Register Thursday | June 20 | 2019


Great Television Station or Greatest Television Station Ever Made by Humans?

I recently lost cable. It went along with my roommate Michelle, her neurotic but charming cat Cleo, and a grey fish called “Grey Fish” (also, possibly, neurotic). Before any of this happened I knew I’d be in for a rough time, emotionally. I knew I would miss my roommate and Cleo. I even suspected I might miss Grey Fish, what with his swimming and his eating and the way that he floats sometimes, motionless, for hours. I knew I’d miss them, but I didn’t expect to miss Wolf Blitzer. I didn’t expect to feel a sadness upon loosing the Capital Gang. There’s no way I could have known that, deep down, I would feel an intense longing for CNN.

CNN is a very bad channel. It is sensationalistic and lazy and politically enraging and very bad. It is also entirely fascinating. It is a compelling cultural document, like J. Crew Catalogues and Gillette ads and this rock/fashion show hosted by Dennis Leary my roommate and I saw the other night, our last night of cable together, in which models in leather and Hawaiian print (Hawaiian print is the new black) walked a circular catwalk around Brian Adams as he sang some song that wasn’t “Summer of Sixty-Nine.”

CNN is an amazing artifact from a world slightly crazier than our own. It consistently blows my mind, and not because it’s entirely absurd, but because things are just slightly absurd. It’s like a Murakami book. It’s like a brilliant simulation of reality. I love to get stoned and watch CNN.

Also, it looks so slick. It’s like watching the news in the future. It has that sweet ticker-tape feature that lets you know whether a small Central American country has been destroyed by flood while watching Larry King interview Johnny Cash’s daughter.

CNN’s commentary is also awesome. Their pundits oscillate between delivering pre-written one-liners and belligerently shouting each other down. Lou Dobbs tells you which companies are Exporting America. That way you know.

And the news they cover? – also crazy. On CNN things blow up all the time. It’s true. One day I counted over seventy things blowing up on CNN. That’s a lot of things. That kind of coverage of things blowing up is, in my opinion, very thorough.

I don’t really know what my point is. I miss CNN.