OK then, what have you thought of that graphic at the top of page four, the News You Can Use graphic? What's been up with those guys? Why have they been reading the Dallas News all this time? What do you think they're up to? I think the guy on our right has been showing the other guy a personal ad he wrote about him. I think they're a hip, swinging, Texan couple. But we're in Seattle, which is nowhere near Texas, so why has the caption below them always said "Close to Home?"
Being on the editorial board of this august rag, I am part of the very body of individuals who has decided each two weeks to continue using the graphic of the hip, swinging Texan guys. I would in fact be the individual who insists most loudly that we keep it. I think the hip, swinging, Texan guys are cool. But the voice of Dissent grows ever louder with each issue we print. The voice of Dissent will eventually get her way, if not in this issue, then in the next, she'll get so loud. So consider those guys history.
All of this must be a metaphor for my mood. After all, all events everywhere and at all times are metaphors for the moods of me, Copyright Dr. Wes Browning. This particular event, the change of the News You Can Use graphic, is specifically a metaphor for my specifically current mood. I know this, because I am a Poet, and that's how we Poets are. This is one of the things I have learned from many valuable conversations with Cindy, Muse of Other, my Muse of Few Words.
I would be sitting around, just like now, with a deadline in two hours, whining that I didn't feel like writing. And Cindy would ask me what's going on and I'd tell her the first thing that would come to mind. Like right now I'd say that the graphic for News You Can Use is changing, and she'd say "Ah." And I'd say, "What do you mean, 'Ah'?" And she'd say, "So you've been reading News You Can Use." And she'd be right. What a smart Muse.
Of COURSE I don't want to write with all that depressing news tumbling down around me. Especially lately since we've been printing news from all around the US and Canada. Yeah, that's it. I don't want to write because the news reports I have to work from are getting too disgusting. I mean, I'm supposed to be lightening things up, that's my job, but how do you lighten up a fleet of Sherman tanks, you know? (I'm speaking metaphorically again. Get it? Sherman tanks are really heavy.)
Just to pick one example: last issue we carried a story dealing with the video "Bumfights: a cause for concern." The video is said to depict actual homeless people, "bums", engaging in drunken fights among other things, in return for such things as food and clothing. How do I lighten this up? Now you know why I'd rather go on about the Texan couple.
What we ran in the story was only a hint of how disgusting the video is. According to a report by the BBC, in addition to showing homeless people fighting each other, there are scenes of people induced to injure themselves, scenes of people pulling their own teeth out with pliers, others of a man ramming his head against walls.
Other homeless advocates have been condemning the video on the grounds that it exploits the people depicted. As an ex cab driver and former teacher, I know from personal experience that you don't have to be homeless to be exploited on this planet, and I worry a lot less about the condition of the "stars" of "Bumfights" than I do about the part of the public that considers such garbage entertaining. It's the ignorant, bored, brain dead audience that's most being exploited.
Well, that wasn't very lightening of me, was it? Still, I feel lighter for having raised the subject. I've gotten a Sherman tank off my chest.