donderdag, januari 09, 2003

CNN's Gettin Jiggy

From the almost-too-stupid-to-be-true department, the Daily News' Phyllis Furman reports that according to an internal Headline News memo obtained by the Daily News, CNN Headline News is encouraging its onscreen personas to consult with a hip hop slang dictionary and begin peppering their newscasts with such slang in order to rope in younger viewers.

If fully implemented, in the future we might be listening to the World Bombing And War News broadcast in Stuart Scott's, unintelligible, patois pidgin English street vernacular. Perhaps this is a premeditated effort to make the repetitious cycle of the same news repeated a thousand times over and over a little more interesting. Or, perhaps it is an effort to make the news so incomprehensible we wont have any information to protest against when we don't like it.

In any case, I like the idea but I don't think they should stop there. I think that in addition to using hip hop slang to report the news, the broadcasters themselves should be replaced with crack whores reading cartoonish gangstah rap while shooting up the studio with their AK47s to give the broadcast a little "urban credibility". Why not have the unique chance to see Wolf Blitzer break dance a report from Baghdad or Sachi Koto spray paint the news on the windshields of automobiles parked in the CNN headquarters parking lot, or even the insatiable Robin Meade cuttin' and scratchin' her way through stories on starvation in Ethiopia?

Hell, why bother with the news at all? If CNN really wants to grab the ratings they can just turn the entire network into Hip Hop Central, hire A.W.O.L. to perform their unique futuristic Detroit player style for us 24 hours a day instead of the news and turn world news into a great house party.

Now, the funny thing to me is that at the same time CNN plans on broadcasting in indecipherable hip hop slang, The Guardian reports that the Arabic satellite television station al-Jazeera, has begun experimental broadcasts using English subtitles in the US to try to expand its influence and revenues.

In what may be a related news item and perhaps a sign of the future, the Christian Science Monitor reports that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said it was considering replacing CNN with Al Jazeera, the idea being, according to Ihron Rensburg, a spokesman for SABC, that "We owe it to the public of South Africa to provide the widest range of views and opinions as events unfold." Frankly, a Hip Hop CNN would be about as wide a range of views and opinions as hooking up the brain of Jerry Falwell to a teleprompter.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported mounting evidence of Al Qaeda's presence in South Africa, and quoted Gideon Jones, the FBI-trained former head of the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the South African Police Force, as saying South Africa is "a perfect place to cool off, regroup, and plan your finances. The communications and infrastructure are excellent ... and our law enforcement is overstretched." There was no mention of it being the perfect place for mackin' and doing a megablast of crack.

Clearly, CNN has really got it all wrong about this hip hop slang and how to speak to their younger viewers. Maybe they should take a page from Al-Jazeera and begin to broadcast with English subtitles. After all, even in a great vernacular like hip hop, there just isn't enough hate-mongering Jihadist slang to hold our attention any more.

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