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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

That Funeral Was Off The Hook

Two rants today: the Coretta Scott King funeral and the overusage of "Off The Hook."

With apologies to the millions of Mrs. King's mourners worldwide, I just don't get the way media covers death. The way local news is all over a bloody and fatal tractor accident is actually fine with me. But when an icon like Mrs. King dies, I'm not fully comfortable with how it's visible all over the place at 24-7 speed. When President Reagan died last year, I really didn't need the round-the-clock coverage of the moments immediately after his death, the round-the-clock coverage of the dignitaries offering their two cents, rtc coverage of Air Force One taking off here and landing there, lying in state, more dignitaries arriving in limousines and walking with heads down to the big church and blah blah blah. Of course, the low-voice narration by news presenters makes me feel like I'm watching golf. So to answer the age-old question, yes, there really is something more boring on television than the freaking Buick Open.

Even a lesser-known person like a police officer killed in the line of duty, say, for example, often times gets maximum exposure. Certainly allow people to grieve, but does someone's death really call for all that coverage?

And now that television commercials seem to be front of mind for many this week, could that annoying Taco Bell ad be, um, any more annoying? First, TB is trying too hard to turn "Good To Go" into a T-shirt slogan for college spring breakers next month (See: Gettin' Lucky In Kentucky and other played-out shite). And (b), after much pop-culture discussion with someone far more hip than I, I still disagree with her that "Off The Hook" can be used to describe an object. My preference is to hear it (ahem, I seldom use it myself) used to describe an occasion or an event, something you can't readily see. For example, "Dude, you should have been at ****'s crib the other night. That party was off the hook." I don't think the Taco Bell scripters use it themselves, because no one pulls up to someone in traffic and says, "That car is off the hook."

And oh my, how far has our culture come? It used to be that the Bill Cosby Jell-O commercials would incorporate a white boy, a red-headed girl, an Asian dude, a black girl, a Hispanic child and so on and so on. Nowadays, they just get one kid who looks like he might satisfy two or three demographics simultaneously. Is commercial talent really becoming that high-priced?

Thoughts On How Media Covers Funerals?


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