Monday, June 23, 2008

Schmaltz and Schlock

It's kind of interesting to look up the meanings of schmaltz ("mawkishness, oversentimentality") and schlock ("of low quality or value"). Then take a listen to NPR's piece this morning on mothers who have met in Section 60 at Arlington Cemetery where war dead of Afghanistan and Iraq are buried. Here's a sample of the report where Ari Shapiro plays it up as reporter-counselor-chaplain-sensitive guy:

Shapiro: "You must all feel like you know each others' kids by now?"

[general positive reaction] One of the women says, "My husband said, 'Isn't it so sad that we never got to know Brian, and we never got to know Justin and Dylan and Eric' and I said but I feel like I know them so well."

[to which Shapiro replies]: "And if it hadn't been for Brian and Justin and Dylan and Eric and Nicholas, you all would never have met each other."

[Group reacts sympathetically, agreeing]

Shapiro concludes: "I mean what a gift they could give to you that you all now have this group these connections...."

Honestly, I hate posting when the NPR vultures settle in on the war dead, because I don't want to offend anyone who has lost a loved one in a war. It's a horrible thing, but this syrupy grief voyeurism and pseudo-counseling is really shameless. Listen to the piece and ask yourself if there even one provocative question? (e.g. "How does it feel when you hear someone like Scott McClellan now confessing that the war was sold on misinformation and was unnecessary?" or "Do you ever think about the families of the one million Iraqis or the tens of thousands of Afghanis killed in this war?") There is not a single challenging question.

It's telling to see what a news organization can do with its resources (e.g. McClatchy painstakingly putting together the big picture of the torture state that the US has become) and to compare it to the fare that NPR offers.


larry, dfh said...

Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat.

larry, dfh said...

Oh yes, and welcome back, MyTWords. Don't forget 'schtick', and of course'drek'.

larry, dfh said...

Oh yes, and welcome back, MyTWords. Don't forget 'schtick', and of course'drek'.

Porter Melmoth said...

And of course, no mention of that pesky Cindy Sheehan and her lost son within this protected group of loyalist Moms.

And I would add 'kitsch' to this lexicon.

War On War Off said...

"And if it hadn't been for George Bush lying us into this illegal, unnecessary war and getting your children killed, you all would never have met each other."


Mytwords said...

Wow, "war on war off," I never thought of it like that! So he does have a legacy after all.