I was watching the ‘news’ yesterday, while sitting at my desk. I know, I know. I have to stop. One, there is no ‘news’ anymore and two, it sucks. Not the ‘news.’ The people spewing it from their blow holes. The exaggeration, the moral outrage, the inability to articulate a logical though without interjecting personal feelings into informing the public of the day’s events…
But that’s not what bugged me about it. Like all ‘news’ organizations today, all the ‘news’ channels churned up something about nothing and made huge you-should-be-angy mountains out of non-existent mole hills. Rather than talk about the inauguration, a celebration of peaceful American power transfer (in this case, it didn’t transfer far) that should resonate to the whole world, every news organization was all abuzz about Beyonce’s lip-syncing to a pre-recorded version (HER recording, by the way) of the Star Spangled Banner and came up with quaint little story headings for it: “Beyonce-gate,” “Anthem-gate,” and “lip-gate.” Each news organization even had little graphics for their horribly unoriginal headline writing.
Witness the extent that the ‘news’ organizations in this country have fallen to the ranks of junior high school, muck-racking, boiler room pamphlets: This same day, a certain Secretary of State was testifying before both branches of Congress about a terrorist attack, record cold swept through the country, causing deaths and accidents (even to those who are STILL homeless and without power because of Hurricane Sandy), and Congress was also deciding on whether to raise the debt ceiling limit. My disgust for what ‘news’ organizations have become is a topic for another post. Believe me, I’ll have more than 1500 words for that article!
But, why must everything be a ‘-gate’ when something is considered a scandal? The word was meant to convey a far-reaching scandal. It was born after the Watergate scandal of the 1970’s break-in at the Watergate Complex where the Democratic Party had its headquarters (which makes me wish that the break-in had occurred at the Big Fucking Scandal Complex instead). We’ve had so many ‘-gates,’ they don’t mean anything more and the addition of ‘-gate’ just makes the organization using it look like a bunch of old idiots. You’d think that with a rush in this society to try to seem young and hip, they’d find a better way to mean “newsworthy item that may or may not be a scandal, but we’re going to shove it down your throat anyway, because our viewers are big, dumb idiots who don’t know any better.”
Since 1972 (during the Watergate break-in), there have been over 150 different ‘newsworthy’ events that have been dubbed a ‘-gate’ by news organizations. A sampling:
Tigergate – Tiger Woods’ infidelities led the press to call Tiger’s boning of other women a scandal, heightening the titillation, rather than just calling the whole thing a guy who got caught cheating.
Bountygate – New Orleans players were given bonuses to hurt other players. Cronkite would probably have called it rule breaking.
Slutgate – Rush Limbaugh’s comments that a young woman was a “slut” caused a stir. We would have just led Rush back into his pen and shut the GATE.
Nipplegate – the Super Bowl half-time malfunction, if that’s what you believe. Except no one saw it (there was a big metal pasty) and you couldn’t see it unless you stopped it and played it back slowly. Which is what every news organization and outraged citizen did for days on end.
As you can see, using ‘-gate’ doesn’t make it any more serious than if you called what it really was: a major fuck up where someone got caught doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. It’s time to retire the ‘-gate’ add-on and exercise our minds a little and replace it with something that doesn’t add unneeded weight to a story that wouldn’t have been worth the back page of a newspaper 10 years ago.
That is all for today.