If I may be irreverent and politically incorrect, I have just one comment in regard to Patricia Calhoun's "Klondike and Snow Job" column in the November 15 issue: You go, girl!
After all, we are talking about polar bears--not toys, not cartoon characters, and certainly not real, live people with real lives. TV news is quite often an oxymoron in this dusty ol' cowtown. I hope Ms. Calhoun keeps writing them as she sees them.
Although I agree that the coverage of Klondike and Snow was ridiculous, I have to ask this of Ms. Calhoun: Where was her paper's coverage of the Million Man March?
Let he (or she) who is guiltless cast the first stone.
No more succinct and on-target assessment of the public's pathetically prolonged love affair with those bi-polar pets could ever be expressed!
Right on! Ditto! Amen, editor Pat!
If Calhoun will sneer and poke fun at "sobbing children" and thousands of parents who somehow felt robbed when Anheuser-Busch made off with a couple of bear cubs, she should--and probably does--expect insults in return. And she should--but probably won't--print them. Here goes:
I loft the improper digit in the traditional salute and say to Ms. Calhoun, "This, Sis, is for you!"
If any reader wants to know why Patricia is taking a last cynical and somewhat late parting shot at the deported bears, he need look no further than the glossy and colorful (and very profitable) insert in Westword that same issue, advertising Anheuser-Busch beer.
Calhoun's is not by any means the only newspaper so bought by Anheuser-Busch in its campaign to stock its subsidiary Sea World with polar bears. She is diminutive spuds. If she had a truly inquiring mind, she might try to find out, as a favor to the public, who else sold out--and for how much. Who else in the media, who else in the Webb administration, who else at the zoo.
Personally, I don't notice a hell of a lot of "warm, fuzzy" stuff going on in this town. Along come Klondike and Snow and--for a while, anyway--they have people smiling at perfect strangers. How dare they smile when there is world hunger! How dare they forget the budget or Bosnia for a minute and stand there with a silly, happy look on their faces! How dare a little boy stand at Northern Shores and sob, "Why do they have to go?"
Shall I go on? Shall I get really insulting? Here goes:
If Ms. Calhoun had suited up as a polar bear and wandered around at the zoo that week, she would have caused a panic. The crowds would have scattered, screaming, "Run for your lives! Ulu has escaped!"
I'll assume that your "Klondike and Snow Job" was written in only a mock-curmudgeonly tone--toward the innocent bears, at least. The various media, however, and the markets that drive them, deserve every possible abuse.
There is no longer a pretense that the "news" is any less market-driven than any other commodity--which it has become--especially on local electronic outlets. Ever try to find out what's going on in the world on Channel 4 or KOA on a Bronco Sunday? I'm amazed, on any given evening, how much more hard information a half-hour network newscast gives me than local affiliate shows up to four times as long. (And when I read the paper the next day, I realize how pathetic the Brokaw/Rather/Jennings reports were.)
But ultimately, not even local radio and TV stations, er, "bear" the blame--not here in the U.S. of A., where nothing has value without a dollar sign in front of it. Ever since the broadcast bean-counters began defining newscasts as merely other blocks of time in which to sell commercials, the "news" has grown increasingly less newsy. And this is only in response to a curious, sad--one may argue, even tragic--American strain of self-centered philosophy which, at the end of the twentieth century, has mutated into this: Hey, we won our struggle for individual liberty over two hundred years ago. So don't bore us, don't try to bum us out or guilt-trip us with high-minded stories about the homeless, the poor, Bosnia, the fact that the environment is going to hell on a major scale or that the health-care industry is robbing us blind. Don't make us look at any "big pictures." Instead, kindly shut up and give us a minivan. Give us our crook-like insurance companies, give us our rip-off DIA. Give us a green lawn and the money to pay someone else to take care of it. Give us Windows 95. Tell us what Jim Carrey thinks. And please, please, another helping of those that are, literally, warm and fuzzy: Klondike and Snow.