Real Husbands of Hollywood

A New Low for CNN

In my social circles there is a widespread superstition; that is to say, it’s widespread because, well, I helped spread it. We call it the CNN Test, and it’s based on the principle that for the last fifteen years at least, the CNN website will load as long as one has an internet connection. This was important during the days of deliberate DNS bottlenecks, a problem Comcast found it could resolve not by running more DNS servers, but through rolling brownouts and blackouts of service.

Yes, Comcast really is that low. Then again, we already knew that.

CNN, on the other hand, has had a terrible reputation for years, but nothing quite like that. However, the oft-shameful Cable News Network has achieved a new low of its own.

CNN.com's perpetual TV; website visitors are not allowed to pause the broadcast.We promised we weren’t singling out BET for thinking website readers actually wanted to watch television; our disdain is a personal thing, since publishers might as well start putting videos in e-books; why read a novel when you can watch actors portray it, or perhaps you might skip the whole literary pretense and watch Real Husbands of Hollywood, instead, right?

The broadcast in the corner of the web page is perpetual; the user cannot pause it.

A note to CNN: The “CNN Test” is now the only reason anybody I know ever goes to CNN.com. That is to say, they get their news from better sources, and you’ve reduced yourself to a network testing protocol.

Not Surprising

Screengrab of BET.com, 28 October 2014, showing something about the odd contrast between grave news and pop-culture advertising.

Sometimes, well, it just isn’t surprising. To wit, we are not surprised

• … that a small-time Republican state legislator in New Hampshire plagiarized a speech against marriage equality two years ago.

• … that a small-time Republican state legislator now running for Secretary of State is a Birther, and now she doesn’t want to talk about it.

The lovable Jennifer Rubin just hates  President Obama.• … Jennifer Rubin will take the word of the Iranian government if it means she can criticize President Obama by doing so.

• … the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer was “leaked”.

• … that more people are dead after another shooting.

• … or that Seattle has nothing on Chicago when it comes to deadly violence.

And we might also mention that we are not in the least surprised at the amount of unrelated various video websites want us to watch when we click in to read a news story. What’s that? An important news story? Here, we’ll autoplay “Chris Spencer’s Top 5”. Obviously, we’re out of the loop: Who is Chris Spencer? (Wait, wait, don’t tell me. Please.) Why do I care? (Again, I don’t.) And you’re seriously telling me there’s a show called Real Husbands of Hollywood? (Just stop already.) And, no, we’re not really singling out BET; this just happened to be the stark contrast at hand.

To the other, neither will we be surprised if we don’t try a “Not Surprising” list again in the future. These things just should not be thrown together on a moment’s notice.