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CNN: Your 24 Hour Dead Pope Network
2005.04.06 (Wed) 14:00
Jesus Christ on a stick! Enough about the Pope already. If this was coverage of our own deaths, we wouldn't want it to be this pervasive. This has nothing to do with what we thought of the man (he had his strengths and his serious flaws), it has to do with the complete media barrage. It is absolutely impossible to walk by a television this week without seeing coverage of the dead pope and the series of events that are connected to his death. For our part, we are actively trying not to follow this story any more than we have to, and we still can't avoid it.
Against all efforts to the contrary, we know about the 117 Cardinals who will elect the next pope in one or more secret elections. We know that the secret election will take place on April 18. We know that said election is decided by a two-thirds-plus-one majority, and that after twelve days if there is no winner, the vote changes to a simple majority. We know that only Cardinals under the age of 80 get to vote, though the rest can pontificate (no pun intended) all they want on the subject. We know that most of the older Cardinals who don't get to vote are Italian, thereby making the chances of an Italian Pope slim. We know about the black smoke and the white smoke. We know that one of the leading candidates for popehood is a black man from Africa, and another is from Latin America. We know about the destruction of the Pope's ring. We know about the tons of people who are currently paying the Euro equivalent of $6 for bottled water outside of St. Peter's, and who are suffering from heat exhaustion anyway. We know that the Pope will be buried at St. Peter's, in those eerie crypts, and not in Poland. We know that Dubya will be attending the funeral on Friday with daddy Bush and Clinton in tow. We know that Condi will, as usual, be tagging along. We know that Jimmy Carter either snubbed the White House or was snubbed by the White House, and frankly, we don't care which it was.
And we know all this despite a concerted effort to not follow this story, and we know it without having to look it up — all of the above was off the cuff. That's not a plug for our stellar memories — we have had absolutely no choice except to be exposed to this deluge of unwanted information. Every internet headline blares out more datapoints, every news channel shows the Pope's body, and every news ticker ticks away Pope-related factoids. And it isn't just CNN — they just happened to be on the last five televisions that we walked past today. E-fucking-nough!
Of course, it won't end, and of course, this is no different than every other "major" story that the news channels bite onto with the tenacity of a pitbull who has forgotten how to release a bone. If they can get a higher share of viewers, they can sell advertising time, and make more money. Our question is who the holy hell actually wants to see this much coverage of the dead Pope? Are other countries around the world being exposed to the same forced barrage of media coverage as we are in the United States? Are we so stupid as a country now that this represents a week of "real news" for the masses? Are we, when it comes down to it, nothing more than accident gawkers and reality TV watchers who will gladly waste a week of time watching the same damned news over and over again? On second thought, nevermind — don't answer that last question.
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[ Filed under: % Media & Censorship % Religion ]
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