Monday, June 11, 2012

You Won't Believe What They Did With This One Simple Trick

My morning media feed is remarkably old-school.   I wake to the radio.  After poking my head into the rooms of the boys to make sure they're underway, I shamble to the kitchen to make coffee.  From there, I pad in stocking feet out the driveway to snag the paper, which I then read with the first drippings of the aforementioned coffee.

I like the paper, dying media though it may be.  One of the things that I most like about it?  The headlines.   Why?

Because they respect my having a brain.   I can skim over the paper, taking in the basic data about a range of issues.  If something seems interesting, I go deeper.

Other media?  Not so much.  When my radio drags me into consciousness in the morning at 6:30 AM, the headlines that begin the half-hourly newscast aren't really headlines.  When I get online, that seems only to expand, as the market ethos and the competitive, profit-driven demand for eyeballs only increases.   Instead of headlines, I get teasers.  They tell you nothing, batting their eyelashes as coyly as a geisha from behind a veil.  They leave out the essence of the data, and instead demand that you 1) continue to listen through the commercial breaks, 2) click through to the article, or 3) read more "after the jump," the "jump" being "your eyes forced to leap over the catchy little ad that pays the bills, baby."

Some days, I just ignore it.  On others, it bugs me.   It seems condescendingly manipulative whenever I encounter it.  And yet the teaser spreads, more and more deeply into our culture.

I wonder if out there somewhere, there's a modern bible that uses that same approach to titling units of tradition, pericopes, and other assorted teachings.

  • 2 Samuel 11:1-5:  "The king and a beautiful married woman?  What the palace authorities don't want you to know."
  • Psalm 23: "In the valley of the shadow of death, only this will help."
  • Isaiah 61:1-11: "You won't believe what the Lord's going to do for us with this one easy trick."
  • Matthew 5:1-11:  "Are you among the blessed?  More following the jump."

Somewhere, I'm sure someone has already come up with that idea...and thought it was a good one.