Friday, July 26, 2002
Does Comedy Central have the Answer?
At first glance, Comedy Central's new show, Crank Yankers is just another in the painfully long list of recent mindless television programming whose only redeeming quality is that your remote control works and the channel can be turned changed. However, as Kathy M. Newman, a professor of English at Carnegie-Mellon University and astute cultural critic, points out the show "serve[s] as a reminder that the desire to help people and do a good job is still alive and well in America." This desire exists, "at least when it comes to the little people."
One lesson from 9/11 may be being elucidated by shows like "Crank Yankers" -- while President Bush can't stop using the power of his office to help out his old Texas friends, while Joe Lieberman is fighting to the end to retain non-reported stock options, while Dick Cheney will do anything for the energy lobby -- the strength, kindness, and even gentleness of this country comes not from Bush, Lieberman, Cheney, or any celebrity CEO. What makes America America comes from fire fighters and police officers, gay rugby players,, the African American student body president of the University of Kansas and hundreds of millions of the other the little people.
As the Congress and the President are debating everything from the further opening of northern Alaska to oil exploration to how to deal (and not to deal) with the plunging stock market, they should remember (and I fear they don't, and the media which covers them don't either) that their actions really do affect our lives. Retirement funds are disappearing; people who have worked hard their entire lives are going to have to work longer and harder; vacations won't be taken; weddings which were going to be large and festive will now be small and solemn. These changes do matter, and it doesn't seem like anyone in Washington actually cares.
Crank Yankers shows that we are all here working hard, doing a good job, and doing everything which makes America something to be so proud of (and we are proud). I just hope someone inside the beltway watches it. We can do it all ourselves, but we shouldn't have to.
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