you got sucked into a time warp and spit out on your parents' floor in your jammies, begging to stay up long enough to finish watching Bonanza or Adventures in Paradise. The really good things, like The Sopranos, Jon Stewart, Oz, or Angels in America, aren't on enough to make up for all the dreck. And I can't bear to torture myself watching those self-important blowhards on the news shows spinning for their favorite commissars and treating their guests like gods or pond scum, just to write about how obnoxious and clueless they are (I know the blogworld is made up of lots of folks who do, and God bless you, you're a better man than I, Gunga Din).

In the end, it was a little of Animal Planet, a little Law and Order, some CNN Headline News, and, knowing I'd never make it to 11 to see Carnivale, I shut the whole damn thing off and read a book---"Demons", by John Shirley, a wonderfully loopy story with heavy liberal-nightmare political flavor. Read it, and see if you can locate the Dick Cheney character.

But on the way home this afternoon, listening to Terry Gross' Fresh Air, I had the dubious pleasure of being harangued by Boyden Gray's faux outrage about the filibuster stymie of Bush's judicial nominees. Such harrumphing and high dudgeon! The man tries to sound like William F. Buckley, but lacks the wit to pull it off, and comes off like a quibbling lawyerly shithead with Larchmont Lockjaw and a penchant for bullying his interviewer. I was flying through the pouring rain, yelling at my radio and wishing I had a keyboard.

Well now I do.

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