There comes a time in every crisis or disaster when the simple, obvious insanity of the issue becomes hilarious, beyond understanding, within reach only of a bewildered laugh.
They’re programming WHAT? Oh, they can’t be! They are? This is too rich, beyond the pale. Alexander Graham Bell, we’re not in Kansas any more.
So the National Geographic Society is featuring the “greatest mob hits,” an uplifting and educational series on how the dark side of America deals with differing opinions. It’s a celebration of sleaze and unrestricted violence, just what a sabbath needs. The explorers of Machu Picchu, the Antarctic, Everest, the Empty Quarter and the Brazilian Rainforest are no longer parts of our history core curriculum, but who can forget the corpse of Albert Anastasia in a pool of Sicilian blood on the floor of his barber’s shop? The lesson is clear. Right? Well, maybe.
Who cares? Education be damned! Give them what they want. And who knows better what the educated viewers of National Geographic Channel want than Rupert Murdoch? What’s important isn’t the dissemination of knowledge. It is to larf. The object is to get a bigger market share.
Funny, this is too funny. Sure, sure, it might be easier and just as cheap to create reality-reality rather than scripted-reality, and to recount significant histories of discovery and invention. But who would watch? Ask Rupert. Murdoch the Master Comedian is cozening all of us into trivial dross.
I give up. The great satirist Tom Lehrer stopped working after Ronald Reagan was elected. He said that satire had gone mainstream, so why work at it? We’re backwards. Every moment of Congress we see on C-Span is a lie, and the best source of actual news we have is Comedy Central. The National Geographic Society is spoofing itself, pretending to be what it was and isn’t. Those guys in the boardroom must be falling off their chairs laughing. Thank God the loose money will cushion their fall.