Skip to comments.I Can't Take It Anymore (Dowd alert!)
Posted on 09/08/2001 5:22:08 PM PDT by Pokey78
If you thought it would be hard for TV to top the Summer of the Insatiable Sharks, Ravenous Bears, Killer Bees and Stampeding Lizzie Grubman, you were wrong.
Two networks are racing to air prime-time specials this fall featuring mediums interviewing dead celebrities.
As Lisa de Moraes reported in The Washington Post, NBC and ABC are both doing such shows for fall sweeps. "The November of the Chatting Dead," she dryly calls it.
In a culture so besotted with celebrity, we were bound to run out of upright luminaries to interview. I may tune in if the mediums manage to conjure up the vengeful spirits of Natalie Wood or Nicole Simpson. But the celebrity specter I'd really like to hear from is Paddy Chayefsky, the dazzling satirist who wrote the eerily prescient 1976 movie "Network."
Mr. Chayefsky's ominous predictions from the Ford era about the damage to American democracy from the Pac-Man game of networks gobbled by companies gobbled by other companies gobbled by consortiums gobbled by foreign investors have come true.
W. continued to give away the store to Big Business last week, legally unleashing Microsoft and signaling media conglomerates that they can conglomerate away accelerating the centralization of American power into the hands of a very few very rich people.
W. never met a merger he didn't like, except stems and cells. His White House has become a holding company for Big Money and the Media Oligarchy Murdoch, Gates, Case, Eisner, Redstone.
Mr. Gates is getting back his monopoly over the desktop computer and his reign as the Czar of Broadband. And soon we'll have thousands of channels but they'll all be controlled by the same few moguls.
At least before we had a diversity of trash in our media. Now we're zooming toward a collective mentality, severely limiting the voices that may be heard and muting opposing views. A quarter of American culture will be filtered through Murdoch's sensibility, a quarter through AOL Time Warner, a quarter through Mickey Mouse, a quarter through Viacom.
W., afraid he will be blamed, as Dad was, for the cratering economy, has been going out the past few days echoing Poppy's "Message: I Care."
After the unemployment numbers rose sharply to 4.9 percent on Friday, the president rushed out of the Oval Office to commiserate: "Any American out of work is too many Americans out of work."
But the fanfare for the common man rings hollow, given that Bush Inc. is refusing to turn over documents to Congress about the secret deliberations of Dick Cheney and energy lobbyists cooking up their drill & spill energy plan and is knocking down regulatory hurdles, further pleasing Big Energy, Big Media, Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Telecom and Big Weapons Manufacturers.
A majority of Americans did not elect W. A majority of voters didn't even elect him. A new book about Florida and the Supreme Court decision, featured on this week's Newsweek cover, is titled "The Accidental President." His real constituents are the corporations that gave him $100 million, the biggest political haul in history.
In "Network," the crazed anchor Howard Beale reveals on the news one night that his network has been bought by a corporation and that corporation is being bought by a consortium of banks and insurance companies controlled by the Arabs.
Think of how mad Howard Beale would be today. There are so many examples to choose from: MapQuest, a Web site that provides directions, was swallowed by America Online, which swallowed Time Warner, which owns CNN. General Electric, the company that makes light bulbs and engines on fighter jets, owns NBC. Disney, which owns studios, theme parks and sports teams, owns ABC.
In the movie, the C.E.O. who owns the network explains to Beale that the world is "one vast and ecumenical holding company."
"There is no America," he says. "There is no democracy. There is only I.B.M. and ITT and AT&T and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. The world is a business, Mr. Beale!"
And just as Beale railed: "There is not a single law on the books to stop them!"
How totally sane the mad prophet turned out to be.
Summer doldrums for Maureen.
Look who's talking!
The more W. irritates Dowd (like a burr in the saddle) and her comrades, the more confirmation I have that Bush is doing something right.
Let's see AT&T has been broken into smaller and smaller pieces with the remnant in real trouble. IBM has survived but it no longer comes close to dominating computers like it did in the 60's and 70's. ITT has been a mess with no direction with most of it's divisions sold off many years ago. The other four have had good years, but they've also had bad. None of them come even close to running the world.
And it isn't good for freedom or democracy that most of the mass media is controlled by a few powerful men.
I agree. Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck have far too much power. They should be broken up into smaller men.
Anyway, having written my share of incoherent dreck, on days when I didn't have anything truly interesting to say, I know all the symptoms, and this column is awash in them. She starts out talking about TV shows on the dead, hops to the Microsoft case, tees off for awhile on Georgie, denounces the increasing concentration of our media--most of which happened during the Clinton years but is still somehow Bush's fault...it's just an incoherent mess. Oh well. Bad week. Trouble is, that's all she seems to be having of late. And Ms. Dowd used to write a pretty good column.
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