Monday, December 17, 2012

What's news?

Last Thursday, students at South River High School, down past Annapolis, were evacuated for a second day that week due to what turned out to be a dryer malfunction.  Apparently, all that time standing outside led some of them to decide to set up a fake "Breaking News" site and share with the world the amazing, although spurious, news that the school had been evacuated because a live tiger was roaming its halls.

Had this been Sri Lanka Senior High School, it would have been believable.  Those with a knowledge of the fauna of Central Maryland know that tiger sightings outside of the zoo and the ballpark, when the Detroit nine come to town, are so rare as to be nonexistent.
Ha, ha, kids.  Very funny joke.  Now, back to reading "Heart of Darkness," solving for "y", and wearing the same gym socks for the third consecutive marking period.

However, according to the local Patch, a "national news website" picked up the story and ran it.  It turns out that this "national news website" is something called "Elite Daily...Voice of Generation-Y" which is not to be confused with The New York Times.  For one thing, the megapaper from New York knows better than to use dashes when they are not needed.  Members of Generation Y, please take note of the way proper grammar solves for "Y".

Of course, the next day, an ineffable enormity occurred in Connecticut, and as we watched, listened and read of the unfolding details from Newtown, a debate took shape on the social media sites about "how much news is too much."  Some people took to the keyboard to tap out messages about how we are only "giving this young man what he wanted" by paying attention to his evil deed.  Others pointed out that what he wanted was to kill people, and maybe we should try to find out how such an abhorrent mode of behavior surfaced in what seemed to be a "normal, everyday" kind of guy.

That's a debate with many sides, but for those who say, "The news shouldn't cover this so extensively; it only gives other people bad ideas", I say bad ideas abound all by themselves.  Those who don't want to see the full-scale coverage by news channels such as NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN have the option of turning to another channel, or turning the tv off altogether.  The news is the news, and wishing it were better won't make it so.

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