Friday, July 15, 2016


At my previous job, we had a CD featuring all the different themes used by NBC News. There were pieces of music that were to be used going in and out of commercials during important breaking news. 

These music clips had subtitles like "Sad", "Mournful", and "Hopeful". They were used to cue the viewer at home how they should feel while watching, oh, the aftermath of a terrorist event. The other networks use similar music packages for their news programs, making it seem like we're watching just another prime time drama.

No wonder why I got out my chips and salsa when I tuned into MSNBC yesterday. It was time for the "Nice, France" episode of The Terrorism Show.

Like any commercially-sponsored broadcast, some restrictions apply. Host Brian Williams advised us they were deliberately blurring or even banning certain images for the sake of "the little ones" (his words) who might be toddling into the living room.

As I browsed around the news networks' coverage, it became clear that all of them thought everybody was a little one. "Tell, don't show" seems to be the overriding directive coming from the control booth. 

I want to see what's going on, partly for personal reasons. Right now, I have a daughter taking a study-abroad class in Rome. She's 431.5 miles away from this week's carnage -- not next door, but too close -- and won't be returning home for another eight days. What is there to do for now?

Oh, I know. The favorite double-act offered up by politicians, news anchors, and religious leaders everywhere: thoughts and prayers. That always works. 

Thoughts and prayers. Say it often enough and it sounds like the name of an Eastern European butler. Thawtzan Prahers, at your service. 

Thawtzan, make all those people caught in the carnage feel better. 

Yes sir. By your command.

For all the time Thawtzan Prahers is called to his duty, though, nothing seems to change. Why do we keep that guy around anyway? I always wind up having to get the chips and salsa myself.

I've long given up on the idea of prayers doing their job, but I do have a thought I carry around in preparation for times like this. I offer it to you with the hope that it provides the same kind of solace -- make that numbness -- that it does me: Always think the worst of the world, and it will never let you down.

Thoughts and prayers, baby.


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