Friday, June 28, 2013

Aaron Hernandez Is Not, Actually, Good TV

Two fairly small asides on a case that I really hope I don't feel compelled to discuss too often...

First, inde- pendent of the merits of the case involving ex-Patriots tight end and burgeoning murder suspect of everyone Aaron Hernandez... just how little do you have to have going on in your life to go down to a court house to protest the innocence of a celebrity?

Honestly, what exactly do you think you are going to accomplish here, other than maybe getting yourself on the tee vee to confirm the worst stereotypes about your demographic class? You are not going to influence the jury; those people are getting shunted off by security and will never, ever see you. The attorneys involved will pay as much attention to you as ball players might to tail gaters. Even if you someone get yourself into the court room, you are either going to sit quietly or you are going to be removed. There is not now, nor has there potentially ever been, a court case where the crowd outside shouting for the benefit of local television news crews has had an impact on, well, anything. Wait for the verdict, then riot, if you feel so strongly about this.

And oh by the way... why, exactly, do you feel so strongly about this? Hernandez does not play for the Patriots anymore. Your Hernandez game jersey is not going to regain its cachet. If he skates on this charge, he's going to go down on some other one, and he will not come outside and pass out hundreds to all of the loyal boys and girls. The only people who should have any cause to be at this thing are the people who are getting paid to be there, and the relatives of the victim and defendant. (And as a dark aside... they are all getting paid too.) I get that unemployment is high and being on television is a motivation for people without goals, but have some pride. Stay the hell home.

Secondly, a columnist discussing the coverage today went into the details of how the local sheriff is becoming something of an ESPN star with his candid and detailed answers to riveting questions about prison diets and procedures. You see, unlike the principals, the sheriff is actually answering questions and giving information, and seems to care about being a good interview! And it's such good TV!

And, well... what ratchets through my mind is the same thing that whips through whenever I'm engaged in the consideration of any truly regrettable human being, and in this case, it's not the warden. It's the journalist. Both on TV and on screen.

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in apprehension how like a god!

Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2. Because every time it goes through my mind, I feel a little sizzle of smug happiness, that I know the quote and haven't forgotten it even in my advancing years... and despite the fact that I keep giving my mind the soft food of junk journalism, it might still have something approximating teeth.

So, for the record: the Aaron Hernandez trial is not good TV.

It's a multi-level tragedy, and a train wreck, and a mirror reflection of the worst aspects of American life. Good TV is better written, takes less time, and doesn't involve people with no lives whooping because they are on camera.

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