Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The dilution of our expectations.

"To you I say, it is only with adversity that we even have a chance at greatness. Adversity is your opportunity."
- Ann Curry
One of the downsides of expansion - be it sports or media - is the dilution of talent. More teams or more networks translates into more opportunities to hire nitwits and incompetents. Now that there are a thousand news outlets and only so many eligible talking heads, one wonders what the talent level has become for big media. Ask no longer:

After taking the stage to launch into the school's 175th commencement address, "Today" show co-host Ann Curry sought to drive home the inspirational content of her speech by ticking off the names of a few of the school's more illustrious alums. Among the entries on the Curry honor roll: "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl, evangelist Billy Graham, slasher-film director Wes Craven, and United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer. There was just one problem: Apart from Stahl, everyone on that list actually graduated from another Wheaton College, the Christian liberal-arts college in Wheaton, Illinois.

It's not like it was 40 years ago when there were 3 major networks, and people like Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather and David Brinkley wrote and read the news. Now, there are too many networks to count, and the communications graduates are setting lower standards for writing, reading and presence. It's only apparent if you're old enough to remember when network television news was a major source of information and the people bringing it to you had our respect. Now, not so much.

It would seem that
Ms Curry's address was done with the help of Wikipedia or some other web site rather than her own knowledge, which explains a lot about how she got to host a big-time TV show. Oh - and in her apology letter to Wheaton College, she misspelled the name of Lesley Stahl, spelling it Leslie. So, there's twice the egg and only one face. Nice going, Ann. Hey, at least they all attended college. That's a feather in your cap.

Now, I see that "American Idol" is down to two. One named Crystal Bowersox and another named Lee DeWyze. I saw them on Saturday's Fox baseball game strumming guitars and singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Impressive? I don't know. I'd figure that there are a hundred-thousand people in the country who could strum a guitar and sing that song as mundanely as they did. So, why is it necessary for a major network television show to parade them around for 12 weeks and give them a recording contract as a reward? It's needless ceremony, and I suppose if America hasn't awakened to the concept by now, they never will. Based on what I saw, I don't see stardom for either of these people, but then, America is lured by hype, and nobody ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the general public, so I imagine they will go on to multi-million selling CDs and foist-upon popularity based on a TV show that should have long ago died a slow, agonizing death.

Forgive my run-on sentence.

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