I've been watching TV since the late 1940's and I think the relentless, the incessant, the obsessive coverage of that missing airplane is something we've never seen before, but perhaps it's better understood by the fact that reporting the news is no longer part of a bargain the public makes with the broadcasters, that they provide a public service in exchange for the right to use the spectrum.
Capitalism has triumphed again and like everything else, it's just a business and it's easier to make money out of a mystery, even when you can go over a month with no actual news than it is to get people to tune in for hours every day to worry about Russia taking up it's old habits and threatening world peace. Haven't we had regular stories about sinking ferries before? We hear about it, usually somewhere far away, we cluck and shake our heads, act grateful that no Americans were killed and we go back to football scores and the Dow Jones. It's changed.
Sure, we could read newspapers, but we don't. We watch propaganda that feeds our anger addiction and we obsess about things that have nothing to do with the obvious fact that our country, our civilization (if I can use the term that loosely) is failing. We hide, we immerse ourselves in entertainment to an extent only recently possible: watching, listening and participating in the relentless commentary while our culture, our language, our opinions, our religions, our laws become products managed by businessmen for the purpose of making money.
Religion is a business. Perhaps the priesthood is the true oldest profession and the most profitable customers of that business are the ignorant, the miserable and the helpless and I suspect that a great deal of the money spent by religious organizations goes to maintaining those conditions. Take the collapse of our educational system, for instance.
The Louisiana Courts have just upheld the right of teachers to bring supplemental materials into the classroom to confuse students -- to lie to students about science, history and morality. We're talking about the Bible, of course: the Christian Bible complete with the misunderstood and deliberately misrepresented ravings of John of Patmos.
In Wisconsin, a Republican senator insists that Secretary of State John Kerry has upset God and defamed our country by opposing Uganda's reprise of Hitler's slaughter of homosexuals.
A South Carolina Republican Candidate is campaigning about shutting down public schools because the Bible says nothing about public education and because Virginia's Christians believe kids do better with a "mom and dad," they want to pray and fast for 40 days until that state interferes with the life liberty and pursuit of happiness (and incidentally the constitutional rights) of gay people who want to marry. Remember when Virginia would put you in jail for marrying outside your "race?" Hell, remember when they fought a bloody war and murdered a President to keep slavery and their bloody Bible? They do better with a heterosexual family, so they say, as long as you don't send them to public school or devote any public funds to keeping that family alive.
So hey, keep those earbuds in and your TV tuned to the missing airplane channel and have a 'blessed' day. Don't forget to read your Bible.