Monday, May 27, 2013

Eating the News

Old man reading the news and probably getting hungry doing so.

Hell on Earth, a love story was all about Hank's need to get a job in the newspaper business. Except for the episode in the pizzeria there was no eating going on in the whole book. This might have been an oversight because getting the news and eating food are more closely linked together than you might imagine.

Eating the News

In the morning we wake up, pour ourselves a cup of coffee, fix a bowl of corn flakes, step outside to get the morning newspaper, and then sit down to eat and read the news.

In the evening we fix our dinner, turn on the television, and then sit down to eat and watch the news.

The midday news report comes to us at lunchtime—or is it the other way around?

For those in a hurry there are fast foods and news bulletins but I think we can all agree that fast isn’t necessarily filling.

You can get news round the clock, if you wish—twenty-four hours of news no waiting. Those people who listen, watch, and read the news all day actually believe they are getting new news or something called unfolding news but they are really getting old news newly packaged. People who absorb news round the clock are gluttons, the same as people who eat round the clock—only they’re not as round.

Healthy people shouldn’t want and definitely don’t need news all day.  They should only consume the appropriate recommended daily amount (RDA) of news and it probably shouldn’t be taken with meals.

The whole relationship between news and eating is mighty delicious—I mean, suspicious.

Like food, news has to be prepared and whatever is left over must be rehashed but it should never be cooked up.

Food is digested best if there is the right mix, the right company, the right mood and a little wine.  News must also be digested—chewed, mulled over and by all means don’t forget the liquor. Don’t go swimming right after eating food and definitely don’t try sleeping immediately after listening to news.

Speaking of the right mix—hard news should come to us softly, Walter Cronkite comes to mind and soft news should come to us hard, think Andy Rooney.

We don’t like our hard news, the meat and potatoes so to speak, following on the heels of other hard news or proceeding even harder news.  We like a salad of features thrown in here and there, perhaps a plate of human-interest stories, and maybe a dessert of humorous anecdote at the end.

Structure is important with television news.  There’s the hard news—the main dish and then there’s the weather and sports.  It kind of reminds you of the trays we had as kids—the ones with the main section on the bottom and the two smaller sections at the top, or vice versa, except who ever heard of the weather and sports coming before the main news.

Too much food, even if it is healthy food and food you enjoy can make you sick.  Too much news, even if it is pleasant news and fed to you by the news people you like can also make you sick. Why that is, is news to me but I think we all know the feeling.

What I do know is you can’t do anything about the news. News isn’t news until it happens and once it happens, it’s too late to change it. When you get the news, it’s already old news, dead meat like the food you eat. 

You can do something that will become tomorrow’s news, but it won’t actually BE the news until you actually do it—just like you can grow a cow as big as a horse but it won’t be a steak until it is slaughtered and once it is slaughtered there is nothing else you can do to it—except A-1 sauce. 

A-1 sauce is like background music but most people do not like their news put to music.

Maxim Litvinov said to Walter Lyman Brown in 1921,  “Food is a weapon.”

That was news to me.

“A newspaper is always a weapon in somebody’s hands,” said Claud Cockburn in 1956.

Now, that’s food for thought.

But why food and news together? And why does consuming either always leave you hungry for more while diets limiting intake are totally out of the question?

I don’t know but I do know this.

Practically everything you eat is bad for you while practically all the news makes you feel bad.  That’s the bad news.

But most people can't eat and concentrate at the same time and if you can't pay attention to the news it sure makes it easier to stomach. That's the good news.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We Can Work It Out, Try and See It My Way

I entered the Great American Think-Off again this year, the 2013 edition. The question posed was
“Which is more ethical: sticking to your principles or being willing to compromise?” My response didn't earn me a trip to Minnesota for the final debate but I enjoyed writing this piece and more importantly, researching it. My title indicates that I believe a willingness to compromise is necessary to put one's principles to the test.

Our government seems pretty dysfunctional at times and one of the biggest problem is everyone sticking to their guns. At the same time this is happening it seems everyone and his brother is quoting the founding fathers, usually in defense of refusing to compromise. Well, here's a picture of the founding fathers compromising, with rather obvious success. Of course there wasn't a 24-hour news cycle then and they still had to lock themselves behind closed doors but they hashed out their differences and got something done.

We can work it out, Try and see it my way

Principles are the fundamental truths, doctrines, or motivation forces, upon which others are based—building blocks upon which we structure our whole social order.

A good principle to build on might be: Anything that can be built can be built badly.