Making the news in our media-driven world | AspenTimes.com

Making the news in our media-driven world

John Colson

If the impresarios and analysts of radio, cinema, television and print media are right, then they and their works define my life in ways I will never fully realize and they always have.There is the chance, of course, that I will come fully to this realization as, say, I lie dying and suddenly recall that I never fulfilled a teenage longing to ravish Judy Carne, who played Barbara Wyntoon on the short-lived sit-com, The Baileys of Balboa, in the mid-1960s.Or some other such folderol.Taking the idea a little further, if Marshall McLuhan was correct and the medium is the message, we truly are in deep trouble as we drift vaguely into cyberspace, a place where kids pay more attention to the electronic devices in their hands than, say, to the pace of traffic as they approach a street crossing.But all doomsaying aside, I was struck by our fascination with the tales we tell about and to each other, and other manifestations of our media-driven lives, while perusing the latest edition of Newsweek to hit my mailbox.On the cover is a split photo of a young boys face, with the headline, Growing Up Bipolar, heralding an article describing One Familys Struggle to Raise A Troubled Son.The details arent important, but I note with interest that I have been dealing with a close friend who is bipolar, and whose life recently took a sharp turn toward self-destruction but is now apparently back on track. So there it is, the cover of Newsweek actually reflects an aspect of my life here in the Roaring Fork Valley.Elsewhere in the same magazine, there is a story about a new movie based on the wildly popular cable television series, Sex & The City, and about how the world has been waiting breathlessly to peek back into the lives of four single, nutty women in New York City.The writer duly pointed out that these characters never really lived up to the revolutionary tag they acquired simply by being single in a world where marriage and parenthood defined their gender, and that they were mooching off the legacy left behind by Mary Tyler Moore and Murphy Brown.But the crowning glory was the opening scene of the article, in which hyperventilating tourists gaped in awe at the New York townhouse that supposedly was the home of the main gal, Carrie Bradshaw, proof beyond doubt that television has done all it can to usurp our real lives in favor of slavish devotion to clichs, glitzy image-making and rampant kitsch.Then there was the article about another new movie, Recount, which takes us back to that awful moment when lying lawyers and corrupt partisan bureaucrats conspired to eliminate actual voting from the democratic ideals of our electoral system, the election of George Bush in 2000. It should be forever remembered as one of those iconic moments that changed our nation, one that people refer to in hushed tones and deep dismay Where were you the day that …?Of course, it is churlish to compare that terrifying ordeal with, say, the murder of President John F. Kennedy by his own government, or the King assassination, or other moments that brought us to our knees in anguish and despair. But, there you have it, the opinion makers are constantly rewriting out history in their own image, and we just have to live with it.On a more somber note, a different article detailed the conclusion by several former government prosecutors that the entire Guantanamo terrorist detainee situation is inherently flawed and probably should never have been conceived, much less attempted.The same can be said for the War In Iraq, which Republican candidate John McCain now says we have won and which he predicts will be all roses and sunshine by 2013, although the rest of us know that both Gitmo and the war were ill-conceived, at best, by the same cabal of feeble minds and that both will end badly if they end at all.Taken all together, its been just another week in the national-media trenches, I guess, where fiction is dressed up as fact and the truth is viewed as a changeable political tool.John Colson can be reached at jcolson@aspentimes.com


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