SHAKING blog

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cuz I'm an Idiot


I have the mixed fortune of being a television news producer, and I was recently working on a story about about a plastic surgery addict. The young woman we profiled is 29 years old and she's had over 40 procedures. She started when she was barely out of her teens. She's spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and she's not done yet--she can't stop. She has the rubberized look of those life-size latex sex dolls, all bloated smooth surfaces and immobile features. Her forehead doesn't move, her lips are so bee-stung they look painful, her eyes look permanently stretched open. She looks like Barbie-Meets-Amanda-Lepore, with an orange spray-tan and peroxide-blond hair. It's sad. Or rather, it ought to be, to have so little self-esteem, and so little sense of perspective, and nobody to tell you to stop.

But it wasn't sad. The story just wasn't very good. And it wasn't very good, because she just wasn't a very sympathetic character. And the reason she just wasn't a sympathetic character is because she's just...a fucking idiot.

Her answers were consistently so stupid and thoughtless, I wondered if her brain ought to be studied for extreme smallness.
Anchorwoman: "Kim, you got an eyebrow life when you weren't even 25--before you'd even started aging. Why? Why the need to do that?"
Short pause. The semblance of what might be a polite smile if she could move her facial muscles.
Kim: "I don't now...I guess I just wanted one."

So we decided that it would be a much better story--certainly a more newsworthy story--if, as we were editing, we added on, at the end of each of Kim's answers, "...because I'm an idiot." For example: "I don't know, I guess I just wanted one, because I'm an idiot."

And gues what? It's such a much better story. The technique was so successful, I thought it might be tried on other stupid, unsympathetic characters. Like, for example, Karl Rove. Let's take a few sentences from Rove's speech last week--his first public statements in months--about this whole surveillance dealie, and see if this method makes it a little more newsworthy.

"Think how much has been achieved by our Republican Party in the last 40 years, because I'm an idiot. It has gone from a minority party with little influence to one that is broad and inclusive, self-assured and optimistic, forward-leaning and dominant, because I'm an idiot...More importantly, we have seen the rise of a great cause, because I'm an idiot. Three Republican Presidents and Republican Congressional majorities have achieved a tremendous amount in two-and-a-half decades, because I'm an idiot. The Cold War was won - and today we are winning the war against Islamic fascism, because I'm an idiot."

Pretty genius, eh??

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