Posts Tagged ‘celebrities’

A dishonorable evening

Author: admin

By now, most everyone watched the entire televised Washington D.C. Capital Correspondent’s dinner Saturday, sat through some of the grotesque outtakes or read the disastrous – and deserved – criticism.

I’m a former card-carrying member of that organization and have attended a couple of the soiree’s. As such, I’m embarrassed and deeply ashamed of what that formerly worthy and hugely entertaining event has become.

The evening had honorable roots. There were several reasons for its original purpose. The most important was to celebrate raising funds for journalism scholarships. Recipients were – and are – journalists in the field wanting to continue their educations. Some media folks you respect and enjoy may have had their careers advanced by the Correspondent’s Association.

The second reason was to see some excellent entertainers of the time – in my case, 1970-71. One year, it was Pearl Bailey who charmed everyone in the sizeable Shoreham Hotel Ballroom. The next year it was George Carlin, the hippy-dippy weatherman and just plain comedic genius. Each year, most of the program was just that – entertainment.

Thirdly, it was a private time for D.C. politicians and the media members who covered them to have some off-the-record relaxation and fun, taking a few jabs at each other. Nothing was televised. Spouses weren’t generally invited if they weren’t in the media business. It was a white tie affair. If you wanted, you could bring one friend. Period.

There was a lot of joking among participants which usually included the sitting President of the time. Though I had no use for Richard Nixon, twice I watched him sit on the dias taking “hits” from media people. Not professional comics. It was all journalists, writers and producers active in day-to-day news work.

In each case, Nixon got up and gave as good as he got. It was funny stuff. Both ways. The “humor” got a little close for comfort sometimes. For both the media and the politicians. Alcohol consumed in liberal quantities can do that. But it wasn’t the cutting, mean-spirited, foul-mouthed crap the nation witnessed Saturday last.

Fnally, the whole evening was the best damned job-hunting experience a young reporter could ever have. As I said, white tie. So, there we were, in our rented tuxes, pockets filled with folded resumes as we spent hours before and after the main event going from one hospitality suite to the next. All the networks sponsored one. Tidbits of food and lots of free booze.

But, it was also a place to find people like Mike Wallace, Harry Reasoner, David Brinkley, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, Harry Smith and many more. Their producers and directors were also noshing and imbibing. Nothing like rubbing shoulders with the top of your profession while trying to get some of those resumes in the right hands. Someone like a Don Hewitt from “Sixty Minutes.” Some of the people you see and hear now may have gotten their “big break” at a Correspondent’s Dinner.

No longer. It’s become a “meat market” appearance for “celebrities” and wannabe’s trying to get noticed. It’s an embarrassing experience for truly professional people. Even some who may have been ordered to attend by their employers to “carry the corporate flag.”

What used to be an evening of good natured humor between professionals has given way to belligerent, foul mouthed , non-media “comedians” throwing piles of crap both ways. It’s no longer the “Correspondent’s Dinner.” It’s now a junior varsity Emmy or Oscar publicity event drawing hundreds of people who aren’t media “professionals.” A lot of ‘em couldn’t write a “help wanted” ad much less a cohesive news story.

There were scholarships presented this year. Several of ‘em. There were respected members of both politics and mass media in attendance. There was good fellowship and conviviality enjoyed by many.

But, what the public saw Saturday night was a verbal dung heap, passed off as televised “entertainment” with none of the original class and good natured humor.

I sincerely hope the Correspondent’s Board takes quick action to get the cameras and microphones out, send the hangers-on back to the streets and return what used to be a very honorable and rewarding evening, back to the professionals.

Enough, already

Author: admin

To regain some semblance of peace of mind and order in my life, and at the risk of alienating anyone who comes upon these words, I gotta say it: I’ve heard enough of Caitlyn and/orBruce Jenner and all her/his in-laws in the Kardasian family to ever want to hear the names of any of them ever again!

There. I’ve said it. And I’m glad! GLAD, do you hear?

The media’s obsession with anything Kardasian for a couple of years now has been mind-numbing and supremely irritating. This bunch of talent-less, overly made-up society wannabe’s has been overexposed in every media you can think of. And, in just about any way imaginable. Aside from putting money back into the economy by over-the-top spending on things totally unnecessary, nothing and no one named Kardasian has contributed anything meaningful or otherwise important to society from the git-go. They are takers – not givers. They live off the fatheads of the land – and media overexposure – giving nothing back.

As for Jenner, my ire is less directed at her as it is the damned media for creating an environment in which none of us can escape the latest beauty shot or the latest completely unimportant quote about the gender transformation and all other aspects of her new life.

I’ve admired Bruce Jenner’s athletic achievements over the decades since his amazing Olympic decathlon win. You don’t do what he did without supreme dedication and an inner drive most of us never know. Athletic excellence. He whipped all comers in all events of the competition and deserved all the Wheaties boxes we saw on breakfast tables for years. Well done, Sir! Well done!

But – that was then. This is now. I neither praise nor condemn what Jenner has decided to do about his sexual identity. His life. His body. His decision – based on whatever personal prompting has caused him to take the action. The singular fact which has given him such massive over-exposure in recent months is that he was somewhat famous for his athletic feats all those years ago. AND – wait for it – he married into the Kardasian clan. That bunch of overly made-up wastrels national media can’t get enough of.

The life-altering course Jenner has set for himself is his and his alone. While his previous athletic accomplishments probably guaranteed media attention to some degree, it should be remembered gender altering is not new. Nor, is it especially noteworthy in our times. For some, complete gender change means surgery – a medical procedure not uncommon in world operating suites. As taxpayers, we’ve paid for convicted criminals to do it behind bars. We’ve even got one person in a federal slammer for betraying national secrets who’s making a physical switch. On our tab.

This morning, as I shuffled through the daily reading of The Huffington Post, I found an article on the front page about a public appearance Jenner made recently. With picture. Continuing through the various sections, I found three more Jenner “stories.” All with pictures! All in the same issue.

At the moment, this nation is deeply involved in a terribly important discussion of a nuclear treaty with Iran – racial problems from border to border – a congress full of deadheads doing their damndest to drive us into the ditch – a Mideast cauldron boiling near the spillover point – people hungry in the streets – homelessness in never-before-seen numbers – the first phase of a presidential contest filled with the most unqualified and, in some cases, outright contemptible “candidates.”

But instead of thoughtful, descriptive and thorough reporting on all this, our media is filled with Jenner and her in-laws.

It would be easy to fault the media. It’d be even easier to cast blame by the boatload on ‘em for the mindless electronic invasion of nothingness. But the fault really is us. You and me. If television ratings, focus groups, “Q” scores and other accepted indicators of public interest, weren’t hugely responsive to the Jenner/Kardasian minutiae, it probably wouldn’t exist in our living rooms and our computer screens.

With several generations raised on a bloated diet of sensationalism, phony celebrity, vacuous reporting by an ever-fawning media and return-on-investment thinking determining the lowest denominator for increasing media sales, we should not be surprised at the Jenner/Kardasian overkill. We’ve told them – through circulation numbers and ratings – what we want to see, what fascinates us and what will cause us to turn on the TV. We’ve done it to ourselves.

But those numbers didn’t come from this household. Nor – I would hope – from yours. The “bread and circuses” mentality of TV networks and national newspapers is dangerous to our health. The Jenner-Kardasian show does not belong in our diets. Like cholesterol, that crap blocks a lot of information we really need to stay healthy.