Friday, September 01, 2006

could “sign of the times” be a sign of the times?

You’ve suffered my rants before—the new Nightline is a tale told by idiots, signifying nothing. Especially noisome has been the recurring segment called “Sign of the Times,” which is almost never ever about anything that anyone who understands the meaning of the term would call a “sign of the times.”

And, on Thursday night, that still held true. . . except in a meta sense.

The sign of the times—according to Nightline—was that President Bush has come up with yet another word/phrase/term for whomever it is he thinks we should be fighting. You know, the “Islamofascists.” Or something even newer, I think—it seems to change almost daily. And that was kind of the point of the piece.

Now, while pointing out that the Bush White House tries to spin the news with little focus group-tested catchphrases is not news, and not much of a sign of the times. . . not in 2006. . . but. . . . But, the tone of the Thursday piece, well. . . .

You see, the whole segment was enhanced by graphics and sound effects that made it something like a game show. That the parade of epithets—the terrorists, the suiciders, the jihadists, the 21st Century fascists (sounds like a punk show I saw back in ’79)—was relayed as an incongruous list of meaningless slogans (all concocted, it was pointed out by the reporter, in an effort to avoid using the term “insurgents”) makes me wonder: has something changed?

Could it be that the establishment media finally “gets it,” or, if not gets it, finally thinks it’s ratings savvy to treat the Orwellian Bush/Rove neologicon as something just a bit absurd? Ridiculous? Phony? Funny? And, by extension, is it now OK to show the president, and his attempts to frame Iraq as a) the equivalent of WWII, b) part of the war on terror, and c) successful as equally absurd and ridiculous?

If yes, well, now, that’s a sign of the times.


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