Bob Franken

The Big Snow: Huddled Masses Yearning to be Freed

No heart attack from digging out. That was a good thing but there was little to do but to spend the weekend mostly hunkered down inside. There were no newspapers, no delivery, but who missed them? We could read them just as easily on line. And then, those of us who didn’t lose power had plenty of TV to help pass the time.

As the anchors and frozen reporters repeated ad nauseum what we already knew…that it sucked outside…it would not have been much of a surprise to see a crawl at the top or bottom of the screen informing that the meeting of the Global Warming Action Group had been cancelled. But the weather coverage was just one of the highlights.

Obviously the best television of all was provided by that entertainment superstar In Nashville. Of course that would be Sarah Palin, who brought her song-and-dance act to the Tea Party Departed-From Reality show. How fitting it was that she was at Opryland to perform her version of “Achy Breaky Heart. She called it”Hopey Changey Stuff”

Besides her relentless criticism of President Obama, she also made it clear she’s after his job, telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday “It would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country”.

An absurd idea? Not at all? A possible Palin presidency? You betcha. Scary. Happily there was more escapism on the telly.

There was this football thing, the Super Bowl. It was a terrific one at that…complete with the big upset win by the underdog Saints that came with such symbolism. We could all share in the “Laissez les bon temps roulez” post celebration by those who still struggle with the hard times in Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.

The inspiring “Who Dat” team even made the embarrassing Who group bearable at halftime. Besides, the Super Bowl is way more than what we see on the field. There are the many contests within the contest, where the competition is brutal. Sponsors, for instance, pay ridiculous amounts of money in the fierce battle for attention between their commercials. It’s hard to declare a winner this year, difficult to choose between the surprise of Tim Tebow’s mother being tackled in that insipid anti-abortion ad or the astonishment of Leno, Letterman and Oprah in their Super promotional spot.

Then there was the inevitable appearance by President Obama, with Katie Couric, both in need of their own promos. The big news from that was the President’s idea for even more “Must See TV” (I know, wrong network). He declared he was inviting the Republicans down to the White House. Not for a beer, but for a bi-partisan conversation about health care reform. And this one would also be on television.

Some might consider it a poll-driven gimmick. He was was responding to all the criticism that he had failed to live up to his campaign promise to invite C-Span in to show the health care deliberations and the crazy complaint he had shut out the “Just Say No” Republicans. So now, just like another game show host, he was shouting to everyone “C’MON DOWN!!” GOP leaders weren’t saying so in so many words, but they obviously smelled a setup. And well they should.

Still, here’s hoping it really happens. And why not spice up that Super Bowl with some of its own commercials? Sponsors could rip off that Oprah/Leno/Letterman spot featuring maybe Obama, who does such great live shots with Mr. Announcer Boehner. Sitting between them? Sarah Palin. Of course.

Obviously, the insurance companies would make big ad buys, so would the pharmaceutical giants. It would just be another way for them to use their massive wealth to control the outcome. The banks could do the same thing and run their Visa and Mastercard commercials. There could be Public Service Announcements too, on behalf of government entities like AIG and GM.

There’s no hurry, plenty of time before the plows finally get to our streets so we can emerge from our winter bunkers to get back to work. At least those who have jobs can. As for the program, it could have a catchily appropriate title: “The Snow Job”.

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