Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gibraltar Near Spain

“…you know it ain’t easy, you now how hard it can be.” – Lennon-McCartney

I did the Beatle’s touristy thing in Gibraltar and pilgrimaged to the courthouse where John Lennon married Yoko Ono. Did John change his name to John Ono Lennon there? I have no idea, and without the Internet I need to face the fact that I’m a librarian who knows how to look things up, and that is my skillset. Also, I might add, I can ask directions in English speaking locales. Which great ancient Greek philosopher was famous for the ability to look things up and ask directions? I don’t need the Internet to know that none of them would fit the bill. I’m just not an original thinker, but of course, I would like to be.

By the by, Sky News is tonight’s soundless television selection in the café where I have been writing on this cruise. I have been writing just for fun and because sleeping is difficult. Sky News has the suckiest news crawl across the bottom of the screen that I have ever seen on any news network, bar none. It reports the same fairly bland headline about an AP story concerning the IMF scandal over and over.  Sixteen, or so, words are repeated in a hastily crawling alert along the screen bottom with the label: “breaking news.” Either this is the slowest news day in the history of mankind, or they are trying to hypnotize their viewers with sheer redundancy, like the swinging of a pendulum. “You will now enjoy the commercial break as you wake up completely relaxed, attentive, and refreshed.” Yet, there are no commercials on Sky News, or I haven’t noticed any.

Fox News uses this same moniker, that of “breaking news,” as  bullwhip on the viewer to make opinions seem like news. '”Breaking news” to Rupert’s network could be pretty much any story that implied the correctness of Fox News’ political stance. But Fox News just leaves the breaking news sentence fixedly on the screen while placing an actual varied moving news crawl below it. I mean, the viewer can read one sentence, 16 words in length, without it crawling across the screen, even Fox News viewers.

Sky News, apparently with 4 sheets to the wind wearing a beany cap with propeller spinning, continues with this idiotic news crawl which has no need to be crawling and there is no end in sight. Could this be a glitch or someone asleep at the tiller?

Actually I have heard before of Sky News but until now I have never seen it. I want to say I have some distant memory that Sky is another Rupert Murdoch affair but I see no skimpy short dresses on leggy women or any overweight apocalyptic blackboard demagogues, so I’m probably just wrong… being Internet challenged at the moment. 

Just to prove my point I’ll type the repeated sentence, because honestly, you might think I am exaggerating being as familiar as you must be by this point with my usual aimless style of writing. So, here is the “breaking news!” that has crawled across the screen repeatedly for 30 minutes and I don’t doubt it could go on for hours or perhaps the whole day: “BREAKING NEWS -- AP: Court officials say judge agrees to change bail address for former IMF chief Dominique Straus-Kahn.”  I’m all for international news but seriously, having not followed the story in much detail previously, I cannot imagine the significance of this sentence, not in the least because the wording is incomprehensible.

Let me give you an example of how any competent news agency would handle an important news story crawl: “BREAKING NEWS: Aliens have invaded Earth. Aliens appear to be green and have large hairy ears. They poop canned tomatoes. The world waits to see how invasion will affect IMF chief Dominique Straus-Kahn. BREAKING NEWS: Aliens have invaded…”  In five minutes they would change out the details for future iterations. For any story less important than an alien invasion, there would be other news stories added to the crawly thing, for variety. Who in heaven’s name wouldn’t want more details about something seemingly important enough to repeat endlessly like this? It is self parodying. Sure, some stories might be important enough to repeat the main idea, but only 16 words? Over and over? Tornado warnings in my area, informing of the possibility of imminent danger carry more than 16 words in repetition, despite their sincere need to be as repetitive as possible.

I am seriously thinking I would endure Fox News to get rid of this crawl. It is mesmerizingly anger producing. When in the name of mankind and everything that is holy will they stop repeating this sentence?

The Sky Crawl (a reporter was just labeled a “Sky Reporter” which might lead one to think she was a Delta Airlines magazine writer) …the Sky Crawl, I say, is like my elementary school blackboard upon which I had to write the same sentence 100 times during recess once as a punishment. I was talking to classmates during class and never forgot this lesson I had to write: “An empty cart makes the most noise. An empty cart makes the most noise. An empty cart…”   Oddly, empty book carts make an awful racket on the beautiful but rough surfaced stone tiled floors in the library where I work. Definitely the architect was not a librarian. I’m reminded of the empty cart lesson by this racket a few times a week but I still talk way too much. The lesson was learned, but I have nothing to fill my cart with at times, like in this blog entry for example.

[And the café closed after an uninterrupted hour of the same sentence.]

Hey, wait a minute. I have deeper more original thoughts than a network news crawl writer. Perhaps there is hope for me…  I wonder, though… would news writer or library architect suit me better?