A recent article in the Piedmont Post sang the praises of TV. You know, social change, cultural idiom, blah blah blah.
Well, what that piece neglected to mention is how hard TV can be on the eyes. And not in the way that reading without adequate light is hard on the eyes.
Cosmetic Surgery. The Nightmarish Excess prize should be split between Joan Rivers and Garry Shandling, both virtually unrecognizable. Honorable mention: Billy Crystal. Are these guys trying to make sure their faces are as funny as their standup routines? Arianna Huffington’s jawline has become so rounded, she looks like she has the mumps. And musician Paul Simon, who shares a name with the late U.S. Democratic senator, would appear to be aspiring to his namesake’s current look.
Coiffure. Remember when the comb-over was the undefeated champion in the contest for most horrifying male hairstyle? Never did I imagine that guys with full heads of hair would find a way to be every bit as wince-worthy. But the day has come, and we are smack in the middle of an epidemic of dye jobs that are two shades too dark.
Dudes. You have every right to color your hair, but as you age, you need to go lighter or risk being mistaken for a corpse. See how Donald Trump looks more natural than Robin Williams? I rest my case.
At the other end of the spectrum, we have Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Amy, Amy, Amy. You cannot continue wearing that overly earnest “I don’t color or style my hair because I’m way too busy doing important work” look, yet phone in kneejerk leftie ideology much of the time. Either you have time for thoughtful inquiry, or you have time for your hair—I’m leaving it entirely up to you, but you do need to choose.
Scary Mustache contest winner—previous U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Eyebrows That Terrify award—author Richard N. Goodwin.
Underage Reporting. We hear all kinds of news about underage drinking, crime and sexual activity. The elephant in the room? Underage commentators, forced into servitude on major news networks. The Nation’s Christopher Hayes, who looks like Tintin and probably shaves about as often, talked recently on MSNBC about that 11 year-old boy whose mother died for lack of health coverage. Did you notice his empathy? Well, that’s because 11 year-olds are his peer group.
Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times goes so far as to sport a wedding band on his left hand, when anyone can see he hasn’t had his bar mitzvah yet. Ezra Klein writes for the Washington Post and Newsweek before having become eligible for a driver’s license. This kind of exploitation—it’s just wrong.
Gratuitous Idiocy. OK, when will writers of “realistic” TV dramas notice that people don’t bolt upright in bed after a nightmare; they lie rigid in terrified paralysis? And that people don’t get a dial tone when someone hangs up on them; the phone goes dead?
TV. You gotta hate it.
Published in the Piedmont Post, April 21, 2010