Mr. Wrong By Joe MacLeod

Mr. Wrong: Taking a big hot take on a flat screen

City Paper

I don’t know about you—and why would I—but when I go to a nice, dark, cozy, relaxing, and restorative tavern, and there’s a TV switched on up on the wall or over the bar, it totally harshes my mellow, you know? I don’t support this proliferation of flatscreens. Some bars should just be a Bar, you know? It’s like a Church, in some ways, and Thou Shalt Haz No Other Gods Before TV, right? I have long ago accepted Television as My Personal Savior, and I got nothing but Love for Teevee, however, when I am in a bar for drinking, with nice low lights and stuff, and an entertaining display of festive and medicinal bottles, softly illuminated, possibly reflected in a behind-the-bar mirror, I don’t want a bright glowing screen someplace burning my eyeballs! I’m not talking about a Sports Bar, man, that is its own Temple, I’m talking about a place where you go to get loaded and have engrossing conversations and stuff, OK? This also applies to Coffee Shops, but screw-to-the-you for giving me Stink-Eye if I’m talking too loud in a Coffee Shop while you are mooching WiFi and pretending it’s your office. Sign on the door says COFFEE, yo! I am reacting to a Powerful Stimulant to Conversation! 

Anyway, if I’m someplace with you and we’re talking and there’s a TV screen, that fucking thing will draw your goddamn attention while I’m telling you all my Intelligent Opinions and I will see your eyeballs move up to look at whateverthefuck is up on the screen, it doesn’t matter, and then we aren’t having a Conversation anymore! I’m like, in a competitive three-way with whatever’s up on that screen! Look at me when I am talking at you!

Sports is one thing, but a lotta places put the News up on the TV, like it’s some kinda fucking Public Service, which is fine for the Coin Laundrymat or an environment that is a purgatory-limbo-torture experience, but not in a bar, man, c’mon. Most of the time the volume is turned down, or drowned out by the jukebox, or people like me, who are blabbering about how they thought they were having a fucking conversation but if you wanna sit there and read the Closed Captions off the goddamn “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” then fine, I’m gonna go talk to somebody else, man, this is supposed to be Happy Hour, not News Hour, and since you’re not listening right now, you got this round, OK? Keep staring at Brian Williams, jeez. He’s taken himself outta the lineup being a fabulist right now, and if I am running a News Organization that has people reading off TelePrompTers, I want my goddamn News-Puppets to present the News in a way that is Credible, you know? It’s supposed to be Facts! Unimpeachable! You can’t have News being told to you by a guy who makes stuff up, or who “misremembers,” or whatever you wanna call it. I support the new era of Lester Holt reading the Nightly News, and I hope they will let him rock the turtleneck sweater like he does on “Dateline.”

I lost any feelings of Gravitas-respect toward Brian Williams as News Reader when he started doing clown-raps on the Jimmy Fallon show. He also used to show up on Jay Leno and David Letterman, but that was usually as like, the Face of The News, then he got into being a punchline on Jimmy Fallon, and I dunno man, when somebody is so thirsty for attention they go out of their apparent Career Path to be laughed at, you gotta wonder. Who woulda thought Brian Williams could take attention away from his recently famous daughter who did live-train-wreck “Peter Pan” on NBC and whose character does most of the stunt-sex on the “Girls” program on Home Box? But he did it! 

It’s like this; Brian Williams is (was) Television News Reader, and the top of that food chain is Anchor. You read the news for 20 years or whatever and become a Respected Authority, and then you get assisted suicide on your cush job, like Dan Rather did, or you retire and die with Respect. News.

However, Mr. Williams has already firmly established he’s a fucking clown, and NBC News didn’t care. I guess they figured if he showed up on Jimmy Fallon some people who watch would be inspired to sit in front of a television at 6 p.m. to watch teevee news? Does that make any sense? I think the News should be serious, man, and if I was in charge of Brian Williams, I woulda told him to act like he is a Respected Authority on reading the News off a TelePrompTer and cut out this college crapola. Leave that for somebody else, man. Grow the fuck up, otherwise I can’t take anything coming out of your mouth seriously, I don’t care if you are expressing yourself, you are Representing a Serious thing! News! But Brian doesn’t care about that, he is a Performer, not a News person, that’s why he showed up in that “The Interview” movie—which I am still trying to get through, oy vey—so now, after this Helicopter bullshit? I would fire Brian Williams so hard from reading the News to America, but sure, OK, at the very least, Brian Williams should pay a tax for this. Like in the Cop Movies, when somebody fucks up. I hope he got yelled at by his boss and hadda turn in his Credentials and his Blackberry or whatever Serious News Readers use to do their News-ing, like that ear thing where somebody tells him what to say, and he should totally take the time to reflect on what he really wants, so maybe we’ll see him again on Jimmy Fallon, or the next “Peter Pan” show, and not reading the News.


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