Breaking News Update from “What If…”

(Another Imaginary News Update, to be repeated 97 times on Imaginary CNN when there is nothing else to talk about)–

In a late-breaking development in the Native American Immigration Crisis (read the original story here http://garyfurr.org/2012/07/16/what-if/

Canadians illegally in the United States today gathered simultaneously at IHOPs across the country, as they believe that they are diplomatically immune spaces.  In a giant Skype call, they decided that should the Native American effort to oust Europeans proceed and threaten them as well that their strategy will be to return to Canada on a single day, forcing a crisis in the Great North.  The emigres hope that it might result in an emergency deportation back to the United States.

Stay tuned.

In other news, Stephen Colbert was ordered by the Supreme Court to no long market his show on the Comedy Network since a recent survey indicated that the majority of Americans could not tell that he was kidding.  Most discouraging was that the percentage of elected officials who thought he was “a serious journalist” exceeded the general population.

Dangling Participles: News at 6

The 24-7 news cycle has changed our lives and made even

the most meaningless information a way to waste time on the planet.

A story on the morning news recentlywas about a local election in Arizona.  The Arizona Supreme Court upheld a law this week that banned a woman who could not speak English proficiently from running in a local city council race.  The

BREAKING NEWS

point of those who sued to remove her was that a certain level of sophistication in the English language was essential to being an elected official.  Who in the world came up with THAT?

The woman, who spoke in elemental English, was actually given a hearing in which she was examined for her language skills.  A clip on the news showed a lawyer asking the following:

            Lawyer: “And when did you go to high school?”

            Woman: “In the 1980s.”

            Lawyer: “And where was that at?”

Excuse me?  Buddy, you just dangled a participle.  My old-school English teachers would be all over you.  If you can be a lawyer without proficiency in grammar, it seems reasonable that you could run for office and let the voters decide.

It is the silliest of seasons, that is, an election year.  Actually, “election year” has followed the 24-7 news cycle to become a 24-7 political season.  Pols immediately begin re-election campaigns the day after they get elected now.  Since there are only about 18 minutes of actual newsworthy occurrences each day and the major news networks only cover about 11 of that, it leaves a lot of time to fill.  Fortunately, tomfoolery and goofiness fills the void.

There are now three major forms of commentators that have evolved in this present environment.  First, there are the pioneers, the radio partisans and their television counterparts.

“Momma, there’s something wrong with that man…”:

The  Wingnuts of every kind dominate here.  The form is simple:  you go on the air/television and talk ceaselessly to an imaginary person for hours.  You would never respond to an enraged man walking down the street like this, fuming and talking to an imaginary person..  You would call 911 and report him so the state hospital could come pick him up before he hurts himself or someone else.

The second form is more sophisticated.  People sit together and argue about politics in front of everyone watching.  There is more value perhaps, but still, not much is left to say after, oh, about four minutes on a particular item.

C. S. Lewis said in his autobiography that his father and their friends would often sit and discuss politics.  He and his brother concluded that nothing very interesting ever came of these discussions.  Their real passion was the world of imagination and ideas.  So at least we have politics to thank for Narnia and The Great Divorce.  A great thesis for some Oxford young don:  “Boredom’s Contribution to the Imaginative Work of C. S. Lewis.”

The third, of course, is comedy politics.  Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have cornered the market here.  Colbert is the more sophisticated—he pretends to be the very things he ridicules and takes it to hyperbolic excess.  He exaggerates, too.  One has to observe, this is too easy. Continue reading “Dangling Participles: News at 6”