What is it about Los Angeles and the multi-media experience of disaster in our city? I found myself glued to the tv yesterday, watching as the news cut from fire to fire to fire, then reading updates online, then back to the tv. I don’t personally know anyone in peril, yet I can’t watch anything else. All afternoon Channels 2, 4, 7 and 9 were all about the fires, reporters in giant goggles and masks, wind whipped, smoke covered, serious. (Channel 5? Fuck it, we paid for “Reba”, we’re showing “Reba”!) After a while, I start getting snarky at the reporters and the whole scenario. My biggest question was: Is that David Lee Roth reporting from Malibu on Channel 4? Oh, no, that’s Doug Kriegel. (If you were watching him yesterday, you know what I’m talking about.)
Does New York City or Chicago have this kind of TV? Or do they watch our disasters? Okay, okay, I’m not that self-centered of an Angelena, but really, is it just because I live here that I feel like we have more disasters televised than anyone else? (Wait, maybe I am that self-centered…hmmm.) Or do we just have more televisable disasters? Unfortunately we have bad fires almost every year, then mudslides if we get enough rain, I won’t even start on earthquakes (knock wood) and then there are the high speed chases. Though those have dropped off because TV realized that they were adding to the problem by televising the nitwits, thereby giving them all the attention they wanted from their cruise through the city. Then it makes you wonder about those nitwits who can’t get on tv while driving anymore who are now starting fires. I believe there were 2 or 3 fires started just yesterday afternoon that the Fire Department know for sure are arson. Some joker is sitting with his homies, watching HIS fire on tv, proud. Scary thought.
Is it just some kind of human morbid curiosity? We can’t turn away? Are the majority of us, safe in our non-fire area homes, sub-consciously smug, treating the disaster like some great new reality show an soon we’ll be voting off the reporters one by one? (My money is on Diamond Doug K.) Or is it that we are a media-centered city to begin with and therefore we can’t not televise everything all the time?
And just for the record, I’m sorry for everyone who has lost anything in these horrible fires. I would never wish this on anyone, not even Glenn Beck.