Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Unpredictability Of Life . . . And Death

Hi everybody. Happy New Week! Sorry I've been an absent blogger lately. To be honest, I've just been tired. I don't think I've gotten a good night's sleep since I went into the hospital. See, I now have to wear this mask at night that's hooked up to a machine to help out with my breathing. It's similar to what people use to treat sleep apnea. I'm very much pro-breathing, but the problem is that my mask and my nose hate each other. It's like Sharks and Jets here, people. A battle takes place on my face every night and judging by the broken skin and swelling I discover each morning, the mask is winning. And this isn't the first mask I've tried. At the hospital they told me it usually takes people around three months to get adjusted to sleeping with it on, so there's that.

But hey, who needs sleep anyway, right? Well, according to last Sunday's 60 Minutes, all of us. Did you catch it? To use one of Anderson Cooper's favorite words, the report was fascinating. Apparently lack of sleep can cause all kinds of nastiness like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Researchers in the piece actually did a study where subjects were allowed just four hours of sleep per night and after only six nights of this they were found to be in a pre-diabetic state. Craziness! Kind of makes you think. Maybe with more research like this, in the future companies will have mandatory naps. You know, to benefit health. Hey, a girl can dream, right? (Um, pun partially intended.)

So I guess I'm probably about the last person to weigh in on the untimely death of Tim Russert. I actually was never much of a Meet the Press watcher because on Sunday mornings I'm either in church or, um, sleeping in. But Russert was such a titan on the political scene that he's going to leave a hole even non watchers will notice. I have to say, though I respected the man as someone who had worked his way to becoming a stalwart of a business that routinely chews up and spits out people right and left, his interview style really wasn't for me. While surfing the Internets today I was trying to think of how to explain this tactfully, when I came across a post from Gawker of all places (via Eat the Press), which did it for me:
In 1991, he took over Meet the Press and quickly became one of the most important names in DC journalism. His journalistic style was a civil, well-read version of the GOTCHA that would take control of cable.
This could be an irritating style. Russert's specialty was pointing out a contradiction in a politician's vast record of spoken positions. Oftentimes this meant a descent into entirely useless minutiae. Though almost as often it was enlightening, or at least entertaining. It's certainly preferable to the Chris Matthews method of shouting whatever comes to mind, no matter how crazy. And Russert always knew his shit, even when you were fairly certain he was missing the point.
After watching some of the tribute coverage, it's clear that Russert was probably a much better human being than many of us realized or gave him credit for. I feel terrible for his family, specifically his son Luke. In fact, the first question that popped into my head upon learning of his death was, "did he have kids?" When I was about the same age as Luke, I lost my own dad in about the same way, so I know how much it sucks. He's lucky to have those books though. When someone close to you dies, you often hear a lot of platitudes that aren't really all that comforting, but something my pastor said to me stuck: "no one can take away the memories." Hopefully the Russert family will find comfort in their own memories.

Moving away from the depressing, hey, let's talk about devastating floods. Kidding. I'm getting a little nervous here, people. Because the water? It is a-coming! I actually don't expect to be personally affected by the flooding, but if it's anything like 1993, things around here are going to get pretty bad. Anyway, I bring it up because it was covered by 360 tonight in what was actually a well-rounded show. I'm shocked. We had politics, flood coverage, a reporter's notebook from Africa with Jeff Hutchens' beautiful pictures, and a gay marriage debate. Variety! It's the spice of life, doncha know. Keep doing this, 360. I only have two specific things to say. Number one: Gary Tuchman what are you doing standing in water that deep?! And number two: I debated even mentioning this because of how interesting and heartfelt the Reporter's Notebooks are, but their delivery, on the dramatic scale, often falls on the "melo-" side.

Okay, so that's it for me tonight. Sorry for being all over the place. But hey, I told you I was tired. Hopefully something more snarkable will happen soon. What's Bush been up to lately . . . ?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous feedee said...

Eliza, sorry you're having such a rough time of it, but at least your razor sharp wit is still in tact.

I've never really watched Tim Russert, so the coverage of his death seemed a little excessive to me, but obviously he meant a lot to many in the media and his viewers. The sleep study is scary, because I never seem to get enough, ever, so I don't know what kind of disease is lurking within me because of it.

Yes, AC can get a little melodramatic with the RN's but for me they're so well done overall that I try to overlook that. He's developed his own distinct voiceover style and I guess it's just not going to appeal to everyone; I can already picture the critics with their knives out.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous feedee said...

Ok, something weird just happened to my previous post and I didn't do anything to cause it other than hit the Publish Your Comment button. It's linking to a very peculiar website.

2:48 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

Thanks feedee, I'll survive. Yeah, I thought the Russert coverage was a little excessive too. Obviously he was a big enough figure that a fair amount of coverage was warranted, but I think it was also evidence of the media bubble taking over.

I feel a little bad about criticizing the RN's, but I actually pointed it out because of the critics. Despite all of Anderson's globe-trotting, there's always people out there just waiting to call him the shallow emo-anchor and I think sometimes the RN's give them ammunition. That being said, I do like them and am probably partly having a reaction to all the sycophantic fawning from some of the fans.

1:35 AM  

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