September 17, 1997
Dear Mr Wonderful,
So many famous and truly important people are dying nowadays, many of whom have been mentioned in your column of late. While it saddens me to witness the passing of people such as Mother Theresa, Princess Diana, and Jaques Cousteau, to name but a few, it does raise a question in my head.
So many people are born every day, many of whom will no doubt grow to be important in one way or another. Why is it that we must mourn the passing of important people, but we do not celebrate the births of those who will be important in their steads? Surely this would make TV news shows more uplifting, if they focused on little babies and all their potential.
C. Gunnysworth, Jr.
Dear Dr. Skinner,
Well, the problem is obviously one of separating the wheat from the chaff, innit? Can't just go around celebrating everyone's potential because a lot of those pink, squalling things have the potential to become Kathy Lee Gifford, too.
The workings of fate are a mystery. Breeding is no guide (witness Emilio Estevez), nor is circumstance (witness anyone born in the inner-city who isn't torching Beverly Hills right now). We become what we become because it is what we already were tomorrow. You can't ask Dan Rather to say that with a straight face.
In fact, why is it that you want to be uplifted by the TV news anyway? You want uplifting, get a gondola ride. Let the news shock, terrify and disgust. Let it encourage dissent and outrage. Let it inform on its superiors and incite to riot. The news should be angry, callous, disturbing. It should compel action. It should be heterogenous, conflicting and contentious. Watch it and burn! It's not entertainment, it's not passivity, it's a spiky ramrod of new things, new information, new mindsets! When the news is over, you should turn off the TV and run wild in the streets, ready to change things. Be unsettled. Be confused. Be activated. The news should make you new.
Mr. Wonderful's birth was heralded by twin comets and a sky the color of blood. Also, three exotic dancers stopped by, looking for directions.