In a vain attempt to not only not watch the "State of the Union" Address but to put its existence out of my mind, I'm trying to track down more information regarding some of the most interestingly wacky television I've seen in quite some time. About ten days ago (yeah, I know, very timely) I'm watching a repeat of a ABQ City Council meeting from the previous week (the 18th of January). Yes, it's an exciting life around here.
Anyway, I'm just bouncing around channels, half paying attention, when I recognize the speaker addressing the council as the star of one of those interestingly wacky shows on the home of ABQ wacky TV, Channel 27. In fact, it's a Channel 27 star that I consider an acquaintance, and my acquaintance is saying the most interesting things about the leadership at Channel 27. Things like "he (Channel 27 Head Honcho Guy) is a pathological liar".
I'm definitely hooked after that line, and for the next 20 minutes or so I watch as some sort of dysfunctional non-profit Shakespearean tragedy plays out, but with microphones instead of swords. I learn that Acquaintance Star is no longer with the station, that he used to be on the board, but the board is corrupt and he's gone. I hear the phrase "Attorney General's Office" alot from him and others who feel the same way.
Then I see Marvin Gladstone, another person I know very indirectly, and he's pretty steamed. He's on the board of "Quote, Unquote" (who runs the station) and, in an increasingly florid face, tells the Council that acquaintance star and all the others board dissers are stating nothing but fabrications. One definitely gets the feeling that Marvin wishes he could cuss more while he's publicly reaming out the board haters.
Then some skinny guy who evidently is Head Honcho Guy gets up and explains that those opposing him were all doing a lousy job and were gonna get fired anyway. He says the "Attorney General's Office" is not investigating the station and implicitly seems to indicate that everyone who disagrees with him is a whack job.
Man, it was better than anything Channel 27 has run in years, and I'm a pretty faithful viewer. I regularly bother the living Bejesus out of my wife as I force her to share the joy of watching the washed out pastel colors of videotape gone bad on shows like "Naked Man" starring Don Schrader, and "Free Speech Television". My personal favorite (now that I never see "Otto the Mechanic" anymore) is the show where the slightly beyond middle-aged couple wear headphones and play oldies records. That's it. The camera just stays on the slightly beyond middle-aged couple. And they play records. God I love that. It makes you wish you were there for the idea brainstorming meeting:
Slightly Beyond Middle-Aged Person (SBMAP) #1:"Channel 27 needs a music show."
SBMAP #2: "Yeah, a music show. How about an oldies show? Elvis and stuff?"
SBMAP #1: "Oldies, yeah. I like oldies."
SBMAP #2: "Oldies, definitely oldies, but how best to visually convey the greatness of those tunes?"
SBMAP #1: "HEY, I'VE GOT IT!"
SBMAP #2: "What?"
SBMAP #1: "We get a camera to just show us playing the songs. The songs are so great people will want to watch us listening to them, just listening to them one after another in a seamless one-shot of us humming the songs while we look for the next one!"
SBMAP #2: "I'm liking it, I'm liking it! We could even take requests."
SBMAP #1: "Perfect! Requests, oldies, camera showing us listening. Let's get Channel 27 on the phone pronto!"
Another reason I loved the whole City Council dysfunction-fest was probably because I worked Public Access in the 1980s back in Texas. After a few years in grad school working nights running taped shows (a job already replaced by a computer in most places), I elevated to a massive annual salary of $12,000 "directing" a bizarre mix of programming, including a weekly gospel show called "Hope For Troubled Times". Oh, the things we holders of Poly Sci Master's Degrees have to do for real employment.
And the last reason I loved watching the festivities (besides the human behavior car-crash porn aspect of watching people call each other liars in public) was that I continue to marvel at the high percentage of politically Lefty non-profits who are every bit as screwed up as the "evil" profit corporations they endlessly eschew. Can I get a head nod from those of us who have worked in these environments? Are they not some of the most dysfunctional, mind-warpingly unbalanced places in which to spend daylight hours possible? I've worked both sides of the almighty dollar fence, and it's been my experience that the most egocentric, abusive, and generally batty people have been my bosses on the non-profit side.
So the whole scene was just a big carthartic fruit medley for me with car crash fixation icing. And the problem is that I've looked and looked, and besides a quickie mention in the Alibi from two weeks ago I see nothing about the story. Nothing.
And tonight I'm guessing most of the local TV and newspapers outlets are probably gonna have some report about this "State of the Union" thing. Like we should care about that when there was far more riveting TV in our own town just a few days back. If the people only knew. Oh well, at least I can count on one station in town to show something more substantial than the President mentioning 9/11 3,657 times. I'm going to see if those slightly beyond middle-aged people are on Channel 27 spinning records.