February 24, 2005

He's Dead; and NOW He's Still Dead; and NOW and NOW...

I got really really frightened once when I thought the media had lost its collective mind.

Ronald Reagan died. This was newsworthy in that the man served as President to the world's most powerful nation. Now, being the politically ignorant soul that I am, I'm neither here not there about Ronald Reagan's term of office. In many ways, I find his acting career of more interest. I say this to point out that this is not a political gripe, but a cathartic exercise in expelling my fear that pure lunacy had enveloped the nation's media that week.

Every primary television channel carried coverage of the life and times of Ronald Reagan for nearly eight full days. Along with the complete biographical account, they tacked on the current memorial services taking place clear across the country. Each day, in a different city, we were encouraged to watch a new crowd of camera-mugging politicians and movie stars, an all-new coffin locale or more accurately stated - "stage setting"- and a new schedule for the next day's trek. It seemed as though the man traveled more of the country dead than throughout his lifetime.

Cameras morbidly focused tight shots on Nancy's every expression (or in most cases, non-expression). She was grieving - oh what a big surprise. She grieved more openly at the very end, and I couldn't help but wonder if a small part of that was her way of saying "enough already!"

Please don't mistake this as a cold-hearted rant on the whole ritual of death/funerals/grieving. I take death quite seriously and respect people's varying styles of saying goodbye to loved ones. But this was overkill to the nth degree.

I don't entirely blame the media, as they weren't the ones who orchestrated this week long mini-series. They just provided the key grips, best boys and curtain calls.

After the second night of what I like to refer to as "The Reagan Show," I fully expected him to be put in the ground already. We watched quite a few rented movies that week, not out of disrespect for the former President, but out of GREAT respect for our sanity.

As the newspapers and radios were pushing more and more announcements of upcoming Reagan memorial schedules throughout that week, I truly believed they had all lost touch with any sense of reality. It scared me. I thought it was never going to end and TV viewing as I once knew it was gone forever.

I will admit that when they announced the final "episode" I tuned in briefly toward the very end. The prevailing thought that rolled about in my head while watching the obscene display was "thank God it finally IS Bedtime for Bonzo."

4 Comments:

Blogger Swifty said...

This is it! This piece of writing or journalism if you you like, would not be out of place in the quality newspapers. Great!

9:09 AM  
Blogger John said...

I agree with don swift... Excellent writing. I think that media is responsible though, for these fiascos you described. The rediculous shots of a grieving woman. And so on.

The leftist liberal media is a curse in the U.S. or perhaps, a plague?

11:38 AM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Hi Carol,

Great piece of writing. I had heard that Reagan had passed away when it happened, but I really didn't notice the whole media circus. That's probably because I don't really watch TV or listen to the radio. And I rarely pick up a newspaper. I get most of my news from the Internet and I pick which stories to read.

I know many people spoke of his death for a few days at work and that seemed to be a big thing. The hype within the public lasted a couple of days, but there were those who said, "Enough already."

Beth

2:55 PM  
Blogger Wally said...

Carol,

And yet another sad part relating to your story: is how all the money hungry scavengers will swoop down upon the "Famous Dead Persons Band Wagon," and (honorably?) have something to sell to commemorate those deaths. Not to mention... Biography Channel airing a special, almost before the body becomes cold. Sorry, for my rambling; but, your well written story gave me food-for-thought.

12:20 PM  

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