“But Mom, it’s reality,” says her 12-year-old son.
“It used to be called the “Evening News,” answers Mom.
He shakes his wise head, as if his mother lives in another world. He feels sorry for her. She is beyond his help, but he will give it his best shot.
“Mom, everybody wants “reality shows.” You know, where people are screaming at each other, trying to look hot, and hoping they get picked for the big bucks,” he says patiently.
She looks at her son, so prematurely aged in his understanding of our times. How to go backwards? How to wipe away the stupidity of what buys advertising? When did we, the audience, stop insisting on the kind of news that is truly newsworthy?
She holds the knife, swirled with mayonnaise and mustard, in midair. Trying to formulate her thoughts into coherency.
“A politician who lies. That’s nothing new. A politician who has poor morals has always been around. What the news should be about is the politician who does what he or she was elected to do. No fuss. No . . .” she lays the knife on the cutting board and uses her fingers to make quotation signs ” . . .NO PERSONAL ISSUES.” She lowers her fingers and looks at her son’s shaking head. “Our society should be focused on important things like education and health care and the economy and . . .”
“Mom, you don’t get it. It’s ALL about . . .” and here he mimic’s her and gives the finger quote signs ” . . .PERSONAL ISSUES.” Nobody really cares what some dumb politician does. They’re all pretty much the same. It’s just fun to see how stupid they look when they get caught. Besides everybody knows we’re broke and whoever has the bucks will get what they want.”
She struggles with wanting to scream and wring somebody’s neck, but on the outside, she is calm and finishes making the sandwiches.
He waits silently for her to cut in half the two slices of bread, encasing the cheese, ham and thick slabs of tomato. As she hands him his plate across the kitchen island, she says, “What’s the most important aspect of being a citizen of the United States?”
He puts his plate down, rolls his eyes at her and says, “Okay, here we go again. I’m supposed to say ‘FREE SPEECH.’ Big deal.”
“It is a very big deal,” she says.
“Not anymore. Not with the Internet. That’s why your ‘evening news’ is just hokey. If you really want to know something, get on the ‘net.” He grins and takes a big bite out his ham and cheese. Secure in his knowledge that electronics rule.
Perhaps this summer would be a good time to ‘cut the cord’ and lose the batteries. Maybe priorities for “news” might change if there was precious little of it and you felt cut off from the world. If you only had ten minutes to learn of the outside “news,” what would you really want to know? How would you view the world if you only had ten minutes to learn what was happening?
“Guess I got you, huh Mom?” he grinned, picked up three peanut butter cookies and left her domain.
Not as long as I have 51% of the voting power on how we’ll be spending our two-week vacation.” It was her turn to smile.