When I was a boy, Saturday morning cartoons were a thing. There were no cartoon channels, no every day any day any time access to cartoons, but instead they were all packed into the early morning hours one day a week, on Saturday, when our parents were sleeping in and grateful for distractions that would give them an extra hour or two of rest. So we’d scamper out of bed, fetch ourselves a bowl of sugar-frosted chocolate sugar bombs, and lounge about glassy-eyed watching cats and ducks explode. We weren’t totally vapid, though, we contemplated important questions. Like, why is this ancient Bugs Bunny cartoon so much better animated and funnier than this more recent dreck? Or, this cartoon about a toy seems to have segued into a commercial for the toy in the cartoon…what are boundaries? How do we define the edges of meaning in our existence?
But those days are no more. Now the cartoons have moved to Sunday morning as we get a parade of political pundits, rich old white guys, who sit around and babble about polls and suck up to other rich white guys who have polls done about them. The questions are still the same. I thought the old Hanna-Barbera crap was cheap, badly written, and tiresome, but these guys make them look like Tex Avery. I still wonder where the boundaries are: if rich white guys argue about whether a candidates polls will go up or down if they adopt policy X, is that the same as actually discussing policy X? Is declaring a candidate electable or unelectable identical to discussing the viability of their ideas?
Back when I was a kid, there was an afternoon shift into a different kind of entertainment, the horror matinee — rubber-suited Japanese monsters and 1950s era atomic monsters. We get that on Sunday morning, too.
Watch the eyes of these pundits: half of them are now terrified that their elitist dreams are being taken over by populist demagogues — I expect them to go all Ray Milland on us any day now, with eyeballs exploding all over the set. The other half, of course, are just counting their money and cackling over the stupidity of the American public.
I’ve also been developing a theory about Wolf Blitzer. That’s not his name, you know: that’s the name of the beard. Every couple of weeks, CNN executives pith a hobo and stuff his corpse into a suit, and then graft the Wolf Blitzer onto his face to animate the dead-eyed cadaver for another little while, until basic autonomic functions start to fade and the smell ripens, and then they just go get another one. Watching the zombies shuffle and moan on Sunday morning is just another way America endorses necromancy. I might start watching again when The Walking Dead gets around to that season where Rick and Michonne and Daryl and Carol and company stumble onto a series of broadcasting studios and deal with the walkers appropriately.
But not today. I did not finish my work yesterday, so I’m going to retire to my office and ignore the Sunday morning noise on the telly until I do. I have an excuse! You should find one, too.
Jeez. If you want to watch some white dorks go at it, you should at least insist that they be more theatrical.