I'm sorry, but did I miss something? Can someone please explain to me why exactly I'm supposed to be so happy?
Here's what I mean. Check out just some of these Huff Post headlines at 10:30AM (Eastern) December 29...
"Undie Bomb Photos Released" ... "China Executes British Man Said to Be Mentally Ill" ... "Glenn Beck's House On Market for Almost $4 Million" ... "Tylenol Expands Recall" ... "The Dumbest Quotes of the 2000s" ... "Charlie Sheen's Sobbing Wife Tells 911 He Has a Knife" ... "Metallica Drummer Suffers Hearing Problems from Loud Noises" ... "Bristol, Levi Custody Fight Brewing" ... "Tiger Woods Damage Totals $12 Billion" ... "The Biggest Political Disappointments of 2009" ... "U.S. - Japan Relations Chill" ... "GOP Senate Candidate Accuses Opponent of Homosexuality" ... "Rikers Guard Caught Sleeping on the Job" ... and the most miserable of all... "Which Man [Celebrity] Do You Want to Make Out with at Midnight?"
That's why they make Pristiq. And Cymbalta. Even Lexapro, Zoloft, Celexa, Luvox, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Remeron, Vivactil, Anafranil and the granddaddy tandem of them all, Paxil and Prozac. I realize it gets even more depressing just thinking about how to choose the right anti-depression meds. But be happy we at least have options, right?
This same morning, there was also a banner header on The Huff Post Media page that read "Endangered Species". Initially I thought it was going to be some blathering prattle-piece on mass media's general disregard for the widespread, ongoing extinction of species during the present Holocene epoch and the tens of thousands of species that became extinct in just the 20th century alone.
Luckily, the story was far more important. Beneath the header lied the logos of ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. The opening copy exerted that these once titans now teetered on the brink of disaster - in the author's words, their "business model is unraveling". My heart raced. My breath quickened. My palms went clammy.
So I popped another Paxil.
The article hit me like none other. That's because I've actually been suffering a slew of sleepless nights (including Restless Leg Syndrome for which I take Lunesta) knowing that "cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars." What are we to do? How are we to imbibe our most critical global affairs if inglorious information infidels quash the traditional warriors of world intelligence?
Most noteworthy about the piece, however, was the sagacious Rupert Murdoch quote, "Good programming is expensive." Hear-hear, Rupert! How dare we let national beacons like "Cops", "American Idol" and Fox News leak like the Titanic.
Hold that thought. There's a new ad spot on CBS for Abilify. I gotta check it out.
Alright, sorry, I'm back, for good, I swear. (It's just that the meds kinda get me a little dumbed down or distracted... know what I mean?)
My point is, "The Big Six" (General Electric, Disney, News Corp. Time Warner, Viacom, CBS) only reap about $325 billion in revenue each year. That's less than half the damn TARP package! The least we could do is give these pour, spiraling souls a sliver of the uneaten bailout pie, right?
And while we're at it, let's talk about the personal value-add that networks so generously afford us day in and day out. For instance, let's take the millions of women indebted to ABC's "Grey's Anatomy". During regular commercial breaks, that's where they discovered the likes of Yaz, "the ONLY birth control proven to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a condition with emotional and physical premenstrual symptoms severe enough to impact your life."
So I got to thinking about the big picture. By the looks of things, I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that, without my daily dose - of network programming, that is - I wonder if I could even discern the difference between that which is of the greatest importance and that which matters little if nothing at all.
Look, there's a reason the blog site darfurdaily.blogspot.com has only garnered 1300 web hits to date. Boooooring. Even www.savedarfur.org is chock full of uninspired bytes about Sudanese women voting rights, protests against war crimes-accused leader Omar al-Beshir and 16 days of activism for gender-based violence.
Would you rather listen to that tedious, tired drivel or would you rather be forever inspired by David Hasselhoff's embrace of the human condition? Seriously, check out the power of this statement.
(And by the way, for those who might suffer from alcohol-related depression like The Hoff, there's hope in the form of Campral, otherwise known as Acamprosate.)
I cannot fathom the ignorance of folks who yap on about how insipid news is these days. How can we possibly turn our backs on a burning building with a baby inside? How can we possibly ignore the implications of the gang member who accidentally gunned down his grandmother? And how oh how can we even begin to judge whether the circumstances of Michael Jackson's purportedly prescription pill-induced death should play second fiddle to Putin's impudent disarmament demands?
The truth is, life is depressing. Fortunately, our prime-time brothers and sisters (and their ad partners) care deeply enough to parcel the pieces, protect our interests and preserve our well-being. We are forever indebted.
Disclaimer: Taking this article to heart may cause irritable bowls, interminably itchy armpits, the dreadful brow twitch or the occasional outburst at big box stores. Therefore, before you do, please consult your doctor. Or your favorite television network.
Follow Douglas Forbes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dougwashere