I was watching CNN tonight as I have quite often over the last few months. It has a certain classiness that it maintains, and I tend to believe there isn't too much of a bias. That said, I bet if I put a level on my TV while CNN was on it would probably show a slight lean to the left just a teensy bit.
But the quibble reported regarding President-Elect Obama (that sounds nice, doesn't it?) came out of left field and made me feel ... well ... less than.
Campbell Brown, before cutting to commercial, told viewers: "We have a special report on the backstage photos from Obama's election night suite that you won't want to miss. Critics believe they aren't all that they seem to be."
Okay. I'll bite. I want to know what's up because I took a cursory glance at the photos online and thought they were a nice set of shots. They showed a few pics that seemed as candid as the most public man in America can be. They featured his family and entourage at the hotel he was staying at on election day, as well as backstage at the park where he gave his acceptance speech. I didn't notice anything weird, but I didn't stare at them very long.
So, we come back from commercial and she introduces one of the hundreds of spare reporters that have flooded the airwaves trying to make the same news seem fresh and exciting by having a different set of lips read from a TelePrompTer.
He shows us the photos again. There's Obama with his mother in law; Obama with his daughters; Obama with his wife; Obama with his running mate; Obama sitting at the edge of his couch; and Obama embracing his campaign strategist.
The reporter then tells us that he has a sneaking suspicion that the photos were Photoshopped. He is suspicious because there is a glaring omission from the tables in the room. Something's not right. There's no way that this could possibly be how it happened because ... because ...
... because there's no booze anywhere!
What the fuck?
The suit tells us (with an air of smugness that was almost sickening) that he suspects the Obama campaign wants us to believe that "... they were celebrating his victory with nothing but bottles of Evian."
How unimaginable. How inappropriate. How simply un-American.
It was a short piece. And as Campbell took the helm from the reporter and brought the attention back to herself she agreed with him by stating: "Not on such a momentous occasion as this?"
And this is what I'm up against. Not to be too dramatic, because I'm not really at a loss due to this one piece, but it speaks volumes to a pervasive and disingenuous attitude in America: the belief that you can't celebrate unless your drink contains ethyl alcohol. It insinuates that you can't truly mark an auspicious occasion if you don't introduce something into your bloodstream that wasn't there when you woke up in the morning.
This is ridiculous. This is unfortunate. And this is a sad reminder that just avoiding your vices by ignoring them isn't enough. Because you can keep out of bars; you can walk on the other side of the street from the package store; you can follow the rules set forth from whatever self-help group you belong to down to the letter; but when you least expect it a ball can come flying at you out of left field and smack you square in the jaw and make you wonder if you're not living up to your potential.
No, I have found that to successfully stay true to the life I desire I have to walk right through these dark alleys and let that which was my undoing splash and sputter on me. I have to let it soak into my cuffs and bring the muck home at the end of the day. And that's the only way I know I'm going to remember that it's everywhere, all the time, and it's not going to ever let up.
But I still can't understand why it seems impossible to the point that an actual, credible (loose interpretation) newscaster claims that he thinks there was a cover-up to portray a dry green room on the night of the election? How could anyone celebrate this occasion without a drink (though I would love to see pics from the McCain camp in Phoenix from that same night for comparison).
All I know is that this country is currently in dire straits. People's lives are in shambles. And all it would take to drive someone off the edge of staying sober might possibly be to see someone who they idolize partaking in what they wish they could once more. Maybe, as the son of an alcoholic father, Barack Obama understands the power of suggestion. Perhaps he realizes the example he is setting in so many ways, and so he asked for no alcohol to be allowed behind the closed doors of his suite. It's not a ridiculous prospect. I know plenty of top level stars who do exactly that; it's more common that one might imagine.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to preach. I'm not saying it's a bad think if he drinks. I don't think drinking is inherently bad, wrong, or otherwise negative--I simply had enough and had to stop.
I'm just amazed that the press could be reduced to accusing him or his team of trying to hide it from our eyes. Because then that really would be the sign of a problem.
You see, change comes in many forms. Sometimes we see it when it's plainly there, sometimes we see the negative space that it must inhabit ...
... and sometimes, it's right there smack dab in front of us, but we don't recognize it because it's so foreign and unfamiliar.
Must be a slow news day.
Thanks for reading.
Photos courtesy of David Katz/Obama for America