Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Horn Will Not Blow at Midnight, But Every Other TV Special Will

EDITORIAL (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- New Year’s Eve is almost upon us. As the CEO of San Narciso’s premier radio station, I don’t focus a lot of attention on television. Moving images take away from the sound spectra that surround us, the chords and frequencies and timbers and harmonics. But old films, the classics, now that’s where it’s at. Where it’s always been, right? Where the writing mattered. Where it was about the words, people, not the visual distractions. And it seems the only time we get to partake is around the holidays. So what the hell is going on here?

I’m speaking to you, Rolf Funch, president of RJ Fletcher Communications. What kind of world makes us sit through Dick Clark’s loathsome post-stroke aphasia during every New Year’s Eve special from now until the End Time out of some misguided notion of tradition? Yeah, I know he's "dead," but I've become convinced that Dick Clark was capable of regenerating into new, uncomfortable bodies like a Time Lord. Now he's masquerading about in his new incarnation as Ryan Seacrest. Regardless of which form he takes, or what pseudo-dignified personality he decides to pair with Kathy Griffin, the spectacle remains one of those horrific and intolerable moments where I'm forced to feel embarrassment for another human being. But it's a tradition. An American tradition.

You know what else is a tradition? An American tradition? “The Horn Blows at Midnight.” Surely you remember? Jack Benny? Alexis Smith? Made in the year of your lord Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Five?

Benny is a bandsman who falls asleep and dreams that he is Athanael, an angel appointed with the task of blowing the trumpet that will end the world at midnight on New Year’s Eve. There’s a really funny bit throughout about “Paradise Coffee.” But you wouldn’t know that, would you? You’re busy trying to pair up some new androgynous victims for Kathy Griffin and Ryan Seacrest to suckle.

The movie is a freakin’ tradition. And no station is showing it this New Year’s Eve. As the leading (read: ONLY) cable provider in the county, I put it to you. Why the eradication of a holiday classic? Will Rudolph and friends go next year? And after that, maybe replace “A Christmas Story” with some re-runs of “Davy and Goliath?” How about “White Christmas” with Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber? That’s pretty damn white, if you know what I mean.

The Horn – for this tradition – has Blown, apparently. I can't find the film anywhere. It's like Christmas without “It's a Wonderful Life.” It's like Hanukkah without guilt. It's damn near like coffee without cocaine and LSD. And that's just wrong. Even the humorless Krauts in Germany still get their annual dose of “Dinner for One.” Please.

To the television decision makers, I hope you have an abysmal New Year. Screw you. Yes, sirs and madams of television programming, screw you all. I’ll have to watch Dick Clark's protege mince and preen while Kathy Griffin drools all over herself and spasms and babbles ineffably like the offspring of Kate Hepburn and Newt Gingrich. So it's still like watching Dick Clark host the show. It’s just too much.

But what I’m really going to miss…Robert “Bobby” Blake as Junior Pulpinsky.

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that our right-wing, family values, warriors for Christmas, and fair and balanced free marketeers do their level best to bring about the apocalypse, but their media can’t show a cute holiday movie about it? Yes, it is.

If you readers, like me, refuse to support RJ Fletcher Communications this New Year’s Eve, tune in to to KCUF on the 31st. The Tank Players will be performing a live radio play re-imagining "When Harry Met Sally," set in the context of Guantanamo Bay. Two detainees find love amid international terror and power politics. Airs on KCUF at 9:00 p.m. Performed by The Tank Players.

2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.

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