|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Nov. 15, 2015 - 6:07 a.m.
One of the great truisms about working in media is that it is suffused with black humor (as opposed to black humorists, a very different phenomena). Particularly if there is a newsroom involved. For the most part this is not a canard, at least in my experience. It's a business that requires quick and non-stop ad libbing, and off the air we talent often have fun trying to top each with how outrageous we can be. Partly because it keeps us sharp, but mostly it's because we're all a bunch of assholes who went into this business after no one else would employ us once they discovered our predilection for saying outrageous things without thinking.
It's pretty much a given that a lot of the stuff we talk about among ourselves, the stuff we'd never be allowed to use on-air, is horrible. I mean, stuff that would make Donald Trump blush horrible. "Inappropriate" or "insensitive" doesn't even begin to describe the average conversation we have in the halls. I guess I could blame it on empathy fatigue, particularly as many of us work in news and are bombarded day after day after day with no-stop stories of disasters and inhumanity to the point where we're completely desensitized. But really...we're just a bunch of assholes who don't give a fuck. That's why we're here.
So in the spirit of that day when we watched the planes crash into the World Trade Center from across the river and one of my colleagues immediately remarked "I wonder what OJ's defense will be THIS time" I present:
The Paris bombing.
Oh, stop your groaning. I can hear you from here. Just un-follow me if you think it's that bad. But in my defense (as if there could be any, or as if I wanted one) these are not my lines. I'm just passing them on.
Anyway, the Paris bombing.
As I mentioned, life in the media is permeated with inappropriateness. We joke about anything, with bonus points for quickness. And we're damn good at it.
But I gotta tip my hat to my buddy in California who has us all beat. (I'm not gonna mention his name because, y'know, death threats, and ISIS lone wolfs, and all that.)
My buddy is a non-media (ie: respectable) guy who has a lovely wife, a couple of kids, a lawn, and a generally nondescript American suburban existence filled with dinner parties and PTA meetings and spreadsheets and nylon socks with sandals and trips to Disneyland with the kids.
And he's got the wickedest, quickest sense of humor of anyone I've ever met. And I'm a pro. I mean, a few months ago we had a dead baby joke-off, and he won! That has NEVER happened to me before.
So I wasn't surprised when about 20 minutes after word of the Parisian massacre broke, before even the last victims heard their last "Allahu Akbar!", I saw this pop in my in-box:
Did you hear the French upped their terror alert level? Yup, from 'Run' to 'Hide'. (There's only two levels left: 'Surrender' and 'Collaborate'.)
How did they know one of the bombs went off near a cheese shop.
He wins again. Dammit.
I will say this, though. Since I wasn't at work when the mayhem hit the wire, it being the weekend, I have no idea if any of my colleagues would/could have topped this. It's possible I suppose, but I'm giving him the crown anyway. He's the one who actually came through with the goods. I didn't see anyone else texting me with a line.
Oh, and the other thing. Neither of us have anything against the French (other than maybe Celine Dion, who I know isn't actually French French, but still has that awful accent and sometimes sings in French. That's close enough). In fact, he spent some of his childhood there, and I...well, how could you not love a country that gave us their kissing, and ticklers? Vive la France!
But nothing is sacred. So France...sorry. But just like after 9/11 when "Saturday Night Live" went on the air with jokes mere blocks from the still smouldering rubble - Lorne Michaels famously asking "Can we be funny?" to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Giuliani replying "Why start now?" - we just can't repress it. No hard feelings. It's nothing personal. We're just assholes.
Especially my buddy in California.
And don't worry, France. Considering the extent to which countries are willing to cooperate with one another in order to fight a common enemy, in two weeks we'll probably be seeing a repeat performance in Barcelona or Antwerp or Naples or the Antarctic Research Station. The spotlight will be off you soon enough, mon chéri.
Ciao, kids. Or rather, ""au revoir"
What? Too soon...?