Thursday, June 19, 2008


Let Them Eat Chips Ahoy

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fan of the little pieces Jeannie Moos puts together for CNN. They are the worst kind of human interest stories, the kind of thing that make even local news reporters who pad out the last thirty seconds of their broadcast with stories on water-skiing squirrels put them heads in their hands and despair. The worst part comes when she decides she wants to be a serious journalist, but just can't leave behind the schlock long enough to actually bring the gravitas, which cheapens the impact of her story. A good example of this was when she did a story on a CurrentTV package designed to demonstrate the horrors of waterboarding, but seemingly turns it into a "how long can you hold your breath?" contest that caps off with archive footage of water skiers ("the good old days when water boarding meant riding a board on water"). Oh, ho, the jolly humor of enhanced interrogation! What fun and folly!

But her latest piece is, quite possibly, the stupidest thing a mass media network has put out in the name of news in the history of mankind, and yes, I'm including the "terrorist fist jab" on that roster. It begins with her usual weighty discussion of recipe plagarism by spouses of presidential candidates, so light and airy that you could use it to get the Hindenburg across the Atlantic. And then she gets to Michelle Obama's shortbread cookies, and points out, due to the presence of dried fruit, that it is an "elitist cookie." She mentions how the cookies are elitist not once, not twice, but four times in the span of thirty seconds.

It. Is. A. Mother. Fucking. Cookie. It's a small pastry that has been produced for many centuries, designed for when we want a sugary snack but don't want to buy an entire cake. It can contain ingredients from chocolate chips to peanut butter to oatmeal to raspberry jelly to, in areas where the FDA is especially lax, rat turds. It is not a goddamn symbol of status or wealth, nor should it be treated as such by any self-respecting individual.

But the media, which seems to have thrown self-respect overboard like pants on a nudist cruise, has already written its narrative. Obama is an elitist. If he sucks at bowling, he's an elitist. If he drinks orange juice, he's an elitist. If he isn't the kind of person who would be seen at a non-existent Applebee's salad bar, he's an elitist. And if he eats cookies with "weird" dried fruit -- you know, I hear hippies eat that to add flavor to the souls of infants! -- then he is a super elitist. It will be repeated again, and again, and again until Obama dies, at which someone will write an obituary that says "Barack Obama, Noted Out-Of-Touch Sissy, Dead."

I just wonder how Jeannie Moos can find the resolve to turn in a piece like that, look herself in the mirror, and not promptly get sick.

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