Segarini: Enough Already – Part 1: Background

The Bobcast Bob May 6th 2013 CroppedTo quote the brilliant but almost completely forgotten Paddy Chayefsky, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” uttered and shouted by Peter Finch’s Oscar winning turn as Howard Beale in the Academy Award winning film Network.

Network, a satirical and scathing screed about media’s treatment of news and the audience for it, is a blistering, on-target, unrelentingly accurate depiction of today’s news, and our over-reaction to it.

Which is amazing…

…considering it was written in 1975.

Nostradamus, Jean Dixon, and Kreskin can hit the showers….

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Philco Radio PhonographI first started getting my news and information via the radio. The table model Emerson that sat next to my crib, then bed, from the time I was a toddler, and the beautiful 1938 floor model Philco Radio/Phonograph that stood in the Living room at 464 E. Ellis Street in Stockton California.

Along with action packed Drama, Mysteries, Detective, Horror, Western, and Sci-Fi adventures and Variety and Comedy shows better than anything we have now, sonorous voices spoke to us from the fabled studios of radio bringing us authoritive, factual, and respectfully delivered news of the day from home and around the world.

Trusted voices like Edward R. Murrow, Frank Edwards, Walter Cronkite and others informed us of world events, and local newscasters broadcast the news from radio stations located where we lived.

Frank Edwards KFWB Nightly News 1954

Edward R MurrowAnd even the giant networks paid attention to popular subjects back then, but did extensive research and drew conclusions (if any) based on facts and the information at hand. When someone as well respected as Edward R. Murrow helmed a CBS Radio special about the recently escalating UFO phenomenon, it gave a weight to the subject missing from the screaming headlines and speculation afforded the story by lessor lights.

Edward R. Murrow CBS Special on Flying Saucers 1950

We even got our news in theatres….

Hard news, A celebrity funeral, a couple of human interest stories featuring women who excelled in their pursuits, and some fascinating and chilling footage of atomic bomb detonations. No speculation, rumours, conjecture or other non-news to be seen (or heard) in any news broadcast at the time.

Had the Rob Ford story been happening at the time, the first any of us would have heard about it would have been when authorities actually had the filmed evidence of him doing something illegal (smoking crack), and even then, the journalists of the day would have done a lot of research and interviewed a lot of people connected to the story before they said anything or took it to the air. The next time we would have heard anything would have been if and when he was arrested, charged, or was proven to have had his mayoral duties compromised by his drug use. Years of non-news speculation and the public vilification JFK and Marilynof the man simply wouldn’t have happened.

At least, I’d like to think that would have been the case…

…and just ask yourselves, What would the world think of JFK (2nd from right, back to us) if he had been exposed as a womanizing, pain pill addicted liar, and the son of an anti-semite bootlegger, and who cavorted with celebrities, mobsters and prostitutes while in office?

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In the late 1940s and early 1950s, when TV picture tube sizes were a tiny 3″, 5″, 7″, 10″ and 12″, there were several companies that marketed TV screens augmented by an included magnifying lens, to enlarge the viewable image size.  They were either attached to the face of the set, or were mounted on a bracket that allowed the lens to sit directly in front of the picture tube. Our Our first TV 1949first set was a 3 inch model with a lens that brought it up to a whopping 7 inches. This is one of the reasons that parents all over the U.S took up the clarion call of “Don’t sit so close to the TV”, because kids, (me included) were fascinated by television like you wouldn’t believe. Our parents still just basically listened to the TV, and it took them a couple of years to get used to watching it after not having to watch the radio.

I got my first exposure to television news at my father’s feet. Sitting with him while he sat in his easy chair after dinner and watched Cronkite or Huntley/Brinkley or one of the other talking heads deliver the important stories in voices that both engaged and comforted, roused, or reassured. Never wavering from a dedication borne of high ideals and a desire to factually report the news and events they covered, these broadcasters became revered and trusted members of the television nation’s households.

Sure, there was product placement of what is now considered to be a no-no by today’s Heath Nazi populace (I know, I know, everything except kale, raisins, and granola are bad for you), but a celebrity rehab, misstep, arrest, award show win, baby adoption, marriage/divorce/outing is nowhere to be seen.

…although I do have a craving for a mild, yet satisfying Camel cigarette.

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I couldn’t tell you when the last time was that I believed anything I watched on TV, heard on the radio, read in a newspaper, or saw on the Internet without extensive research and confirmation from several sources.

No? Why is that, Bob?

Well, mainly, it’s because most of what we are being told is news…is not news.

Just like what we are told is music…well, we’ll get to that in another chapter.

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GumpI knew the world (or at least North America) was headed down a slippery slope when Forrest Gump was released to an audience of fawning critics and charmed and engaged popcorn guzzling audiences. It was a portent of things to come as our primary source of entertainment…The Celebration of Stupidity, the elevation of Mediocrity from easily identified poop, to Emperor’s New Clothes smoke and mirrors. Never has a civilization drank the Kool Aid in such lofty numbers, never has an entire culture jumped the shark en masse.

What’s not to love about Forrest Gump? Its overall message; Even if you are an absolute brain dead idiot, you can succeed at anything without even trying is absolutely seductive in its easy to understand reaffirmation of most peoples’ desire to acheive fame and fortune with as little actual work as possible, focusing instead on the quickest route to success and concentrating on their image and appearance.

No wonder America stood up and cheered.

Do yourself a favour and read the book. A much better story in its literary presentation, which is full of absurd adventures left out of the movie, and a deeper profile of the main character that at least fills in some missing information that would have made the movie less cringe-worthy for me.

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Next week: Enough Already: Part 2: We Have Met the Enemy…

pogo

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Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday whenever he can finish one in time.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, osts The Bobcast every Monday night at Cherry Cola’s, and continues to write music, make music, and record.

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2 Responses to “Segarini: Enough Already – Part 1: Background”

  1. Brilliant, my liege.

  2. pamelaroderick Says:

    you never know when something could be very offensive to someone else!

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