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| There Ain't No Justice |
| #47 |
- Reflections on the Evening News -
[If I misquote any non-journalistically employed person in this file, I
apologize. To the newshounds, I make no apologies.]
It's on again, the Ten O'Clock News on 11. This Friday, November 6 of 1992.
I sit on the couch, absorbing the troubles of the world into myself, like a
sponge dipped in corrosive acid.
The anchorwoman, announcing the story. Her voice carries that "anchorperson
lilt." She's mildly interested. Nothing more. Coldly professional.
"...has this message..."
Cut to the husband of the woman who was driving the car when it was taken.
"...just stay strong..."
He's crying. Grown man. "Reduced" to tears, despite a lifetime of
indoctrination, of training to be a macho-chistic man. Cut to his son.
"I WANT MY MOM TO COME HOME!"
Tears flow freely from the boy, like a mountain spring, a clear fountain of
pure emotion. Pure pain. It flows through the airwaves. I drink of the
pain, and it burns. Why can't people live together, without hate, without
"...another man was arrested in a similar incident..."
Lilt. Professionalism. Artificial and cold and hard.
"In Detroit...police officers beat a man to death with a flashlight..."
That half-smile. That voice. Detatched. Congenially discussing cold-blooded
"...the mother of the victim wants justice."
Cut to the mother, now.
"...they should get the electric chair..."
Cut back to studio. Perfect hair, lineless faces. Artificial. Mannikins.
"...a message about AIDS..."
Interview. Cut to a boy in his teens, in a hospital bed. His eyes are half-
closed from the effort of existence. Tubes up his nose, needles in his
veins. An oxygen mask covers his mouth. He is nearly dead, slowly being
strangled by a form of pneumonia affecting almost exclusively those with
AIDS, which he got from a blood transfusion.
"...cannot breathe without this oxygen mask..."
Reporter. She asks questions, in her best studio voice. He answers, gasping
for breath. Describes a near-death experience.
"...the oxygen mask can't come off for long. The inteview is hard..."
She continues to pose questions. Emotion rolls off her like water off a
duck's back. Beads like rain on a well-waxed car.
"I want kids my age to know...this is what AIDS is...they always see kids
with AIDS when they're healthy...they don't see this..."
Soon the interview is over. Cut back to the anchors.
"What a brave young boy."
The anchor speaks with a mockery of sympathy, an unbelievably thin film of
false compassion. He'd never make an actor. Perhaps that's why the bastard
became an anchor.
The anchorwoman answers him in kind. A plastic woman with a plastic face. A
plastic man with plastic hair. Plastic people wearing plastic frowns of
concern, with all the human feeling of Mr. Potatohead.
I feel insulted for the boy's sake. The medium demeans the message. Plastic
people can't deliver a meaningful message without somehow flattening out
Here somes a good one. The end of the world.
"...a one in 10,000 chance that on it's next pass, the comet will hit
Her voice breaks into a half-chuckle at one point.
"...in the year 2136..."
Sensationalism. Typical. And before the news they had made it sound as if
the thing were coming tomorrow. Also typical.
"...no, not flakes from the comet..."
The weather. Snow flurries. It's all a joke.
I sop up pain, over a TV camera.
They work in and around it. They ignore it.
Callouses. Plastic shell.
You can tell what's inside a hard shell. The way to do it has been known
You tap on the outside. Then you listen. You hear what you cannot see.
Every night, a hammer taps on the shells of the anchorpeople.
The hammer is life. The hammer is the story. It is the people they
interview, the pain those people feel.
I listened this night.
You should listen too. Turn on the news tonight. See if you hear what I
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