Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, April 16

Gapers Block

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Lesson Learned
The moral: In attempting to compose a patronizing, almost intellectual media column, it's best to avoid Harry Potter bashing. Though you may well find "Rowling Readers" abhorrent, they probably make up a sizable portion of your audience.

And they're quick to anger.

The Peacemakers
So I've been kicking this around for days, trying to work out something witty and biting. But it's a story so utterly absurd as to obviate sarcasm.

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt are out to bring peace to the Middle East.

Armed with $4 million, they hope to foster friendship and understanding where presidents, the United Nations and Nobel Peace prizes have failed. Unfortunately, I suspect their charm and good looks won't do much to sooth the troubled victims of Palestinian suicide bombers or Israeli missile attacks.

But their efforts may generate just enough attention to secure a movie deal when those ephemeral abdominal muscles and perfect breasts come up short.

Cynical? Absolutely.

Doing Without
More than a year ago, the cable company caught me stealing. They didn't come down too hard; they simply disconnected my ill-gotten programming and made certain the box was securely locked upon leaving.

But a few days later, as I took the stairs up from the laundry room (part of a general effort toward better health) I noticed that the cable box had been left unlocked.

My mind got to working.

I surveyed the situation, inspected the box, and decided upon a course of action. As there were no available cables in the box itself (using a store bought cable will get you caught in no time) I decided to steal one of the lines going into a recently vacated apartment down the hall.

But that's where I hit a snag. Though usually finger tight, this cable had been bolted on with considerable force. Even with forearms strengthened by years of self abuse, I couldn't budge it. But I struggled nonetheless. And struggled, and struggled, and struggled...

That's when it hit me. Why was I trying so hard to obtain something that I didn't really want to begin with?

I chalked it up to two very American values that have been ingrained -- involuntarily -- upon my very being. First: In the rare case that one is able to obtain something for nothing, one must do whatever is necessary to take advantage of the situation. And second: Television, especially cable television, is a very good thing.

To Hell with that. I've been television free ever since.

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Pete / November 14, 2003 9:41 AM

Thereby missing all the vital, up-to-the-minute gossip on Jennifer and Brad! (Trust me, your life is the better for it.)

Ruthie / November 14, 2003 1:25 PM

"forearms strengthened by years of self abuse," eh?

dce / November 14, 2003 2:43 PM

Thanks for catching that Ruthie - it was entirely inappropriate. It should read:

"forearm strengthened by years of self abuse"

You've a keen eye.


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