Turn Off The "Lite"

I was scoping around the various newspaper sites, as I do every morning, and found myself staring at the following headline at the top of the Toronto Star: “Frost/Nixon Up For 5 Golden Globes”.

Generally speaking, I have nothing against “entertainment news”, conceptually anyway. Most will agree: we can’t always be bombarded by the depressing day-to-day reality of just how potentially stupid we are as a species of animal. Sometimes we need our Robert Mugabe cut with a little Brad Pitt to make it go down easier.

I will accept that, as a species, we can’t eat our broccoli without the promise of something else more appetizing, like dessert.

Perhaps it was the fact that the Golden Globe awards are a second-rate contest, occasionally with fixed odds; a calliope’d portent of what the Oscars will be in a year or so (at the rate they are going). Perhaps it’s my bewilderment that a Canadian newspaper is putting it at the top of its site at a time when our Parliament has been prorogued by the government to protect its divisive reign, at a time when smart people have stopped investigating how and why the Vesuvian economic crisis in the U.S. happened, at a time when several African countries – not least of which Zimbabwe – are undergoing crises which the world will undoubtedly pay for down the road.

I admit, I am jaded by the media. I sometimes wonder what would happen if we were somehow able to harness the energy otherwise spent on detailing the brunch menus of Hollywood stars, to put it to use in better investigative reporting (or more investigative reporting, which would be nice…you know, fifth estate and all that).

There is a time for “lite” news. Some of what some people consider to be “lite” is actually – in small doses – tranquilizing in a nice way (cats that use toilets, public school spelling bee competitions, the ubiquitous athlete crossing the globe to raise money for x, etc…). I’m not, after all, nailing a manifesto to someone’s door. I’m questioning the proportionate worth of “lite” in a capricious world which, for now, is not “lite” at all (unless you’re a Buddhist, in which case everything is Nothing – please find another blog to read).

Rather than constantly anaesthetizing ourselves with the likes of the Golden Globe nominations (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” hasn’t even been released yet!), I wish our media could put the likes of “lite” into a corner rather than, as if under hypnosis, regurgitating the same soulless AP and Reuters items without care or discernment of the type of world we wish to portray.

Happy Thursday.


5 Replies to “Turn Off The "Lite"”

  1. You’d think that with the print media circling the tank prior to being flushed away, they’d spend some greater effort on the current government debacle. I get the sense we are about to follow you guys when the senate gets the auto bail out measure.

  2. “Sometimes we need our Robert Mugabe cut with a little Brad Pitt to make it go down easier”

    This is possibly the best quote I’ve seen in 2008.

  3. I reopened my subscription to the Globe and Mail, hoping that I could keep up with the politics. Even that paper is busy with the ‘lite’ news and columnists.

    I’ve found that I stick mainly to the NY Times and the Economist. Both are sufficiently scary and lite-free.

  4. Shelly: true, that. With the consolidation of media within a smaller fiefdom of corporate ownership, there is no "rational" incentive for them to, say, open new offices in other countries. After all, "that's what AP is for!" (yech).

    Jules: Thank you very much! I like a good zinger.

    Heather: the G&M is better than most (though I wish they could trade with the Star, say Margaret Wente and Rex Murphy for Chantal Hebert and Rosie DiManno). We pick up the Sunday NYT religiously, if only for the Week In Review and Books sections. The Economist is my magazine-of-choice when I'm travelling (or if I've already read the Harper's).

  5. Gotta sell papers, and the perception of putting entertainment on the front page — that’s what readers want. Isn’t that what we all really want? Just a little entertainment? Instead of thinking about the end of the world.

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