Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Squirmin' on the Mount

Sticks and Stones
BACK IN MY DAY we didn't have fancy little lenses strapped to fishing poles! If we wanted to shoot something way up on a mountain we man-hauled a camera the size of a baby grand piano straight up the face of Old Baldie! BOTH WAYS! I'm serious - I once crushed three vertebrae just so Roger Mudd could one-up that Charles Kuralt show-off!

We didn't have those newfangled cell phone transmitters, either! If we wanted a live broadcast, we did it the old fashioned way! With heavy cables, lots of overtimes and enough cigarettes to choke a bus full of orphans! Nor did have those fairy iPhones! We used bulky two-way radios and when we did we used official police ten-codes! THE WAY GOD INTENDED!

And another thing! We didn't dress so damn comfortably! We wore heavily-starched dungarees or action slacks! None of this cargo-pants crap for my generation! Up top we favored an ill-fitting station golf shirt and/or a proper utility vest! You simply can't pack the correct number of back-up camera batteries in a pair of skinny jeans! NOR SHOULD YOU TRY!
Oh, while I have you - nix all that infernal twittering! Was a time a grown-ass photog wouldn't be caught dead snapping pictures of his ham sandwich, let alone posting status reports on Faceplate! And what's with all these opinions? YOU'RE A #^@% JOURNALIST! Go grab the facts and leave all that bad tap-dancing to the lady-boys back in the booth!   

You're a man ... ACT LIKE IT! And while I'm on the subject, who let two girls on the set at the same time? I tuned in thinking it was some kind of baking segment and do you know they were discussing something called 'the fiscal cliff'?  I figured it was some new kind of desert topping, but as far as I could tell, they won't even wearing aprons!

Then they pitched it to some little tech news worm and his pants weren't even pleated! For the love of Cronkite's expense report, IS NOTHING SACRED? I remember when a newscaster wouldn't even go on camera without a little Bryl-Creem and a bird bath! I tell you, the lack of respect on display today is enough to make this newscaster spray Boone's farm all over his TRS-80!

And those never ending crawls at the bottom of the screen! WHO WRITES THAT CRAP?  I know Ham radio operators with clearer syntax!  And what the hell's a "hash-tag", anyway!?! Sounds like something those wretched stoners at The Learning Channel would turn into a reality show....

Disclaimer: The preceding rant was the sole opinion of the author and does not in any way reflect the views of The Lenslinger Institute and/or its worldwide subsidiaries. Any POV cam enthusiasts, under-dressed photogs or registered lady-boys who took offense at the aforementioned bile should contact their therapist immediately and demand a full return because let's be honest here: You're reading the mice-type at the bottom of a blog post and feeling pretty smug about it. Consult your physician if self-satisfaction lasts for more than four hours. No portion of the above paragraphs may be reprinted, sung about or etched in peanut butter without the express written permission of the National Football League. All Rights Reserved. Kneel before Zod. It's better to burn out than to fade away....  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Marauders Anonymous

With so many innocent victims to be found in Newtown, Connecticut, I’m not about to pretend The Media is among them. But in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, my profession has suffered a few slings and arrows it does and does not deserve. More on that, later. First though, wanna stop the kind of atrocities that befell Sandy Hook? Unplug that violent video game! Throw down your weapons! Hit your knees and beg that guy in the sky to show mercy on this heartless orb. Maybe then, the clouds will clear and we’ll return to a world where school kids are safe behind brick and mortar. Just don’t look to The Media for answers. We got nothin’ but questions, anyway. Clumsy, ugly, hurtful questions, the kinds of inquiry you can’t imagine asking yourself, but the kind fully expect to see answered in full when you lean into your screen.

It’s an ugly piece of business, one that those of us on the ground would like to do without. But until the moon cracks in half and mankind is left staring slack-jawed at a new kind of eclipse, horrible things are going to happen. When they do, rest assured my kind will be there, breathless, vexed and at the ready. Think what you will of The Fourth Estate, but no one I know wants to be on scene when children die. I myself ain’t exactly the praying type, but even I appealed to my maker when I heard the news. First I thanked him (her?) for keeping my own children safe. Secondly I offered my eternal thanks for keeping this latest piece of savagery far from the place I call home. Selfish? Youbetcha. But the unrelenting scrum that forms around this level of bloodshed is the kind I can only stomach once or twice a lifetime. Virginia Tech was more than enough.

But I’m not here to remove myself from the shadow of Blacksburg. Back then, The Media caught a lot of heat for ghastly tactics and a questionable bedside manner. Of that we were guilty and maybe more but it’s hard to keep score when Geraldo is running loose. Me, I kept my nose relatively clean - but grab-ass just naturally breaks out at the sat truck farm and if I can be convicted of anything, it’s enjoying my work too much. One thing I don’t enjoy is traumatizing kids. l got two of my own and while they’re not so little anymore, I remember when they were. Hurting even the feelings of a youngster still in shock and ain’t exactly on my bucket list and neither is defending that action to any half-mad Dads. But while much has been made of news crews interviewing kids in the minutes (and hours) following the massacre, I just can’t grab a pitchfork this time. Had I been cursed enough to be on scene, there’s not a doubt in my mind I’d have quizzed any one who would have offered my lens even half an explanation.

That make it right? Probably not. But an effective press is an energetic one and even a nat-pack slacker like myself knows enough to shoot first and review the tape later. Considering all the misinformation that flowed out of Connecticut last Friday, a little more review may be in order. Don’t hold your breath, though. In a time when lies and misconceptions hosts their own Twitter accounts before the Truth can clear its throat, urgency trumps analysis. Now that very idea of a deadline is growing quaint, you can look for assumptions and conjecture to be passed as fact. Just don’t think The Media pack was enjoying itself that day. Many of us have kids of our own and most of us still know how to feel. Quizzing strangers of any age about the very worst day of their life ain’t the way we want to spend our day and even with their parent’s permission, grilling children about things they’d be better off forgetting is fraught with peril for all involved and never, never easy.

 I’m guessing nothing in Newtown was easy that day.

Pass the Mic

Pass the Mic
FAR BE IT FROM ME to pop out a plastic fern and pin a microphone to your smock, but I couldn't help but notice you were getting your hair did! Which is quite the cowinky-dink since I’m doing a story on that very thing for our late breaking action packed newscast! Ya know, childhood hairstyles has been issue I’ve been pondering every since my assignment editor shoved a crumpled print-out of an e-mail the night guy saved into my Cheeto-stained fingertips about thirty minutes ago! Now, I know what you’re thinking: What’s a fella with a feathery melon like me know about haircare? Nothing a thirty year old can of mousse crust wouldn’t fluff up, I assure you! But from all that I gathered after reading some press release during that last long stoplight, pubescent grooming is first and foremost on the minds of men and women age 18-49! That may make precious little sense to a young lady like yourself, but I can assure you that someday when you grow up and are lucky enough to get a job you used to want that there will come a time when one of your many bosses will come up with some cockamamie idea that will instantly become your own personal manifest destiny. Manifest Destiny, that’s old school for ‘you gotta pick up ALL the socks in the rec room before you can even expect to watch Sponge-Bob or Breaking Bad or whatever the kids today zone out in front of just for fun’. Hey, speaking of television, do you ever watch the news? I don’t but I have it on very good authority that every night around 6:08 those pretty people run out of bad things to talk about and suddenly wanna sell some soap. Once that’s over, they’re usually in the mood to tease the weatherman but not before chortling over some banal piece of videotape featuring cute kids, old folks or woodchucks in tuxedos. Well, today you’re the woodchuck and back in the live truck I got some ruffle-fronted monkey suits that are gonna be all the rage once your friends see you sporting one between weather and sports! That is if your friends watched the news! Chances are they don’t! But see back in the say there were only a few buttons on the remote control and even those were hard-wired to the back to TV sets the size of bank vaults! Back then, we’d trudged halfway across the room to just to find out what some other uncle looking fellow had to say about hog futures! Most times it was the exact same thing the only other two guys on at that time had to say so very often we’d do the unthinkable and turn the TV OFF! Yeah, no kidding! I once spent a whole summer outside! Over the course of two months I watched only about three fifths of a Mork and Mindy episode and that was without ever realizing that Robin Williams was jacked out of his gourd on the kind of stuff that could make a grown man stay up all night talking to the kind of people he wouldn’t even look at in the light of day, but, HEY - How I spent the better part of that one lost summer isn’t important right now! What IS important is that I get your inner most feelings on the role of personal aesthetics in the post millennial renaissance. Now, I now that’s a mouthful, but we’re getting paid by the syllable here so if you don’t mind, just say and spell your first and last na-- What’s that? ... You don’t want to be on camera?

Never mind.