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Tom Brokaw Is An Old Fart

4 Oct

October 4, 2017

Tom Brokaw, though semi-retired, is still one of America’s most respected journalists. He anchored the NBC news for 22 years from 1982 to 2004. He’s covered every major story and worked on every major newscast spanning three decades. He’s written books and produced documentaries. He is very well-respected.

He’s also a cranky old man. 

How else to explain the following “you kids stay off my lawn-style rant”? Brokaw has a short commentary series that airs on certain radio stations across the country. It is known as both An American Story and The Brokaw Report. The segments are less than a minute long and the topics are whatever is rattling around in his dusty head. In the segment below, Tom registers his disgust and offense at the apparently brand new to him trend of people wearing ripped jeans. Listen to this and try not to laugh at his righteous, moral outrage.

Click here to listen to Premium Prices for Torn Jeans Are an Insult to the Impoverished.  Go ahead, it is only 39 seconds. 

“It is poverty chic mocking the poor.”

It really seems as though poor Tom has just begun seeing this brand new fad of “mostly women” wearing ripped jeans. I can’t wait for him to discover crocs. But he really believes that wearing torn jeans is, somehow, an affront, an insult, a spit right in the face of poor people. He really is out of touch. He seriously sees it as people playing dress up as poor people. He thinks poverty cosplay is a thing.

Plus he still says “trousers.” The last person I remember casually using the word “trousers” in normal conversation was Mr. Armour, my third-grade teacher, but he gets a pass since he was in his 70’s. In the 1970’s.

Poor Tom Brokaw, worried about all the sad, offended poor folks with their broken hearts and hurt feelings at the sight of a hipster in torn jeans. 

Notice his perfectly unwrinkled trousers, even when slumming with the poor folk.

Lest you think this is just an isolated incident and I’m blowing Tom’s old man cred out of proportion, here are the titles of some of his other rants.

  • The Miracle of Flight Might Not Seem That to People Who Fly Everyday
  • There’s Nothing I Enjoy More Than Spoiling My Grandkids
  • Prediction: Department Stores Will Downsize to Kiosks
  • Email Is A Wonder, But Is Too Often Abused

I’m sure you think I made up the spoiling grandkids one but I didn’t. 

And also, congrats to Fancy Ol’ Me! This was the first time I used the word “lest” in a blog post. Probably the last too, unless I turn into my own version of Tom Brokaw.

Does this look like a man who is out of touch with the poor?

 

 

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My Facebook Finale

27 Sep

September 27, 2017

About a month ago I left Facebook.

It was getting annoying. There were constant fights and disagreements. And I don’t mean over politics. An argument started in a thread where one person said that he didn’t like an old movie from the 1950’s. I merely said that I thought it was OK but I expected more. That’s it. I was then challenged by a couple of college film students who said that I did not understand the differences between television and film, and did not understand the intent of the film, nor did I understand the art of filmmaking in general.

I remind you, this was my comment: “It was OK but I expected more.”
And this is the film: Our Miss Brooks

Would any of you get into a fight over this?

I believed, and rightly so, that there was no point in Hell in getting into a debate over a film as mediocre and forgettable as that, so I bowed out of the argument with what I thought was a classy and witty riposte: “Screw you, assholes.”

OK, I didn’t really say that, but I did abruptly leave the thread in the dust. Why bother? And that was only the last straw. In the days leading up to it, there were huge fights (which I tried- sometimes successfully- to stay out of) over things like comic books and people’s user names. It was all nonsense, all pointless.

But what really got me to leave was that I was stooping to their level. I’d leave snarky comments. I’d get drawn into the arguments. I realized I was as bad as everyone else who trolls online and decided to just stop. I did not make a single comment, or even like anything, for a month. I went on Facebook only briefly to check in on the one or two legitimately scholarly things I look at, and to see what my friends were up to, but I was off and on quickly.

However, you can’t eat just one potato chip, you can’t stop at one lick of a Tootsie Pop, and you can’t avoid clickbait forever. So I decided to go back online and see what happened.

What happened is that after a few days I decided to leave again.

Why? Because who expected to get into an argument over whether the Earth is flat on my first night back?

I tried. I really, really tried, but there were so many people saying so many stupid things it hurt. I don’t mean ignorant or misinformed things, I mean genuinely stupid things.

  • “The Earth ain’t round because I put a Pokémon toy on this baseball and it falls off.” And there was video to prove it.
  • “If I had a really really strong telescope I could see France from my house in Michigan so the Earth has to be flat.”
  • “If the Earth was round we could just walk around it all the way but no has CAUSE IT CAN’T BE DONE.”

And I took it seriously! I know some science. I was a science major back in the day. I debated it scientifically, explained gravity, described the difference between the Earth and a baseball (it’s a lot bigger and heavier) and just generally used a mix of common sense and science to point by point debate a whole bunch of people who are in imminent danger of sailing over the edge of their brain cell.

It didn’t go well. People who believe the Earth is flat tend not to appreciate the scientific method.

I also made an innocuous comment, intended as a mild joke, about a series of comic book covers someone posted.

How was I supposed to know the artist was following the thread?

For the record, yes, the later covers were more or less the same. (More skin less clothes, but the same focus on the face.) The artist was nice enough to not call me out, and seeing he was in the thread I complimented his art (he really is good.) But I never went back to that thread.

So that was my great non-Facebook experiment. I still believe the Earth is round so it must have been a success.

 

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