Friday, December 27, 2013

Most News is No News, 2013's Biggest Non-Stories

When my now teenage daughter was little, I tried to shield her from the news. 

In my opinion (and personal experience) most of the news on TV is designed for two purposes, neither of which is to make us intelligent or informed. Televised news stories get the networks more eyeballs ("Stay tuned for exclusive fast-breaking story available only here at WXYZ, your local authority on all news, all the time ... blah blah blah.") and/or to get the owners of those eyeballs to buy anti-anxiety medication from pharmaceutical company sponsors. 

Yep, I'm a wee bit cynical about it. And not just because I love the movie Broadcast News either. But, of course, I do!

As any parent paying any kind of attention will tell you, shielding our kids from pretty much anything is a losing battle. When the twin towers fell on 9/11, my daughter's preschool sent home a note. They would not address the terrorist attacks in class. If we chose to at home, they asked that we impress upon our children that they not bring it up among their playmates. The very next day, I walked in and saw an elaborate construction (or deconstruction) project in the center of the Pre-K floor. Skyscrapers of blocks were under attack by toy airplanes as little dolls dove to their death.

Clearly all the children had been shielded from the news. Yeah, right.

My daughter is still not very interested in the news (unless it arrives via text from a friend), but she does learn about current events in various classes. We have political discussions at dinner. She has actually been known to look at a newspaper. Yes, a paper one, really. But, I still prefer not to have the nightly news on. Not because of real stories: the Boston Marathon Bombing, the Papal Congress, the war in Syria, nuclear missile threats. Not because of important political issues: gun control, the Affordable Health Care Act, the Federal Government furlow. 

No, I can't abide the news because of all the manufactured trash.

I'm not talking about magazine shows on entertainment channels. I'm talking about national news. This year, in particular, we have made mountains out of not-exactly-newsworthy molehills. Some of the biggest headlines are just plain laughable. Haircuts? Tweets? Twerking?  

Here are my Top 10 So-Not-News Stories for 2013. Let's take a quick trip down recent memory lane ...

10. Jennifer Lawrence's haircut. OMG! Stop the frrrrkin' press. A haircut! Whoa. 

9. Miley Cyrus showing off her buff and barely legal body in  her nude video "Wrecking Ball." In a way, it's a shame. I actually like the song. Then again, if I looked like that, maybe I'd want to show and share too.

8. Toronto Mayor Robert Ford who admitted to smoking crack "probably in one of my drunken stupors," and went on to quite explicitly describe why he didn't need to eat out. Um ... Mr. Ford, TMI, baby. TMI.

7. Miley Cyrus twerking with giant toy teddy bears and Robin Thicke on the MTV Video Music Awards. The performance was ridiculous and arguably inappropriate — and drove more than 300,000 tweets a minute. Say what?

6. The Royal Baby. Okay, I confess that I was caught up in all the Wills and Kate pregnancy drama. And, I was really hoping for a girl. She would have been the first female heir to the throne by her own worth, not because she happened to be brotherless. Ah. Maybe next time.

5. Miley Cyrus and her public feud with Sinead "I'm saying this in a maternal way" O'Connor. Ladies, ladies. Can't you agree to disagree (and agree that either way, there's no such thing as bad publicity)?

4. Paula Deen's n-word. Is it cool that her down-home Southern charm included a heaping helping of good old-fashioned racism? Of course not. But do what you need to do (fire her, boycott her, whatever) and move along already.

3. Miley Cyrus and her break-up with fiancé Liam Hemsworth. In an interesting confluence of not-really-news news, Hemsworth plays Gale in the wildly successful Hunger Games movie franchise. In it, he's the hometown honey of one Katniss Everdeen, portrayed by non other than Jennifer Lawrence who ... wait for it ... got a new haircut! OMG!

2. Kim and Kanye (or anyone else related to a particular K-family that we all know, although I for one am not sure why). 

And, of course, while she may have lost to His Holiness for TIME's Person of the Year, the biggest winner as far as column inches (or whatever the Internet's equivalent is) was, you guessed it:

1. Miley Cyrus. This young lady won the non-news lottery. She's the one we love. She's the one we hate. In 2013, she's the one laughing ... all the way to the bank.

'Hope you had a very Miley Christmas and best wishes for a twerktastic New Year.

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