Intervention Time

Intervention Time

Intervention Time
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Sept. 12 2002 5:35 PM

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Dear Ron,

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You TV watchers do live in hell, don't you? Alan Alda, these CNN creatures you describe with the oxblood hair, the constant threat of seeing a video clip of Billy Joel (I can't even think about that horror you found out about), George W. with facial expressions. Recently I even heard that Art Linkletter was still alive. I've seen enough of this up at my father's house—talking about the earthly one, not the one who's going to fix your ass—to get a rough idea. Seen Connie Chung. Seen Regis Philbin. Makes a body want to get in the car and pump up the bass. So I do. Got a furry speaker in my trunk just for the purpose. Favorite song lately is James Brown's "Funky President." Can't imagine why.

At any rate, I was thinking that tonight after a drink or two, I should try to do an intervention on you. TV may not be so bad in itself, but it's a gateway drug to the movies. Sooner or later that screen won't seem big enough, and you'll want breasts and cuss words, the sound coming at you from all directions. I know I may sound "square," Ron. Everybody does it, you'll say. What's the harm in just watching PBS? But believe me, my friend, I've been there. You don't want this for yourself. 

By the way, you're so right about bloggers, columnists, commentators, and so on. This is work. Look at how labored all the foregoing is. Before we go away forever, though, let me make one more effort to get serious about all the seriosity, okay? Because there's a mystical aspect to all this which nobody, to my knowledge, has yet touched on. As W himself said yesterday, "I believe there is a reason that history has matched this nation with this time." I'm not going to try to comment on that: I think we should just sit there and gaze at it while it spins. And let me juxtapose to that the utter spookywookiness of the New York Lottery number being 9-1-1 yesterday. If that doesn't make you stop and think, you need to SERVICE ENGINE SOON. Today's Daily News piece on this "eerie coincidence"—boy, they can say that again—quoted some regular guy saying, "I think somebody's trying to tell us to look on the bright side." They didn't cap the S, but still, isn't that a nice thought to leave everybody with?

Ten-four, over and out,
David

Ron Rosenbaum is the author most recently of Explaining Hitler and The Secret Parts of Fortune; he writes a column for the New York Observer and was co-writer of the PBS/Frontline documentary "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero." David Gates' most recent book is the short-story collection The Wonders of the Invisible World. He's a senior writer at Newsweek.