Sunday, March 26, 2006


This was definitely spooky, Bush. We had woken early and were watching CBS Sunday Morning, which starts at six o'clock in the morning hereabouts--too early, usually, for our taste, but George the dog had decided this was the day to get us out of bed for a timely walk and breakfast. Anyway, it's always a nice show so we decided to switch on and watch it over a quiet cup of tea. A good piece on the Hassidic reggae singer from Brooklyn, and another on the Dada exhibition that just opened at the National Gallery in Washington. (You should take the time to see that one, Bush: in case you might not remember, that feisty, sometimes scurrilous art movement came out of the horrors of the first World War and the virulently anti-war sentiment in nourished among artists.)

Then came an editorial piece about humor and religion (sorry, I was not quick enough to catch the name of the editorialist, but she was calm, balanced, effective.) She had an interesting topic, too, in the light of those world-wide riots following the publication of cartoons, in Denmark, caricaturing the prophet Mohammed. All went well until she got to a discussion of the "South Park" gulling of Scientology and its chief celebrity proponent, the actor Tom Cruise. Just as she got to the meat of the matter--and presumably a couple of relevant clips from the cartoon itself--the screen went green, and the images substituted by a verbal "THIS IS A ONLY A TEST" message which lasted only long enough to block out the better part of her argument.

It's not that I'm a suspicious soul by nature, Bush, but the timing was just too convenient--and the production quality of the blocking message just a bit too unprofessional, too un-network-ilke--to believe that this was anything but an intrusion by a person or persons other than the broadcaster. Definitely spooky. Does this have something to tell us about the reach of Scientology, and about their determination to suppress any hint of criticism? Does it have something to tell us, too, about the technological vulnerability of even the network broadcast media to anyone with the skill and the will to manipulate thier product?

I'm wondering if there will be any follow-up on this. Was the intrusion only in our area? Was anyone else as spooked as me, or did everyone just accept this timely interruption as an inconsequential media glitch? I thought I might put in a call to the local CBS station to inquire. I'll let you know if I find out anything of interest. Meantime, Bush, have a good Sunday. I'm not about to make fun of YOUR religion. Not this morning. After all, someone might be watching me.


dennis said...

P: See? The suspicion of conspiracy comes out in all of us. Why? Because they do exist and we are right to consider evil doings, always.

PK said...

Well, I have to agree with Dennis. While I wasn't watching it, my own suspicions would tell me that it was well planned. I've watched other shows like that where the best was just about to be said when all of a screen or a commercial comes on. You would think the US would get tired of this nonsense and pitch a hissy. But no, the apathy is so strong at this point, I doubt anything will be done. By the time the 3 years are up no one will recognize the US or any parts of it.

Richard B. said...

Peter -

My wife and I were watching, and we didn't see anything unusual at all. We do however get a black box that randomly and at irregular times covers a fairly large portion of the screen on just one of our TV's. If we change the channel, it goes away. Very strange.