By John Matonich
When I was growing up, whether we knew it or not, there were a number of traditions in our house. Supper was at 4:30 p.m. Not dinner, that was at 11:30 a.m. We all sat at the kitchen table together. There weren’t any trays in front of the TV and while there was a small black and white TV in the kitchen. It wasn’t turned on until supper was over. The time was spent catching up on the activities of the day or making fun of a sibling until Dad gave you the eye. The table in the dining room was only used when relatives came over or if it were a major holiday. Since Dad had a plaque on the wall that said “Relatives and Fish STINK after Three Days,” we didn’t see many relatives. Even if some showed up, Dad would simply stand by his plaque while folks were visiting and polish it with his elbow. I guess I wouldn’t call him a politician.
Once our supper was over, we typically moved to the living room and turned on the news. My Dad was a news junkie. Whether it was the local AM radio station in the morning and at noon or the local paper that usually showed up by 3:30 or the news at 6 and 10 on TV, he was typically listening reading or watching. I guess it rubbed off on me as well. I remember watching Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. They would tell us about the Vietnam War or the economy or national politics. The one common thread then is that it was obvious they were reporting the news, not making the news. I can’t say that anymore and my taste for watching TV news is about gone.
I still enjoy reading the paper even if it may be online. If an article starts heading down the “let me tell you what you should think” path, I can simply stop reading and go on to the comics or some other far more intelligent writing. That is hard to do when the tube is on and some newscaster starts spewing their view of some news event. If their view was truly important, my guess is they wouldn’t be reading from a teleprompter but would be on staff of some think-tank sitting in a room with pitcher of spring water and a pad of paper solving the world’s problems. It almost appears that many (if not most) newscasters get bored reporting about the cat saved from the tree so they have to interject that even though all turned out well, the rescuer of the cat could have been an anti-cat person and it could have turned out much worse. Good grief, I will be sure to tune in tomorrow to see if any people could have been pushed off a pier.
I miss the days when news was reported and not made. We still bought the products advertised and didn’t need to be scared or worry about folks. There was a time for a newscaster to tell us his or her thoughts, but it was billed as their “opinion” not their reality.
I probably need to wrap this up as even though I don’t have a Samsung Galaxy S7, I do have an iPhone 6 and it certainly could possibly burst into flames and burn the keyboard it is next to and I would lose this could-be-award-winning-work.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.