I recently scored my first senior discount. When I casually informed my wife I’d pay only half-price on an outing to Kennywood with our nephew because I’m 55, she made an incredulous huffy breath and said, “No you aren’t.”
The photo op is an example of what historian Daniel Boorstin called a “pseudo-event,” an event that takes place solely for the purpose of being covered by the press. Closely related is the staged photo, supplied by institutions of all stripes to project an idealized and in essence persuasive image via the credible medium of the press.
The legal system inspires theatrical and cinematic drama because it captures the full palette of human nature in all its emotional colors: grief, virtue, revulsion, courage, conflict, dishonesty, triumph.
National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre may be the extremist voice of “the gun lobby,” but virtually every single one of us is an active promoter, and consumer, of gun culture.
Imagine you are a farmer. You invest in land, seed, equipment and labor. The overhead is tremendous but your crop grows true. Then, at harvest time, a pack of freebooting strangers charges across your land, harvests your crop, sells it at market and kicks back not a cent. To subsist, you gather up what stray stalks remain and sell them by the roadside. This is the current business model of American journalism.
Journalists, like playwrights and personal injury lawyers, love conflict. A house divided against itself may not stand, but it makes a really neat picture crashing down. This is why the news media, particularly local TV, are covering the upcoming G-20 economic summit like an impending Super Bowl or, better, a post-Super Bowl riot in Oakland.
I had two encounters with thug culture last weekend. One an annoyance, the other tragic. One white, the other black. One where I live, the other where I work.
On Tuesday Sept. 11, as midnight approached, I reluctantly reached out and turned off the television. Like every American, I felt shocked, sickened, dispirited.