Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Every evening when I watch CNN, usually the news is entertaining, if a little biased and unnecessarily flashy. Paula Zahn and Wolf Blitzer, among others provide a fast paced narrative of issues, whether you agree with them or not. But at least most of the times, it's reasonably sane, focusing on pertinent political, social and economic issues. Sometimes the issues are overanalyzed, and you wonder why they are spending so much time on them. But it's usually bearable.

Not so yesterday, when I was floored by two hours of the most mindless debates possible. Mindless not because of their content which was obviously important, but because of the constant quibbling and bickering about matters which really are not important in the context of the problems that were being discussed. I think it was a great example of how you can talk about important matters and yet spend so much time on inconsequential details...but I would be wrong if I say this; the disturbing point is that it's precisely these inconsequential details that people want to spend all their precious time on. A sad state of affairs indeed.

First, there was a long discussion on whether Barack Obama as a presidential candidate is "black enough". What??

Second, there was an entertaining if ridiculous debate between the president of American Atheists and a preacher whose affiliation I have forgot; again, ridiculous because both were flogging the same dead horse. I am of course on the side of the atheist, but what was fatuous was the incessant bickering that the two were engaged in at super-fast speed, given the (always) limited time they had to voice their opinions. However, I do sympathize with the atheist woman; she was just not given enough time to say anything. I also may have bickered in a "Your 30 seconds start now" scenario.
I have to say that the topic was serious and pertinent; are America's atheists being discriminated against? Of course they are, we don't need a debate for that! A two minute clip of an interview with Richard Dawkins made the point, but what new could he too add? After all, the same arguments against blind faith can only be repeated again and again. Then there was a story about two ordinary Americans who detailed how they have been marginalised by society because they are atheists. You think that only left-wingish intellectuals are atheists? Then take a look at this couple...in fact atheism can manifest itself as much in simple, forward thinking, middle class people, as it can in university professors, scientists, and intellectual liberals. I was utterly appalled when the couple said that their children could not find playmates because of their parents' "faith" (mind you; atheism is a lack of faith), people stopped being friendly with them, and they even suspect that their landlord gave them a notice because of their atheism. My advice to them? You are good folks and you are really living in the wrong place. One plea; get out! Go to England.

Third: an NBA basketball star reveals that he is gay, sparking national outrage. Yes, that's right, doesn't his being gay suddenly make all his basketball achievements void? Also, the CNN interviewer asked him an extremely unfair and wrong question; did you get attracted to your fellow basketball players in the locker room?...Consider what a completely unfair question this is. No matter what answer the poor guy gives to this question, he is going to be called either a disgusting homosexual, or a liar and hypocrite after that. But the man was quite a match for the interviewer, declaring that the question was narcissism exemplified.

Fourth (and thankfully the last one): A high school newspaper somewhere published a "satire" on rape, saying that "Rape only hurts if you resist it". Needless to say, the editor instantly achived the status of Martin Bormann at a bar mitzvah.

At the end of two hours, I really felt like I was watching some reality or comedy show. Unfortunately, the laughter cannot extinguish the deep anguish. Unfortunately, these issues are the ones which occupy the serious time of many Americans and their mainstream news sources. What is debated are passion-ridden opinions and side-issues, which are forcibly turned into main issues.

What matters more? Whether a person is an atheist or whether he or she is a good person? Whether an NBA player is gay, or whether he plays terrific basketball? Whether Barack Obama is "black enough", or whether he has admirable individual qualities that would make him into a fine President?

What's more important? The sane among us would say; personal righteousness, basketball, and presidential abilities. CNN and many Americans say; atheism, homosexual nature, and shades of black.

Hard to sometimes believe that this is the most "progressive", "modern", and "developed" nation in the world. That's why I stick to BBC.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home