I’m going to start this post by saying that I have nothing interesting at all to say about the manhunt and subsequent capture Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — like most people, I was glued to my television. Like most people, I felt like I was watching a particularly good action movie. Today, I have this weird sense of time reversed, as if the Boston bombings were just a preview of what might have happened had the police not caught the subjects. The sad thing is that the bombings were a real event — but cable news has so effectively turned tragedies into entertainment that it’s impossible to separate what’s real from what’s been manufactured unless you are actual participant.
On the way home from a friend’s house, where Caleb and I watched the final hours of the chase, we turned on NPR. The segment airing at the moment, only a few minutes after Obama’s speech, was about the way the media covered the event. There was a lot of talk about how much time should have been devoted to the coverage in comparison to other news — and whether or not its irresponsible to heighten people’s emotions by reporting events as they unfold in real time, without first verifying all of the facts.
One thing that I’ve noticed a lot lately, and not just in connection to the bombings, is how much the media writes about itself. I would say that 20% of the coverage I saw in The New York Times, the New Yorker, NPR and other intellectual media outlets was about how the event was being reported. Here’s the thing. It doesn’t fucking matter. Maybe a good article could be written in the weeks after the event about the meaning of it all. But the truth is that people were enraptured by the event — if NPR or any of these other fucking outlets had stopped reporting on it, the general public would have just changed the station. It’s what people wanted to hear about, not because they were being manipulated by big businesses, but rather, because it was a fucking excellent story.
Not to mention that by reporting on the reporting, NPR was doing exactly what it was concerned about — not reporting things that actually mattered, like the fires in Texas, or, I don’t know, gun control, or the war in Syria. Or fucking Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Listening to them talking about wasting time, while wasting time, I wanted to walk into the studio, stand in front of the host, tilt my head, and say, “Are you fucking serious?”
When I lived in Buenos Aires, I did so in the house of an Argentinian woman who was a professor at Berkeley. She had many opinions about why Argentinians were better than Americans — bewilderingly, I thought, considering that she had chosen to live in San Francisco. Even saying that she lived in America would make her infuriated. “You mean in the United States,” she said.
She was an insecure woman.
She was supposed to apartment swap with me — I was to live in her aerie in San Telmo while she lived in my apartment in Brooklyn. But when I arrived, she lingered, heartsick over a much older man who had taken up with another woman.
Our relationship quickly turned from friendly to hostile. I came to Buenos Aires to be completely freed from the constraints of social obligations. I didn’t want to make small talk. I didn’t want to get stuck at any dinners, counting the minutes before I could excuse myself. I didn’t want a roommate turning down the heat when I stayed too long in the bath. I was tired. I had been depressed for years without even knowing it. My stomach frequently hurt from stress — often, I’d be walking down the street, and a jab of pain would shoot up my chest, forcing me to hunch over.
It’s no secret that I love Kim Kardashian. I love her so much I made a nickname for her: Kimmy K. I love her so much, I check her Instagram up to 50 times a day. I love her so much that if she doesn’t leave the house, I know it, and want to call 311 in New York to ask them why.
I know that my love of Kimmy K is irrational. I know I’m supposed to say that she’s vapid. I know I’m supposed to say she does nothing. I know I’m supposed to be like, “oh my god, isn’t it weird that Kimmy K makes half of her money from, like, making appearances in Arabic countries that are oppressive to women?” I know that I’m supposed to get angry when Kimmy K has an entire hour of television devoted to her online shopping habits. But I can’t help myself, and the truth is, I don’t want to.
I made the mistake of buying the first episode of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s new television series, “The Bible,” the other day. I say mistake because I thought we were signed in to Caleb’s iTunes account on our television — which would have meant the show was a freebie — but rather, we were signed into mine. So I ended up wasting not only an hour of my life, but also $2.99, which when you eat mostly from the bodega, can really go a long way. For instance, with $2.99, you can buy a valuable bag of sunflower seeds and an added bonus can of Diet Dr. Pepper.
I’ve already watched the Charlton Heston Bible miniseries. And Ben Hur. And basically every other Bible show you can watch around Easter. I even read the Bible as a historical document, in an attempt to sound knowledgeable in a religious studies class I took at Brown that somehow revolved around 20th century American white male literature.
What I mean to say is that I already knew every fucking thing that was going to happen in the first episode of the miniseries, at least in terms of narrative — what I was hoping for was some hot bitches wearing caftans and having sex with Abraham in an artfully decorated desert hovel, to give me a new perspective on the whole situation. The show was a real disappointment in that sense — the production value was low, and the bitches were busted. Not busted, per se, but definitely not like “Ben Hur” hot, you feel me?
Anyway, what really struck me, for the first time, watching this particular iteration, was that if you’re looking at Abraham from the perspective of 21st century society, then it’s pretty easy to decipher why he could talk to God and shit. Abraham, you see, was clearly a paranoid schizophrenic.
Just in case you’ve never read the Bible, here’s how the story of Abraham goes.