2002-10-19 / Columnists

Boyle-ing Points

By Kevin Boyle

By Kevin Boyle

How 'Bout A Follow-up Question?

I've been watching too much TV lately. I don't know if the same commercials are on network TV but in the last week I've started an alpaca farm (I didn't know what an alpaca was until I got my satellite installed), ordered a bow flex which I'll never use and ordered some gadgets from this really loud guy named Billy Mays---who introduces himself in such a way you think you must know the guy, that's he's a trusted authority. He says his name like he's the new Walter Cronkite ---the most trusted man in America--- and then goes on to pitch some cleaning fluid or rubber wrench.

Of course, things aren't much better on "regular" TV ---where you catch all these commercials for the new miracle drugs. You want to get rid of arthritis or high cholesterol, they've got a pill for it. The thing is, if you hang around for the disclaimer you'll get an earful. Sometimes those little details take nearly as long as the commercial itself. You know, "side effects may include diarrhea, dandruff, high blood pressure, headaches, frequent urination, insomnia and incontinence." But don't forget the benefits.

In between the commercials you get a steady and ready flow of pundits and so-called experts. Who knew there were so many serial killer profilers? With the sniper attacks in the DC area now getting top coverage, you've got every cable channel with half a dozen talking heads calling themselves "profilers." I could swear I'd seen a couple of these before---maybe weighing in on the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. Or perhaps they were experts on chads and voting irregularities.

With so many channels offering 24/7 coverage of whatever the hot topic is, you'd think you'd hear something different, something unique once in a while. Take the sniper story. When one of the more recent shootings occurred within "50 yards" of a state trooper, it was a sure sign the sniper had become "more brazen." So many experts suggested the same thing: the sniper was rubbing it in the face of law enforcement. Well, sure, that's one conclusion. But how about wondering if the sniper even noticed the state trooper? No one suggested the guy might have gotten lucky, might have been careless. No, they just make a statement and run with it.

Another story that gets floated time and again without an alternate challenge is the one about Mohammad Atta meeting with some Iraqis. This alleged meeting is supposed to tie Saddam Hussein with September 11. The controversy seems completely focused on whether the meeting took place or not. Let's say it did. Isn't it possible the Iraqis told Atta he was out of his freakin' mind? And that's why they never met again. I haven't heard this possibility floated.

And back to the sniper case for a moment. Sure seems odd to me that law enforcement puts such a heavy emphasis on witnesses---have you seen a white truck? Please call, we need your help ---while all these months now we've been hearing from the NTSB (and the New York Times) how "notoriously unreliable" eyewitnesses are. If you've seen anything at all, please call. If you've seen a plane on fire, we'll call you.

I watch too much TV. I'd like some talking head to point out this stuff. Why do I watch? I'm always disappointed. I'm even disappointed in The Sopranos---what a yawn so far this year. Pure soap opera. Though the show did get me to thinking about Al-Qaeda. I wonder if Al-Qaeda remains organized or if it's (the idea of it) actually more of inspiration for a bunch of wannabes. The end result is often just as deadly but you won't convince me that a handful of Arabs---in Arab clothes no less---who go to a gravel pit in rural Oregon for shooting practice are part of anything organized. Wish someone would ask these things.

Boyle-ing Over: What are you doing reading The Wave when you could be planning on having a great time? Clear the decks, call the babysitter, water the flowers, get that stuff out of the way so you can make your way over to the Rugby Clubhouse on Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Saturday, October 19 at 6 pm for the first ever Oktoberfest Boombash. They'll be knockwurst and brockwurst for you to enjoy while taking a break from dancing to the live German oompah band.

***Wanna rest after a round of oompah music?---check out ArtSplash --- or whatever they call the latest art event at Fort Tilden. Really, just stop by the gallery opposite the baseball fields some time---you'll be amazed at some of the great, great art including paintings, sculpture, and photographs.

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