Monday, December 05, 2005

I think I must be getting old. Older, maybe? Greyer, yes, if my beard stubble is any indication and new furrows and wrinkles now permanently engraved in places on my face where there used to be smoothness. No real worries there just yet....they emerge only when my countenance is contorted, as in a smile, or a grimace directed Jasonward.

Attending my chronological progression is a penchant toward Puritanism when it comes to my Weather Channel. Gone are the days of blossoming weather technology blending with the newfound power of a pioneering network who discovered the formula to bringing weather to our homes 24/7. All of that used to include the requisite nerdiness of the on-air personalities. Straight weather, humble, but still straightforward graphics and your local forecast with that teriffic music in the background with which my wife loves to fall asleep if I am away.

Now bring on ratings games. Cue the sex kittens who, bedecked with their surgically-enabled cosmetic redesigns, sway their arms in sultry abandon over Kansas and Nebraska along the tornadogenic cold front in my early Aprils. Here comes former on-air personality and forty-one year-old Marny Stanier from the late eighties and her lawsuit accusing the Weather Channel (TWC) of letting her go because they want their on-air talent to be under forty. Insert in the upper right hand corner of my boob toob little icons for Stihl or Campbell's Soup. Fashion cutesy commercials touting your bad self now that you know you have the market cornered. Cue up the new graphics on the new show with the new segment that TWC producers revamped AGAIN for the upteenth time this month. And how about playing the music on my local forecast and letting it cycle through more than once before shelving it a week later? It used to have the time to grow on you like a cicle of ice in a freezing rain event.

What does this have to do with weather? I think I want my old Weather Channel back.

Now, if you have a chance to grow to like something you see, expect it to change tomorrow, if not sooner. It used to be that the fact TWC even existed was something radical and new in and of itself. But now we have ratings. And ads to garner. And appearances with which to impress. And viewers to attain. TWC has been sucked up into the maelstrom of the pop-media culture and now imitates in pure impulsive construct and surface form what it used to represent in content and vision.

All is not lost. I have not abandoned my first love and I have nothing against hot weather babes per se, but what's so wrong with a middle-aged lady who knows her stuff and still has on-air mojo? And keep the old dudes like the late hurricane expert John Hope who had virtually no on-camera finesse but what you saw was what you got....flat personality but dead-on information.

Ah, the plague of the videodrome.