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The Fonz Lives And Franco Is Dead: News You Can't Use

You always hope to be open enough to your own ignorance to seek intellectual redemption.

So, as an ancient habit, I collect "wait, wut?" news-of-the-day items just to make sure I still can be shocked, appalled and mystified, occasionally about myself.

Over the years, your field of vision shifts and drifts, so that your amazements do as well. If the shift is positive, you become self-actualized. If the shift does not open your mind, then you stay the same useless reprobate you always were.

But here's a starting point for this discussion. The Planet Earth is a relentless hot mess, and the human creatures living upon it seem unsuited to survive for very long.

The news we write about ourselves proves that.

For example, 40 years ago, I collected Associated Press briefs in my news job. They were almost-daily dispatches along themes related to Third World transportation. I was the unassigned but defacto Third World Bus Accident Editor at the Evansville Courier.

These were the days before political terrorism became its own category of global misery.

For example, this headline: "Bus Carrying 136 Wedding Partiers Careens Over Cliff In India And Kills All Aboard."

Buses always careen.

That was a best-of-the-week news clip that I saved for 20 years before it started to feel too creepy. The Associated Press figured this news was worth about two short paragraphs, though they did note the bride and groom were wearing their wedding finery when the bus exploded.

Third World buses always explode.

Addendum word to the wise: Stay off ferries in the Philippines.

I do not recall ever worrying, or even thinking about what the people on the bus thought. I did wonder occasionally who was in charge of Third World bus transportation, and how that many people could fit onto one bus.

The fact no one in journalistic authority suggested pursuing those insights does not absolve me of callousness. The mindlessness of those days still troubles me. I have no defense except an attraction to the morbid and bizarre.

The effect of news remains the personal reaction to what grotesquery is placed right in front of you. You care about what you see, as the death of George Floyd affirms.

Nothing that was true about American tolerances for bigotry on the day before he died would have changed without us witnessing his death.

It literally was the power of news.

So, if you can, be surprised when you stumble over news large and small that illuminates your mind's darkened corners. What bothers you - and doesn't - says a lot about who you are.

We go now to the daily news desk.

1. AP news note headline this week: "A group of 35 black former students at Liberty University thanked (school president) Jerry Falwell Jr. for apologizing for what they called a racist tweet."

Wait. Liberty University has black alumni? This is a true triumph of marketing over reality.

2. Entertainment news note headline: "HBO Max has removed 'Gone With the Wind' from its catalog citing racist depictions."

Wait. Wut? Somebody still thought GWTW was a good movie? Margaret Mitchell's equally bad novel by the same name won the 1937 Pulitzer for fiction.

White people in the arts have a lot to answer for.

3. Politico headline: "Trump allies fear the election is now shaping up as a simple referendum on Trump and his performance in the White House."

Or as we proletariat riff-raff call it: An election.

Or as the Armenians call food in an Armenian restaurant: Food.

4. New York Times story tag: "Choirs have been linked to several coronavirus outbreaks. And some scientists are skeptical about efforts to bring them back with protective measures."

For religious believers who consider every aspect of life is controlled the Deity, is this not an unambiguous signal? Maybe the Deity really does not like church choirs - hates them, in fact - and wishes they would all go away.

God did not like Betamax, and see what happened to that.

5. Facebook total insanity. Henry Winkler is not dead despite this internet clickbait: "Henry Winkler Dead at 77 - A Huge Trump Supporter and Lifelong Gun Lover." - ConservativeTears.com. Jan. 31, 2019.

Since January 2019, news the former Happy Days and Arrested Development star is dead has been posted on Facebook 150,000 times.

Think for a moment about the sheer insane, incomprehensible magnitude of that number, and how many stupid people that entails. It's a signal.

In these "obits" he is always noted as a big Trump supporter and NRA donor, neither of which is true.

This week Twitter's trending hysteria was re-provoked by pictures that seemed to confuse Winkler with images of New York City Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch.

For the fifth time, Snopes had to recall fans from the Fonz Rapture.

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. The Fonz lives.

But just in case, I've sent an e-mail to Winkler's talent agency (CAA) suggesting he stay away from Third World bus excursions.

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Recently by David Rutter:

* Kris Bryant's Future Bar Trick.

* Mansplaining To A Millionaire.

* Status Check: Chicago Sports.

* The Week In WTF Redux: Blago Is Back Edition.

* What Is A Chicagoan Anyway?

* Glenn Beck's Turn In The Volcano.

* Only Science Will Bring Back Sports.

* I Loathe The Lockdown Protestors.

* Reopening Books.

* A Return To Abnormalcy.

* I'm Having A Down Day Emotionally. Here's Why.

* So Long, Jerry.

* A Special "Trump's Bible" Edition Of WTF.

* 5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say.

* An ANTIFA American Hero.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.



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Posted on June 10, 2020


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