You know the expression “glued to the TV”? Given the last few months, I’m adding “Crazy-Glued” — reflecting the fascination, the horror. I can’t wait until some documentary filmmaker prepares a montage of the low, lower and the lowest moments.
Until then, make do with the notes of a college-educated white senior woman voter of independent leanings:
Uncle Joe Biden from Scranton said on camera that we ordinary folks can’t comprehend how the super-rich live — and vice versa.
So true. Even a sane billionaire living in a three-level, 30,000-square-foot penthouse 50 stories above Manhattan, sporting more gold overlay than King Tut’s tomb, with more servants than a Roman emperor, cannot fathom life in rotting inner-city slums where the neighbors are drug dealers, not film stars. So how come the I-feel-your-pain approach?
Uh-oh. “Pain” suggests doctors, which confirms a truly great TV moment: Donald Trump’s longtime physician — a ringer for former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in fright wig — smirking an explanation of his brief-but-bombastic health report, hurriedly typed while a messenger double-parked outside his office.
From many mouths, I’ve learned everything about the carelessly placed server except in which basement was it carelessly placed. The multimillion-dollar Dutch Colonial with pool in Chappaqua, N.Y., or the stately residence with pool in Washington’s Embassy Row enclave?
With the cameras rolling, hairstyles matter. The well is dry on jokes about blonde pompadours held in place with bobby pins, but Hillary proves another point: a feathery, slightly bouffant, freshly streaked coif makes her look vastly more honest and likeable than lank, straight locks tucked behind the ears.
Trump’s female surrogates, staples on every network, look and dress like casting-call babes wearing variations of the same sleeveless dress, revealing toned, tanned arms. But those little specks I see — are they spilled Kool-Aid?
Cable news networks field “panels,” which means two or three pundit/supporters of each candidate. Panels must be diverse in race and gender, although the all-female variety is increasingly popular.
The problem with panels — whether gathered round a table or miles apart — is they cannot resists talking, if not howling, simultaneously. The anchor/moderator sweats bullets trying to maintain civility, in vain. Result: meaningless noise.
During a campaign, viewers follow favorite newscasters like they follow a sports team. Forever a Duke and CNN groupie (PBS is balanced, intelligent, boring). I’ve gotten cozy with MSNBC. Oh, the outrage of Chris Matthews’ “Hardball”! The witty sarcasm of Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski (whom Trump called “crazy and dumb”), Mike Barnacle et. al on “Morning Joe.”
Also the elegance of Andrea Mitchell, wife of Alan Greenspan minus the wig, at noon. Sometimes I glance at Fox to see what the fuss is about. Of all the talking heads, David Gergen (adviser to many presidents) and Jon Meacham (Pulitzer Prize winner, editor at Random House) make the most common sense. Gloria Borger combines super-smart, sassy and shrill. Rachel Maddow is a hoot in small doses. For straight news, Lester Holt wears the best-tailored suit.
Honestly, a few of these news personalities might do better in the White House than the candidates. Just not Wolf Blitzer, who thrives on disaster besides having less than zero sense of humor.
The TV Ten Commandments rolled into one: thou shalt never, ever, under any circumstances answer a question with “Yes” or “No.” Forget answering altogether. Instead, deflect onto a more favorable talking point.
Campaign ads, paid for by PACs or otherwise: Oughta be an Emmy in this category. So far (this will change), the Trump campaign has put out few, all rather flat, lacking imagination or artistry, smacking of Soviet stodginess.
In contrast, Clinton ads showing Trump sounding off bleeped expletives or shouting insults being watched by children are both hard-hitting and nuanced.
Tell me, please, why commentators call one candidate by her first name and the other by his surname? Am I missing a subliminal message?
Notice how spouses have avoided the camera. Melania put her six-figure campaign wardrobe into mothballs after an initial boo-boo. Bill appears occasionally, and Chelsea is either taking care of the new baby in her $10 million condo or having lunch with Ivanka, who’s MIA as well. Meanwhile, waiting in the wings until after Labor Day … Michelle and Barack! Joe and Jill! Even Bernie and Jane!
BTW, does anybody know Mrs. Kaine’s first name? Or Mrs. Pence’s?
If I never see Anthony Weiner’s crotch again, it will be too soon.
Not sure my attention span can last two more months. I’ll go cold turkey before the debates, rest my ears, since those confrontations should be more shocking, more scintillating and explosive than combined season finales of “Dallas,” “Homeland” and “Downton Abbey.”
I don’t mean to be disrespectful. This is serious business. But when the choice is laugh or cry, I’m with Aristophanes: Try satire.
So put fresh batteries in the remote, stock up on Cracker Jacks, get out the score cards … and stay tuned.
Contact Deborah Salomon at email@example.com.