Fanfare for the Common Man Oh, boy

  • Monday, February 13, 2012

“I heard the news today, oh boy…”
From the Beatles song, “A Day in the Life,” sometimes all you can do is shake your head and wonder. 
Good news. Bad news. There’s this funny thing about News. It doesn’t care. 
Whitney Houston died this weekend and in 12 hours an appropriately maudlin tribute was inserted into the Grammy Awards lineup. And across the social networks, the commentary ran amuck as to how and why she passed so early.
News is the random arrow shot into the air, and where it lands is of little relevance, so heads up. News does not care whom it might hurt or offend with its arrival. It matters not whether it brings good tidings or the foreboding of inevitable doom. News just shows up on your front doorstep like your obnoxious in-laws and says, “We’re here and we’re not leaving until next month.”
News is the permanent stain on the psyche, the Lady MacBeth spot that won’t come out. If you don’t want to know something, turn and run far, run fast. News will find you, and once you know something you can’t very well un-know it.
News is not prejudiced or biased. It treats everyone equally. It says, “Here I am, live with it.”
And we must. 
In the old days kings would kill the messenger who relayed bad news. It’s not the messenger’s fault. News is what it is. And today, everyone is a messenger. 
Like the little boy who pointed at the king and shouted out, “He’s not wearing any clothes!” What do the rest of the king’s subjects do then? Do they continue to perpetrate the lie? 
Or do they admit, “Yep, the king is walking around town buck naked.”
Warning signs of pending news come disguised as innocent queries.
Hey, guess what?
Did you hear about …?
You’ll never guess what I heard…
Well, you’re about to.
Once News becomes known, there’s no turning back. News turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to semantics. It merely presents both sides of the argument dispassionately and lets you decide. It’s all the same in the eyes of News. 
“See Bill there? I hear Bill likes to stand on the roof dressed like Napoleon and pretend he’s a weather vane.”
Then suddenly, you start looking at Bill with a leery and cautious eye before ever considering as to whether this news you heard is even true. 
You didn’t know Bill was French.
News doesn’t care. 
News merely presents. It does not judge.   
News, much like the truth, is always out there just waiting to be told. News is all about knowing something, and if that something is not readily known at the surface, scratch away a bit at the shiny veneer and very quickly its dark and seedy underbelly will appear.
News is the flasher who says, “Here I am!” and then throws open his trench coat, leaving you to deal with the consequences afterwards. 
We seek out news. We want to know. It’s inherent in our DNA.  We hate not knowing.
“Heard any good news today?”
What the Tweets and Facebook commentary failed to take into account in regard to the news of Whitney Houston’s passing is that she left behind a 19-year-old daughter. Just like Michael Jackson left behind three kids. And Elvis.
Sometimes news is a tough pill to swallow, but we take it, because we have to know.
The Beatles song, “A Day in the Life,” got it right, “I heard the news today, oh boy…”
Oh boy is right. 

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