Friday, October 12, 2007

Gossip v. News

I am no fan of the 24-hour newscycle.

By nature, it amplifies events that really aren't worthy of our collective attention in order to fill time and space. And it tends to extend the lifespan of those events well past their reasonable expiration date. The end result is that news devloves into mere gossip. And gossip miraculously morphs into news.

Take, for example, Kobe Bryant.

Unless you've been searching for Osama Bin Laden underneath a rock on the surface of Mars, you probably saw his name in a headline or two this past summer. He demanded a trade. Then rescinded the demand. Then made the demand again. Sort of. Then went quiet while setting the competitive tone for Team USA as it steamrolled through the Tournament of the Americas.

Somewhere in there was some news. Maybe it was the absurd arc of trade demands. Maybe it was the basketball played in Vegas. Maybe it was just the fact that a famous person did something. Anything.

Then, yesterday, folks started talking about what Jerry Buss said.

Which, to any mildly intelligent person, is simple, obvious and the most profoundly common of senses. The kind that doesn't need to be spoken to be known.

A bit like the episode of The Simpsons when Lisa declares herself a vegetarian.

I can't find the clip on youtube, but I did find this weird German web site with a partial transcript. In the relevant scene, Lisa is being taunted by her classmates about her love of vegetables. Her friend Janey asks, "Lisa, are you gonna marry a carrot?" A frustrated Lisa responds, "Yes, I'm gonna marry a carrot." To which all the other kids starting singing, "She admitted it! She admitted it!"

When I read through the "story" about Dr. Buss expressing his willingness to consider trading Kobe and the ensuing difficulty of the business proposition, I felt like someone was asking the Lakers owner if he was going to marry a carrot. Everyone who picked up the story had to recognize the superfluous nature of the question and/or comment. But very few could resist the urge to carp about the admission.

[TANGENT: Is it just me or is the word "admitted" becoming more and more popular among mainstream media reports? Can someone do a study on that or point me to one? Thanks.]

The Jerry Buss story isn't really news. It's not hard and fast gossip either. Its more along the lines of filler. Which, of course, begets more filler. Hours and pages analyzing the admission. Then Kobe's response. Then more analysis. Then Shaq's response. Then more analysis. Who knows how long the tail of this "story" will extend?

There is, however, news to report from the NBA.

Kenyon Martin might be back. I'm no Nuggets fan, but that team has too much talent not to be paid attention to. For better or worse, K-Mart's ability to get his game back will be the centerpiece of their story this season. My money says the Bearcat is gonna beast through this season. Which will be very good for Denver. Bad for the rest of the league.

If you're not interested in talking about the game itself, then there is other news for you about Gilbert Arenas. Apparently, he cheats at Halo 3. Which is entirely forgivable. Though he probably oughta set up an event to prove himself. Som'em for charity maybe?

Oh...and the countdown to the opening tip of the new season is officially underway. Oct. 30 is right around the corner.

Hopefully, it will bring us more news than gossip.

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