Do We Live in a Perfect World?

tv set small

Seems like we do according to the news on the local major TV stations.  I accidentally was watching one evening recently while the broadcast was on.  I heard something about the weather and a car accident, sports and a murder.  These items were cushioned by jokes among the newscasters, snippets about entertainment and movie stars.  There was an alert suggesting that the viewers’ vote on the next Food Network Star and a serious report about the search for proof on Big Foot.

While this was a Colorado broadcast, not national, not a word passed related to the economy, education, social issues, arts, health concerns, or politics.  Evidently we’ve solved all problems since nothing was mentioned.  Or people interested in more substantive reporting must not watch television. 

Both national and local news operations are facing declining viewership and revenues. (One point of view: There’s talk about slashing budgets, collaborating among personnel, closing operations. 

I used to avoid news because I didn’t want to get depressed and frustrated by the dismal conditions in the world.  My rule of thumb was, “If there’s nothing I can do to impact the situation, I don’t want to hear about it.”  Unfortunately, I have no one to blame but myself for the type of stories now covered by television news.  Or me and the other thousands who have given up caring about the state of the world and accompanying news exposure. 

But I don’t want to settle for pleasant, sometimes pretty, faces mouthing inanities and chitchat.  I’m better off spending the news hour scrubbing my kitchen cabinets and checking my bank statement. 

Guess I deserve a blank television screen at news time.  And with plummeting audiences, that’s just where we appear to be headed.

I Hate to Be Paranoid But. . .News

VIDA: Women in Literary Arts today released its annual Count, examining issues of gender discrimination in some of the nation’s major literary venues for 2012. The previous Counts have fueled considerable media response by revealing the wide disparity in rates of publication between male and female authors in nearly every genre.

This year’s Count demonstrates that some outlets have heard VIDA’s message—critically-acclaimed magazines such as Tin House, Poetry and Threepenny Review were particularly noticeable for the positive attention editors are giving to create a more balanced publishing landscape.

But as the conversation over these issues has grown louder, some magazines seem to have become tone deaf. The 2012 Count reveals that the gender discrepancy in venues such as The Paris Review, The New Republic, New York Review Of Books, Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic and The Nation has either stagnated or grown quantifiably worse since VIDA’s Count began. See Thanks to Goodreads for publicizing this study.