I watch morning television and I fear the world I love. I imagine the people I pass on the sidewalk with subheadings under their faces – “Ex-wife of Suspect,” “Sister of Shooting Victim” or “Father of Missing Child.” The television blinks missives and stories simultaneously, one under another; a compost heap of stupidity and numbness. Its commercials try to sell us supplements, super-juices, sugar-packed cereals, face lifts, ideal green energy, politicians, mops that fit into the tightest of corners, orgasmic chocolates, hair products to smooth us into who we ought to look like. Breakfast news entertains us. Musical families compete with each other and news anchors surprise “drowsy” families at their doors to announce they are the chosen ones. The dire economy is addressed with the re-introduction of depression-era recipes, women are encouraged to dress like Michelle Obama and feed their children what the First Family eats. Everything is derivative.
A few mornings ago the top news story was “Death Comes to Reality TV.” Nothing is real until we see it on television. Even death. I have to hand it to death, because it doesn’t care about television at all. It does its job unsanctioned, unbidden, and often is horribly creative.
Last night I watched a movie called “Bande å Part” or “Band of Outsiders” by Jean-Luc Godard. There is a scene where one of the main characters, a young woman named Odile, is being questioned by her aunt. The aunt lists all of the conventional things a young girl might like, and Odile rejects them all. “I detest that,” she repeats. Then she leans against the wall and says, “J’aime la nature.”
Me too, Odile. I love the parts of the world that are not broadcast; the crocus that grows out of a crack in the sidewalk, the kid who rides his unicycle across the bridge every morning to get to school.