Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sleepy Justice: Day One

Well, I am pretty sure who ever decided to put me on a jury didn't hear my hysterical laughter at slightly inappropriate moments. Nor did they see the strange glances that were shot at me all day long. I guess being dignified is not a prerequisite for serving on a jury.

All in all, my first day at the Downtown courthouse was quite nice, despite the fact that I got up at an ungodly hour. This is surprising considering how generally resistant and resentful I am to waking up early. I took the train for the first time, got to the courthouse early and started reading one of the books I had packed for the day. I was looking at the day as a mini-holiday from my office work and the mountain of laundry taking over my home.

I am one of those strange people who enjoys politics, world events and the news. I do not consider network or cable news to be real news, because a) I worked at a local TV/news station at one point and know what kind of people put the news together and b) cable news sucks. So you can imagine why I would look forward to someone else recognizing the crappiness of the state of the news.

The brilliant part was, as I was reading, CNN Headline News was on in the background. And almost every single topic that was mentioned in the book, was discussed on the news: airplanes (multiple, and all in FL) falling out of the sky (with bonus 911 call of hysterical woman); missing white woman; new words added to the dictionary; scary and vague warnings from government officials to put the fear of death in people; hot summer weather references; mention of ridiculous "Top Stories" from CNN website... I'm pretty sure the only things missing were the shark and hurricane stories. Although, there was that giant squid in Australia. What was the most popular story on the website at one point of the day? A woman who had lost 100+ pounds in less than a year. This was news on CNN!

Had I not been reading the book (which is funny and accurate as far as I can tell) I would have pulled my hair out and probably banged my head against the wall until they released dismissed me. As it was, I was erupting into peals of laughter at the most inappropriate times because I would catch whatever was on the 'news' as I was reading how it is NOT NEWS, complete with examples. It was almost as if someone at CNN had this book in their hand and was working off of it verbatim.

This is what got me the amused/dirty looks from people. Although I think it is tragic that a plane crashed into a residential area and killed people, I don't think it is national news that needs to be repeated every half hour along with the 911 call of a horrified woman. A young woman who was missing and has been found dead is tragic--to her family and perhaps the local community. How is that significant to the rest of the country? Nor do I take terror threats lightly, but Skelator warning me of impending doom based on his gut instincts is even more stupid than that color coded chart that Homeland Security came up with a few years ago. How could I not laugh at that? Especially because they do this all the time. They follow a ridiculous formula of crying 'Wolf', but are completely and utterly clueless and incompetent when it comes to real threats.

So long story short, I enjoyed the book. I finished it just before I was called to sit on a jury. The only problem was the repeated reference to 'slow news days'. How can there be a slow news day with these clowns in office, and the world in the state it's in? Perhaps if anyone bothered to discuss actual news (and people bothered to pay attention), we wouldn't have either problem.

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