September 25, 2018

Balloon Dad to Pose for Playgirl

It’s my own fault, I know, for watching “Showbiz Tonight” over the weekend, but I couldn’t find the news on any other channel, and I’d forgotten that HLN, better known as CNN’s Headline News, had turned its definition of journalism over to Nancy Grace, host of “television’s only justice themed/interview/debate show, designed for those interested in the breaking crime news of the day”; to Robin Meade, author of “Morning Sunshine! How to Radiate Confidence and Feel It, Too”; to Jane Velez-Mitchell, author of “iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life,” who has been “stand[ing] up for the powerless, and speak[ing] for those who don’t have a voice” on HLN since Glenn Beck left it for Fox News.  And, of course, to “Showbiz Tonight.”

At the top of the show, they teased a story about a cartoon making fun of Jessica Simpson’s weight that Fox had run on its NFL Sunday program.  In the skit, an animated version of Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber says, “Man, I still can’t believe [Cowboys quarterback] Tony [Romo] dated Jessica Simpson, even after> she blew up bigger than [Cowboys offensive tackle] Flozell Adams!”

Jessica Simpson, in case you have been reading books during the past decade, is a singer who became famous for a reality show, “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,” in which she co-starred with then-husband Nick Lachey.  Subsequently she has been famous for being famous, for pumping too much Restylane into her lips, for jinxing Romo’s gridiron performance,  and for, well, blowing up bigger than Flozell Adams.

When I saw the cartoon clip at the beginning of “Showbiz Tonight,” instead of changing the channel, something made me count “one” to myself, and linger.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, they showed the cartoon again.  Before the “>2012 apocalypse will displace a sober debate about apocalypse now.  When Big Pharma buys Congress for hundreds of millions of dollars, it depends on the media’s being bored by old news about special interests, and being floored by breaking news about “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” 

Right now Pakistan’s army is mounting a huge offensive against terrorists in South Waziristan.  This won’t help American troops in Afghanistan, because the three major terrorist networks attacking us there – the Quetta Shura Taliban, the Haqqani network and the Hizb-i-Islami Galbuddin – operate from other areas of Pakistan.  I know this from reading an “>moose meat diet and workout plan than about those bewildering terrorist groups with all those q’s.  It’s that, and not the seven replays of the fat-jibe cartoon, that will be shameful.

Marty Kaplan is the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society.  Reach him at {encode=”” title=””}.