Screeds

Get out of my face, captive media!

Wolf Blitzer

So I'm headed from SFO to Vegas and there's this little screen right in front of my face. I'm used to that. It doesn't bother me very much. I mean, I don't like it, but I can live with it. Up to a point. Just like I don't particularly freak out about the fact that wherever you go in just about every airport you have to see frickin' Wolf Blitzer bolted to the ceiling. 

Now I'm on the plane. On the little screen as we taxi away from the gateway is the safety film that we're all supposed to watch and nobody does. It's very, very long, covering just about everything but how to use the air sick bag. I remember when the job was done by the flight attendants (as it still mostly charmingly is on Southwest). Now they've got a film that's as long as The Avengers -- and man, that was LONG. Then, when it's done, they start it all over again in Spanish. That's a funny thing, too, because it's the same exact film with a Spanish voice over, yet suddenly all the people in the film who looked so all-American before now suddenly appear to be Spanish.

But wait. There's more. When the massively comprehensive safety features are over, we get a bunch of commercials about all the things you can do in Las Vegas. "They're showing us a bunch of commercials," I say to the woman in the next seat. "Yeah," she says, and looks at me like I'm crazy to be complaining about. Maybe I am. But as Ren Hoek used to say, "No, sir. I don't like it." 

In the elevator up to my hotel room, a small TV set displays a naked woman getting a massage. The message is that I could be that naked woman if I make an appointment. There is also a clip of a massive sworl of spaghetti being twirled onto a fork. People at a table are smacking their lips. Those could be my lips that are smacking, if I would only respond to the message being beamed directly into my face.

When I get into the room the television is on, tuned to the hotel channel. Tigers. Penn and Teller. People eating. Naked people being lathered up. Whatever. At least I can turn it off. I do.

Now it's later and I'm leaving Las Vegas. I'm sitting in the executive lounge reserved for people who must fly too much to retain their sanity. There is no corner of the club where you can't hear a television. Wolf Blitzer is on again. The room is empty except for me and this one guy who is working on his PC. "You mind if I turn this off?" I ask him. "You look like you're working."

"No, man," he says. "Be my guest." I turn it off. The room is silent, except for the very small burble somewhere of Wolf Blitzer.

"Ah," says the guy. "That's nice."

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