Friday, April 30, 2010

News to Me

About 15 years ago a Nashville attorney named Perry March killed his wife and got rid of her body. It was real big news here in middle Tennessee. Most reasonable people long ago concluded this guy was guilty but the official evidence was never sufficient to warrant an arrest. The story has come and gone since those first tragic news reports in 1996. We Nashvillians have followed this abrasive lawyer to Chicago, Canada, Mexico and parts unknown; his parents became involved, his children, his former wife’s family; even his new Mexican wife. Eventually Mr. March was apprehended in Mexico and transported here for a trial that aired continuously on our local networks. They finally nailed him. I was taking a brief siesta the afternoon the jury came into court with their verdict. Sarah woke me up excitedly and exclaimed, “Guess what, honey - Perry March is guilty on all counts!” I responded, “Thanks honey,” and went back to sleep.
No sooner did this unnecessary and over-reported fiasco end than this weird son-of-a-bitch pops up in Thailand and tells the world that he was somehow involved with the death of JonBenet Ramsey. Okay, here we go again. Why is this news? Why do I turn on my television or log onto the Internet and hear or read about this creep? Do I give a rat’s ass whether or not this guy was planning to have a sex change and already had his privates shaved for this purpose? What part of me sympathizes with this poor soul who was devastated when he wasn’t picked to be drum major in his high school band? Do I need any hints to figure out what he was doing in Thailand? Of course I know what he was doing in Bangkok - and there’s not a second-grader on the planet that needs that kind of education! When this chump was being walked into that initial interview he looked strangely like Lee Harvey Oswald being led to his fateful encounter with Jack Ruby. (Where was Mr. Ruby when we really needed him?) Get him off the air and out of my sight - he’s a pervert. (But, since you told me, why the hell was he eating roast duck and drinking Chardonnay in the business class section while being transferred back to the states from Thailand?)
And it wasn’t too long ago when all we heard about for a month was the bug-eyed, runaway bride who staged her own kidnapping and fled to Vegas. Is there any end to the intrigue? Why was this news? Do you recall what we encountered everyday during the summer of 2001 - that strange congressman from California who was being grilled for his possible involvement with the jogger who was murdered in D.C. Here’s another incident in which shaving was mentioned. This son-of-a-bitch shaved his whole body! His ass (cleanly shaven as it was, apparently) was just about to get nailed when the world-as-we-knew-it came to an end on September 11th.
I will say that the events of that infamous morning grabbed our attention for months and months - appropriately. But eventually we had to have another sordid fix and boy was it worth the wait! Enter Scott Peterson - and then another year in Aruba.
All of these events were tragic, no doubt. If a child - a child - is missing, abducted or harmed I am all ears. Shout it from the rooftops - let’s find the animal responsible - I’ll be the first in line to sign up for detail. But God help us all - we are living in a world that is full of abundant sorrow, unmet need, poverty, starvation, conflict, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and war - all on a grand scale. Can’t we please focus on real news?
It occurs to me that in the age of cable television a network could be dedicated for this type of reporting that could isolate and confine this non-news for those who wish to view it. After all, we have a weather channel, a comedy network, ESPN, home shopping, a golf channel, a history channel and even Animal Planet. Let’s give the people what they want, when they want it. How about CBTV - Crazy Bastard Television: ‘The network for and about Crazy you!’


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