Adventures in Channel Surfing

August 20, 2010

I’ve been flipping back and forth between PBS, “Hoarders” , and something called “Hardcore Pawn” for about 20 minutes now. On PBS, Joan Baez is talking about some really heavy, sad stuff she remembers from the Vietnam/Cold War era.  Every time I stop on her, I giggle.  Sorry Joan.

Here are a few choice Baez-isms.

“I could feel my nightgown flutter…”

“It was the biggest carpet bombing that took place…”

“I couldn’t get enough of it.  I couldn’t stop screaming.”

“It went so deep.”

That’s.  What.  She.  Said.

Channel surfing is a lot like falling asleep reading Kafka (or Jedediah Berry); you don’t really know if what you just experienced was read or dreamed.

Between commercials, conflicting plot lines mashed together, genres separated by chasms, wits by the same, it’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of listening to a really sweet, uplifting, culturally-important woman when you’re also in the middle of listening to this guy scream at his security team:

"What is this, Candy Land?!"

And then argue with his kids about whether or not to buy a Jagermeister dispensing machine (Jagermeister dispensing machine owner’s pitch: “Yeah, you put a little Jagermeister in and you get a little bit of nice Jagermeister out.”).

If Joan Baez is culturally-important, this is culturally-impotent.  When you hop from the latter to the former and hear a middle-aged woman talk about fluttering nightgowns and carpet bombings, it’s nearly impossible for the reaction to be anything other than, “ohmigod, did she just say what I think she said?”

And then you realize she’s talking about the wind from explosions and explosions.

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