I couldn’t sleep. Last night I had a decadent dinner, followed by artisinal gelato, followed by passing out on the velvet sofa. When I woke up at 1:00 am, I realized I had lost my cell phone.
Between the vertigo that comes from losing a phone (does anyone else get that? God, I might as well have been flung into choppy waters in a burlap sack when I lose my phone, I feel so untethered and despondent) and the shame of good-food-bloat, I had insomnia.
As I lay in bed staring at the shadows undulate on the ceiling, the thought that kept running through my mind was a chart of t.v. news programs. This is what barred my path to sleep. Make a stupid bloody chart of what news programs to watch when. For those of you who know me in real life, you are familiar with my belief that life is best lived in columns and rows, and that as I child I could pass many a sunny afternoon deciding whether serif or sans serif was better on a card to nobody I was making, just to see what kid pix looked like printed. This, however, was ridiculous.
So, first thing upon waking, I sat in the dark of my office, lights off, as the rain trickled outside, and made the damn chart.
I have been thinking a lot, as I’ve been writing this blog, about the sources from which I get my news. One of the main aims of this project is to develop new habits of news-procurement. I want to learn from others about how they learn the news. I want to discover new rhythms that actually stick. While I love to read the New York Times, am happy to watch the Daily Rundown, and always breathe a sigh of relief at the quality of programming and accents on the BBC, I haven’t yet figured out how to make these things a part of my weekly rhythm. Part of it, I think, is that I don’t love the enough to shove other things out of the way to make space for them. So, I will continue to hunt for news I love to listen to, read, and watch, and keep track here.
Attempt #1: My Absurd New T.V. News Schedule. Rationale for selections is described below. Recommendations welcome.
1. Meet the Press – I really watched this for the first time two weeks ago at my aunt’s house, between football games. She had DVR’d it. I was impressed by David Gregory, the moderator/host – he was aggressive without being screamy, equitable with his wide range of guests, and there was nothing cute or meta or poppy about him. He seemed fair and smart. But I was most taken with the range of guests they had, and that they – shock! gasp! – didn’t seem to be partial to one side or another, just the truth. Fancy that in journalism . . . I definitely want to watch this show so that I can get a glimpse into both Republican and Democrat opinions without immediately just siding with my team. It seems to be a way to hear the other side in a sane and logical forum.
2. 60 Minutes – This is my kind of show – it’s like reading Jonah Lehrer (I know, I know – but I still love him) instead of The Journal of Clinical Epidimeology. In other words, it’s tasty news-essays that are part human interest, part cultural window into how a phenomenon or way of life, and part news. It’s like NPR for the eyeballs. I like.
3. Morning Joe – As mentioned in a previous post, there is little of this program that actually seeps in to my brain – perhaps bits and pieces – but I find something comforting about watching it as I prepare the dogs’ kibble and my own breakfast after taking them for a walk. It’s a productive humming in the background of a sink being turned on, fridge opened, tea kettle whistling. It’s substantive background noise.
4. Out Front with Erin Burnett – I had once seen an interview where Erin Burnett essentially called someone (who was an unethical moron) an unethical moron, which intrigued me. I liked her. But, as usual, I’m also skeptical – will she try too hard? Will she work to be taken seriously while wearing prom hair and too much lip gloss? I hate to say it, but I find it hard to pay attention to female anchors when they look like they’re going out for ladies night at Ruby Tuesday, which so many of them do. I also find it hard to listen to male anchors when they alternately drone on, sans inflection, without letting their guests interject, and yell, which they so often do. But I digress. I am curious to see whether her own program is any good.
5. The Colbert Report – On top of being unstoppably clever and hilarious, I actually feel I learn from this program, and the Daily Show. Which is somewhat scary, but true. It puts issues and angles on my radar which I then look up afterwards to read about, so it inspires curiosity in me, which helps a great deal when trying to slog through the seemingly-infinite amount of articles that could be read on a given day. And he is so damn funny. I also like the guests he has on – good range of folks.
6. The Cycle – This is a train-wreck I can’t look away from. Except sometimes I do, by changing the channel after 2 minutes. Three out of four of the regular anchors are out of control. The female anchors are S.E. Cupp, who is my personal nightmare (especially since I think I just inadvertently bought the same glasses) and Krystal Ball, whom I can’t even listen to because a) her name is Krystal Ball, b) S.E. Cupp is too busy interrupting and scowling into the camera with enough lipgloss to second-coat an ice skating rink. Then there is Touré (really!?) who, I’m sorry, looks exactly like Andy Sandberg in black face, and ever since I realized that while chewing a carrot and staring at the screen (God he looks familiar, who does he? Oh. Oh God.) I can’t not see him that way. Hence I have no idea what he has ever said. Then there’s another guy, Steve, who I can barely remember. But I mostly watch because I’m curious about S.E. Cupp. She horrifies and intrigues me. I want to know more about her, and I want her to go away. And so, I will watch her show.
Conclusions – I am planning to get the bulk of my news from programs that involve comedy, female anchors about whom I am morbidly curious, and shows I have never seen or seen once, which are on when I am not home. I think I will need to revisit this schedule again soon, and also invest in DVR.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!