No real way to be

First off, I’m a little pissy. I used to like Yahoo a lot- , but then they did betraying acts like trying to force me into their new, crappy-ass mail platform which doesn’t function properly in a Safari browser (if it functions at all).

Did Microsoft manage to buy Yahoo? Because they used to feature at least some decent headlines in their top news stories, but now-

If it isn’t cosmo-ready crap like ‘Is your man cheating on you?’ It’s these even worse news stories where they give a mighty mouth-piece to really unworthy objects. Let’s not talk about the President’s speech, or try to give an objective outlines to the pros and cons of healthcare reform, no- let’s incessantly drive people’s attention to a senator’s shocking lack of respect in heckling the president during his address. Let’s give this guy all the press we possibly can, and mention over and over that it seems to be Joe who got all the attention, and possibly rallied the democrats through the medium of outrage, rather than President Obama’s substantive message.

How weird is that? The media uses their control to publish what people are paying attention to, and draws attention to what they say everyone’s paying attention to, because they won’t publish anything else.

I know I sound like a retarded third grader. It’s not like this hasn’t been going on since the first caveman journalist skewered a factual account of a mammoth hunt to put his buddy, Mister ‘Couldn’t catch a dead tortoise’ in a better light, but it’s not just the bias of current popular media.

I’m astounded by the stupidity of it.

It really is all about sensationalism. Even news sources who don’t need to constantly wave the ‘shiny’ shock stories to keep a following stoop to that action. No one seems to trust that there’s a readership for somewhat fair, informational news.

Stories whose subject matter shocks or outrages, stories that read like a fiery piece of gossip- that kind of news really thrives in an industry where you have marketing and image experts rather than decent writers at the helm.

I’m bored. It’s dumb how reactionary our culture is. It’s even more dumb how little attention seems to be paid to substantive issues, quality work. I’m to blame, I’m guilty- I’ve let my daughter grow up on Hanna Montana and the other Disney horrors, Princess and Barbie books, because it was easier than finding the alternatives. It seemed enough at times that I occasionally try to think critically, and I thought to pass that on at some point.

This trend toward the short attention span isn’t fun or rewarding to be a part of. We don’t have ‘American Culture’, we have glossy ads, soundbytes and billboards.

The American contribution to current events is basically a commercial.

Hand-clasping, pulse-rising, hopeful, hopeful smile

Yes. I’m excited about the Inauguration ceremony. Are you?

I watch the people pouring into D.C. on the news. I see the excitement, the diversity of the features that express that excitement. Have citizens from such a broad spectrum of age, race, economic status and North American geography ever come together this way before?

Probably. But not to my recollection.

I also hear the reports of security. How they are combing through all the threats, how they are trying to apply caution to this event that is meant to be markedly inclusive.

And that makes me think about how fragile hope is. Fragile and immense- symbolized by those sea of faces, this event. And while it bothered me during election that racial considerations were so prominent in the reporting, I was struck today by the reactions of black Americans who are completely ecstatic. Tears of profound gratitude to be witnessing this event, exclamations of disbelief and pure triumph in the fact of Obama, the first black president ever elected in America.

I understood that it was historical. But I didn’t fully comprehend how personal this precedent is to people who have believed themselves on the margin of society all their lives. This is important in ways I can’t grasp fully because there are barriers coming down tomorrow that just never existed for me.

But I’m thrilled. And I feel a part of the changes, and maybe that’s what’s most miraculous about our future president:

So many of us feel like we’re a part of what’s going on. And what feels to be going on is a valid reason to hope for a better tomorrow.

Reading the News

There are ice-storms in Massachusetts,
and to the north, a valley full of flood.
Newsprint records the span of the world’s fits and tempers
but my mind doesn’t register that much.

I’m just saying that the magnitude can conquer
the fine intercession of the soul:
You can care for an hour, or a measure, or a moment
but then you’re just an ember in the cold.

Wait- We are all composed of moments
that erase like a dream-dismantled touch.
I glimpse the vast picture in a brief illumination,
but it dissolves when I recognize too much.

There’s a reason for this ache, this endless bleeding;
it’s not something that the mind will understand,
but it sounds in the space between the pulmonary surge
and the brush of your hand against a hand.

There are ice-storms in Massachusetts,
and in the north, a valley full of flood.
My heart spares a beat for today’s worried families
in hopes that it will do some good.