Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How I Came to Lose Trust in the Media

Anne Applebaum in Slate Magazine writes this:

"There is no nihilism like the nihilism of a 9-year-old. "Why should I bother?" one of them recently asked me when he was presented with the usual arguments in favor of doing homework. "By the time I'm grown up, the polar ice caps will have melted and everyone will have drowned."

Which prompts me to relate this tale from the dark halls of history.

When I was a Sophomore in college I had the most intense crush on Andy Williams. Yes. You have it right. Andy Williams.

He had a weekly show back then and I could never, NEVER miss it. We only had one TV in the dorm and it was in the community room called the smoker where couches and ashtrays also were present. On the week night of Andy's show, I would arrive with whatever I was trying to study and a pack of cigarettes (yes, I smoked and who didn't?), turn on the channel and await his opening number. Most of the other occupants would groan and complain and often, I was the only one left in the room to worship at Andy's pedestal. So now, you have the picture.

The night of the Cuban Missile Crisis Andy Williams was on. Every student was lined up to call home. We only had pay phones in the center of the hall on each floor of the dorm. I saw the length of the line and realized it would be long after Andy's show before I got to call the parents and say goodbye which was what everyone was doing. We also had an exam the next day in some course or other and I should have been buckled down with the text and notes to ensure a good grade. I thought it over and said..."I am watching Andy Williams and then waiting in line and then going to bed. I'd rather be asleep and unaware when the big one hits. As for the test? Why bother with that? The world is ending tonight."

It didn't. I am almost ashamed to say that I was very disappointed that next day. I believed the hype and never studied for that test. I think was the beginning of the cynicism I have developed for the press and politicians. I should never have believed them then and I don't now.

The end of my story. I am glad, however, that I watched Andy Williams. I still have a soft spot in my heart for him.


Michelle M. said...

What an interesting post. I can't say that I am the same way, but there were many times in college when I was certain that classes would be cancelled due to snow and then it wasn't. Definitely not the same thing, but I can at least understand that end of it. :)

Marjie said...

In the 70s, we were all going to freeze to death with global cooling. Now we're all going to drown with global warming. I'm glad I live on top of a hill, and if I don't turn on the TV, i can't be the victim of "scaremongers"!