Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stick 'Em Up!

Despite the oft heard criticism that CNN has evolved into a "soft" news outlet, I am attracted to it like a horsefly to cow paddies. An ingrained habit, it just doesn't feel homey to watch BBC America, the only respectable news channel offered by the cable company. Today, however, I have to tip my hat to CNN, warts and all.

They were covering John Kerry's speech to a Congressional panel on why the US should intervene in Syria to stop the use of chemical weapons. Please observe the below photo snapped with my trusty iPhone, the social media choice of rebel rousers:


No, the red palms are not bridesmaids in a Pakistani wedding. The self-gagged dude behind Kerry makes sure their collective message comes across.

In spite of the somber and grammatically correct appeal he was delivering, Kerry's talk became a farcical theater-of-the absurd moment on global television, thanks to the protestors who managed to position themselves brilliantly for a world class shot. Surely, the director of this news segment could have fudged a different camera angle, perhaps a profile shot of Kerry's noble beak. Or simply maintain the long shot of the Congressional Hall that was occasionally inserted. But as I watched, minute after minute, it was clear that the circus act would not be censored -  much to my amusement and amazement.

There is an irony that Snowden the Leaker, poseur/defender of free speech, decided to find refuge in Russia; VGTRK, Russian state-owned television, would have surely yanked this live coverage in order to arrest the colorful intruders and sentence them to some years in a Siberian Gulag. Let's remember the fate of Pussy Riot, although I must admit that dancing in a church with a name that includes "pussy" might be more offensive to the pious than red hands in the Congress, at least in this post-McCarthy era.

Hats off to the to the First Amendment of the Constitution, that  protects, among other things, the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, and the right to peaceably assemble. Adopted in 1791, it was as one of the ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights.

So today, while knowing of the chicanery our government in foreign affairs, I am relieved to know  there is still something alive and well in our country.

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