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Jewish World Review Dec. 31, 2001 / 16 Teves, 5762

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports

Come on war. You can do better! -- YESTERDAY I turned on CNN to get an update on the war and low and behold, instead of my daily Rumsfield briefing fix, they we telling me about snow in Buffalo, an infant recovered and who will wear what on New Years' Eve. What happened to my war?!

I flicked on MSNBC to see what my Ashleigh B. was wearing somewhere deep in the dark recesses of Kabul and instead Brian Williams was getting a live report from some mall deep in the dark recesses of New Jersey detailing the hostilities at an after Christmas sale.

Another channel switch and for a brief moment things seem to be back to America Strikes Back normal, but I soon found that it was only a clip of "Black Hawk Down," a swell war movie to be sure, but without Geraldo reporting from one friendly-fire location or another, it just didn't do it for me.

The closest thing to a battle was the one over TIME's Person Of The Year.

I was getting desperate. Only a weeks old "I'm Kind Of Still Here" Osama tape and once a week bombing to keep me going. I'm feel the shakes coming on.

You know how they do it. First they give you 24/7 of Breaking News, smashing new network war coverage slogans, and non-stop briefings of non-stop bombings from the front. Arrests, Afghanistan, Anthrax, and Al-Qaeda . All breaking news all the breaking time. They just keep feeding you more than you could ever want and you think it'll last for ever. They get you hooked. Then one day you wake up and turn on the war's gone. Oh sure, there's a shoe-bomber here and there but how long can you look a

t that ugly mug before you're scratchin' for more action. They've replaced "America Fights Back" with "The Hunt For Bin Laden" then change it to "Live From Afghanistan" and finally it's become "Dressing Up Your Cave For The Holidays."

It's just not fair. I got a case of the Post-traumatic Breaking News Syndrome and it's driving me mad (feel free to write a country-western or blues song here).

But, wait. There's some Breaking News. Finally. They're going to cut away from normal programming and go to the President's ranch! Yeah! Did they find bin laden? Smoke 'im out, dead or alive? Was there another bio-terror scare? Perhaps we're going into Iraq. About time. I knew our President wouldn't let that greasy...other evil-doer get away with his...evil. Let me turn up the volume and...

"I've read reports that he's dyed his hair red," announced the President.

Who? Bin Laden? Hussein? Geraldo? The Vice President? I was hanging on every word.

"He's on the run, if he's running at all. We don't know if he's in a cave with the door shut or a cave with the door open."

What? What door? Caves have doors? What's the breaking news? I need the news, man.

"The American people just must understand that when I said we need to be patient, I meant it."

Patient? Is he kidding? You can't take my war away and not replace it with something I can sink my teeth into. There's no Condit, no O.J., no America Strikes Back Anonymous. Just me, hanging by a thread, strung out on the couch with nothing... Then finally, it hit me. There is help. There is a place to go when you need a bite of the dog that bit you. The History Channel.

Ahh. It's October, 2001 again. Bombings, briefings, Ashleigh's new glasses, Taliban on the run, all kinds of scares, America, once again, Fighting Back. I am saved.

And until the war I've come to love returns...Thank you, History Channel. Thank you, cable. Thank you, Direct TV.

JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of the forthcoming "Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful," Tallfellow Press, 2002 Comment by clicking here.

12/26/01: NOT MY OSAMA!
12/24/01: TIME caves
12/20/01: Finally! Friends of Color
12/14/01: Bin Laden's Funniest Home Videos
12/10/01: What if Catching bin Laden is in dispute?
11/30/01: Back to normal...too bad
11/16/01: Osama not enough for some
11/09/01: Networks at war!
11/05/01: Bridges Over Troubled Water
10/29/01: The other terrorists
10/16/01: Diary Of A Young Defense Department Comedy Writer
10/01/01: Playlands, burgers, and family sanity
09/25/01: Dissent is walking on red, white and blue egg shells
09/21/01: OPEN LETTER THE MOST HIGH (RE: Falwell and Robertson comments)
09/17/01: Gary, we miss ya
09/10/01: Smelling out a real hero
09/04/01: Don't give up on that dream!
08/24/01: Pitch day at the Mouse
08/21/01: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Unlimited" Is


© 2001, Steve Young