"Bad news sells best. Cause good news is no news," says reporter Kirk Douglas in Billy Wilder's cynical masterpiece of a film Ace in the Hole. I believe that may be true when young but I have reached an age when I long for good news -- for example I can't watch the faces of the poor kidnapped girls in Nigeria but I would love to see their faces and read about them if and when they are freed from their captivity. There is a point in life when one wants to read about progress, accomplishment, the triumph of the losing class, the kid who becomes Dean of a college who struggled and studied his or her way out of poverty.
I don't consider news the focus on celebrity gossip and fashion porn in the papers and on TV news and I don't claim to be superior and lofty -- just human enough to want to see decent people make it in a hard world. Last week we could not avoid Beyonce's sister (name unknown) trying to kick Beyonce's husband (equally unknown to me) having a row in an elevator. You could not avoid that story if you lived in a remote Greek monastery. That, for me was neither good news or bad news, just peephole news because an angry woman wanted to kick some guy in the cajones. That sure proved Wilder's point. It truly is a form of narcotic to drug the minds of those who should be saying "arrest the bastards who brought down our economy" and raise the goddamned minimum wage so that people can eat and pay their rent.
Is it unrealistic to crave good news at any age when we know that bad news makes the news? I don't think so. Yes, I can feel sorrow for the victims of any natural or man made catastrophe but I would rather celebrate the victory of the human spirit. Yes, tornadoes happen, disaster is part of our human experience, but there is beauty and justice and decency in the world that should not be forgotten. No, "Good news" is the perfect news to me... perhaps because it is so rare and it is so necessary for us at this time.
Sherman Yellen is the author of a recent memoir, Cousin Bella - The Whore of Minsk, and A Christmas Lilly, available through Amazon books.