Monday, April 30, 2007
Busting a Knut
Sometimes one reads something that's so shocking, so abnormal and so fucking stupid, one must share it on their blog. While perusing The Drudge Report, I chanced upon this item from Spiegel Online about Knut the polar bear cub in the Berlin zoo. The article reads more like something from The Onion:
"Knut Steadily Getting Less Cute
It's a tragic fact of life. Celebrity polar bear cub Knut, now almost five months old, is gradually mutating from a fluffy porridge-lapping cub into a heavy bruiser with a penchant for meat off the bone. But the visitors are still flocking to see him.
Knut's days of extreme cuteness are numbered now that he has acquired a markedly longer snout and weighs a chubby 17 kilograms (37 pounds), twice as much as when he first appeared before an adoring public five weeks ago."
So the angle for this feature is about how the polar bear cub is maturing and getting "less cute". This is the same polar bear cub that received an anonymous death threat a few weeks ago. And I thought the Germans were assholes only during World War II.
Anyway, I understand the whole journalism business and getting stories, doing updates and features and meeting deadlines. The editor probably wanted an update on Knut and needed another angle, some different variation on a theme that is Knut the polar bear cub. But stories saying the polar bear cub is "getting less cute" or the implication that people only like seeing cute animals at the zoo is ridiculous. Case in point: The Philadelphia Zoo had a huge gorilla named Massa, who was sold to the zoo in 1935 and died in 1984, his longevity attracting admirers. He lived to the ripe old age of 54 years. Not a cute animal, but one you wanted to see.
That's why this whole Spiegel Online article disturbed me. It was such a fucking waste of time and so ridiculous, I don't know what's happening to the news business anymore. Turn on the TV and your cable news networks have news about celebrities. News content is more of a distraction than actual information. It's schoolyard gossip replacing need-to-know information. The NewsHour with Jim Leher is the only real news program out there. It's the only chunk of television news that doesn't pander to me or insult my intelligence and treats me like an adult. That's the problem with the mainstream corporate media: it treats its viewers like children. Stories about Britney Spears shaving her head, about John Edwards' expensive hair cut, about Knut the polar bear cub growing less cute. It's all bullshit. There's no substance. And what's not gossip is outright opinion and scathing polarized commentary. Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity. They're all cranks. Not one of them actually informs me or sheds light on the darkness. I feel less illuminated with the truth and more loathing of my fellow humans after exposure to their stinking bile.
The only difference between Knut the polar bear and the journalists and media moguls who cover him is that Knut is maturing.