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bad news : the world loves a spectacle

by mg at 12:15 AM on September 20, 2001

If the country hasn't suffered enough over the last week, just wait until Friday night. The four major broadcast stations, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox have announced they are joining forces for a star-studded, commercial-free telethon. The telethon, dubbed America: A Tribute to Heroes, will be simulcast on all four networks, a pants-load of cable stations, and any other TV or radio stations that would like to carry it.

According to the press the two-hour live event will "raise funds and raise the spirits of all who have been touched by the horrific tragedy that has struck America." Excuse me? You are going to make us forget one horrific tragedy by forcing us to sit through two hours of another? How could Ray Romano, Clint Eastwood or even Neil Young possibly hope to console anyone who lost a loved one? I can just see it now:

Conan O'Brien: Let's bring out our next guest, she lost her husband in the World Trade Center attack and is now trying to explain to her children that daddy is never coming home. Please welcome Jane Doe.

Jane Doe: Hi.

Kelsey Grammer: I thought it was a tragedy when NBC moved my show from Thursday night, but what you are going through now is a real tragedy.

Ray Romano: Everyone loves me, Raymond Romano, but I know who we should all hate - Osama bin Laden.

Jon Bon Jovi: That bin Laden is going down, and not in a blaze of glory!

Dennis Franz: I don't have anything to say to comfort you, but do you wanna see my ass? I'll show it to you right now, really I will.

Conan O'Brien: Well, thatís all the time we have with Jane, letís go back to Julia Roberts at ground zero.

Oh, the spectacle of it all might be enough to just give up and turn himself over to the nearest American embassy. How long into the show do you think itíll be before Calista Flockhart pledges to go on a hunger strike until whoever is responsible is brought to justice. Iíve heard Willie Nelson has already pledged to spend the entire time until justice is served high, and maybe even after then.

waiter, this food is terrible, and the portions are so small!

George Clooney, Paul Simon, and Robin Williams should be ashamed of themselves. And not just for Batman & Robin, Songs From The Capeman and Bicentennial Man (respectively). This may seem like a benevolent act, what with all these TV, Music and Hollywood types getting together working for free and raising money for a truly worthy cause. But it just seems so obvious that the entertainment community really doesn't think this disaster is really that big a deal. They certainly don't rank it up there with other causes, like Muscular Dystrophy or sending food to Ethiopia. Jerry Lewis, host of the annual MDA telethon, goes a whole 21 hours for his cause. The musicians who performed at Live Aid played for more than 16 hours for their cause.

The networks are giving up only two hours of their precious airtime to raise money for the relief efforts, yet have no problem broadcasting one hundred straight hours of "news" coverage. And all those stars are giving up just two hours of theirs lives (time that they'd probably have spent beating up paparazzi, falling off the wagon, or soaking in a champagne glass-shaped hot tub) to honor those rescuers who spend 16 hour shifts digging through rubble.

How very gracious of them!

land of the lazy, home of the couch potato

According to the joint press release announcing the event, the telethon "will seek to unite a shaken world with words and music while paying tribute to the indomitable spirit, unfaltering fortitude and courage that truly makes America 'the land of the free and the home of the brave.'"

Man oh man, nothing like a big Hollywood extravaganza to prove to the world that America isn't overindulgent and frivolous. Nothing like asking 300 million people to sit in front of a TV for two straight hours to prove Americans aren't slothful and superficial.

Sweet Jesus, maybe Falwell was right.

comments (9)

Ummm wow! Like I could pass this one up and not comment? Damn MG did'nt you get an award for your work already this week??? :-) And the name of the magazine will be......

No really I am still stuck on Jane Doe....hahaahhahahaa We really needed that around here! Thanx...

by Pristine at September 20, 2001 1:29 AM

Second the moton. You rock, and rock hard, MG. You would rock even harder if you went & nabbed that "remember me" cookie script off of the GM hacks & mods site. You're always so good about taking suggestions for these comments, & as I said as I linked to this post, you rock, MG.

by kd at September 20, 2001 2:21 AM

I'm gonna link to this, I'm inspired to give the British opinion of all this mourning. Did you know that the general attitude of the British is to point out that after every time the IRA bombs us we go back to work the next day? This (the fundraiser I mean) is somewhat symbolic of that. I don't want to start repeating TripleB though, so I'll continue this over there.

by Mike at September 20, 2001 5:15 AM

the nature of the beast remains constant.

what was that line from Gone With The Wind when Mammy saw Scarlett and Rhett excessively decked out in their new finery? "you look like a donkey dressed in horses' harness." that is also true about the major networks.

not many will be deluded that the nature of the beast has changed, but one does what one can. medical personnel can volunteer on the scene; fire companies can roll in to help with the rescue effort; major televison networks can produce manipulative schmaltz. while discerning viewers will avoid it or reject it, the great unwashed masses will eat it up.

i would be extremely hesitant to pledge or donate money to this gang of four. organizations who employ professional fundraisers allot a great portion of the monies raised as a fee for sevice to the fundraisers themselves, with a far smaller portion dedicated to the intended recipient. perhaps i am too cynical, but i can't help wondering if the commercial losses incurred by two hours of advertising-free broadcast could be somehow offset by a redirection of pledged money.

the spectacle that i am repelled and attracted to at the same time is not this friday's night's effort, but rather the Miss America Pageant, which is being "retooled" in light of the terrorist's attack. under normal circumstances, it is a fountain of God-and-countryisms. i can hardly wait to hear the contestant's individual platforms, and i anticipate with great relish the questions put to the finalists by a panel of judges.

now that's entertainment.

by bobthecorgi at September 20, 2001 6:33 AM

UGH! If I have to see Dennis Franz's pock-marked ass again....

by Fredo at September 20, 2001 7:43 AM

Oh, God. Is this one of those telethons where they quit when they get enough money?

I hope this doesn't go down as one of the worst moments in tv history, a la the Star Wars Christmas special. Except with Jon Bon Jovi filling in for Chewbacca.

by space at September 20, 2001 3:15 PM

Jesus. Who thought this was a good idea? (Slipping on comfortable irony sweater, to go with a cynical jacket.) Worthy cause? Yes, but...

by ASwingCheese at September 21, 2001 11:38 AM

Moments in history not needed:

The presence Mrs. B. (pregnant wife of the passenger who is probably responsible for the downing of the third aircraft in Penna.) at Bush's speech last nite.

by othercheek at September 21, 2001 9:45 PM

Just watched the last half hour, ending with a rendition of America the Beautiful. Wow, that was bad. Nobody looked comfortable up on the stage. Everyone's eyes were darting around. Halle Berry was wearing something I'd go clubbing with, Tom Petty's sizeable beard looked completely untrimmed, and Mariah Carey had a smirky grin on as she swayed to the song, arms linked with a bunch of other females with smirky grins too. Like Cindy Crawford. Ugh. Hollywood wouldn't know classy if classy came up and socked it on the jaw. Not that classy would, I suppose..

by Jean at September 22, 2001 2:32 AM

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