Star columnist, purple prose aficionado, and nature enthusiast C.W. Gusewelle is plumb tuckered out. You see, he’s grown weary of simply staring out his window and writing about what he sees. And there certainly aren’t any more ducks to rescue, alas. Besides, he really needs a hobby before he’s reduced to writing about misshapen trees or someth — oh, right. Well, it’s a good thing that C-dub finally figured out how to work those consarned rabbit ears, because now he can watch cable news! And do you care to guess how he feels about it? Hint: it rhymes with “shmurshmudgeonly.”
It used to be that individuals of varying political persuasions sat around a table and engaged in the examination of some matter about which they held competing views.
Yes, sometimes the debate was heated, but the rules of civility prevailed. Each participant was allowed to present his or her case and, when challenged, was afforded a chance for rebuttal.
Today, what used to be a contest of ideas is more often than not a screaming match.
Especially annoying is the now-popular split-screen format, in which the host is seen at his studio desk, while the two antagonists, speaking from other locations, appear in separate boxes at the side.
The subject is put forward, and one of the participants is invited to go first. He or she has hardly more than begun, however, when the opponent interrupts with a pre-rehearsed rebuttal.
The host attempts to restore order, but now both guests ignore him — shouting at one another, their arguments lost in the racket, faces contorted, their unintelligible rants coming finally to resemble the wild barking of dogs.
It is in that moment that I thank merciful Providence for the mute button on the TV remote.
Yes, it is annoying. The problem, C-dub, is that it’s been that way since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine — so where’s the all-too-crucial timeliness element of your column? We realize you’ve earned a certain amount of journalistic street cred by writing wistfully for all these years about the halcyon days of your youth, when you frolicked amongst the apple trees or something, but you’ve got to give us something worthwhile to read. Everyone knows cable news is a screaming match. It’s beyond cultural saturation — like a comedian making a joke about men not asking for directions. Understand? It’s not new, and it’s not worthy of discussion or column space. Never thought we’d say this, but maybe you should stick with nature columns.