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What Is “News?”

When I watch any of the national morning shows, I get more and more disturbed by what they classify as news.

A Seamless Segue
Have you noticed how the Matt Lauer’s and Diane Sawyers’s can switch from a story about American hostages in Iraq to a story on injecting earlobes with $600-per-syringe glop to reduce the sagging of years of earring wear? I consider it shameful that they can flow thoughtlessly from such a serious, dreadful section of news to a fluff piece on cosmetic surgery. And Matt’s standard segue of “And now for something on a much lighter note” just doesn’t cut it. Can you imagine what the families of those hostages must feel like that both stories are given equal time?

And can someone please explain why a pissing contest between Rosie and Donald is news (or even how it’s interesting at all)? Or how an SUV driven through the wall of a convenience store (by accident) can make national news?

No one needs to tell me that so-called news shows are more about ratings than informing the public…that fact is very clear. Or that “Us Magazine” sells far more units than “Newsweek.” I understand that the “great unwashed” in this country are far more interested in reading about Britney’s exposed crotch than they are in trying to grasp the importance of the Middle East conflicts.

When someone decides that they don’t want to deal with life’s hardships, and takes to drinking or taking drugs in a compulsively avoiding way, we call them alcoholics or addicts. When the entire nation seems to be drowning their sorrows in the intrigue of Brangelina, there ought to be an appropriate word for them as well…and a 12-step program too.

Current Knitting
I’ve made some progress on the dark tweed pullover and added another few inches to the back of the garment. I also made it to the next layer of colorblocks on the Araucania sweater for me.

I’ll post pictures in my next entry.

Sweater Patching
I thought you might want to get a look at my initial attempt at patching the sleeve hole in my brother-out-of-law’s sweater.

Sweater Patch

You’ll notice that the blue color is brighter than the original color, and that the edges of the patch are a little ragged. Here’s a less closeup view to give it some perspective.

Sweater Perspective

I don’t consider this acceptable, so I will first try and see if I can reduce the lengths of both sleeves, and if I don’t have enough extra lenght, I will detach the bottom of the sleeve and remove the damaged section and re-knit one band of the sleeve and graft it back together.

Readers’ Comments/Questions
Regarding the patched sweater, Sherry W asks, “Oh about the sweater- you think Carol can dye match some yarn for you? At least getting it close for the repaired sections?”

I’m not concerned about it being perfect, but I do want it to look acceptable. I don’t think an exact match is required for that.

Regarding the dark tweed sweater, Diane in Chico writes, “Did you wind the yarn off the cone to knit the tweed pullover, or are you knitting from the cone? If knitting from the cone, do you worry about twisting the yarn as it comes off the cone? Is the cone on the floor or on some kind of holder that prevents twisted yarn?”

I’m just unwinding the yarn off the top of the cone as I knit. I haven’t found any twisting problems yet. I know this is an issue for that others have mentioned on knitting lists for years, but in all my cone yarn knitting, I have never had this issue.

Anne Marie in Philly writes, “I would be interested in learning how you are making the colorblock sweater.”

I calculated my gauge and knew I needed a width of about 150 stitches for the section I’m working on. I then decided on 10 st by 14 row squares of color, and knit one up to see how much yarn one took. I then created about a dozen butterfly bobbins in each of the eight colors I’m working using, with enough yarn to make a square. Using standard intarsia techniques, I just keep adding new rows of color blocks.

0 comments on “What Is “News?”

  1. Oh, Joe, you are dead on right about the “news.” I hate that shitful anchorperson happy talk. I hate when they do a story about a frickin’ TV show on the “news” — you see it a lot on the local news here. I hate when they publicize pointless surveys (as Ellen DeGeneres says, “A disturbing new study reveals that studies are disturbing.”). I hate when they publicize what is basically local crime: why is every carjacking or sensational murder all over the country considered national news? I hate their bias as revealed in the questions they ask and the phrasing they use (“He hasn’t been charged with a crime yet” sounds like he’s going to be soon, whether he is or not. The recent serial killer case in England always referred to the victims as prostitutes; why not just refer to them as women?)

    Gee, did you think you were gonna push a button with me and have all this commentary spew out?

  2. Joe, I believe the problem with with news shows started when personality became more important than personal responsibility.
    The ability to instantly glean information from the Internet(oh, the alliteration, I sound like Picard!)makes it nearly impossible to avoid Brangelina, even when I’m trying to read about Iraq.
    Watching our local news is like watching a music video; with flashing graphics, mock CNN subtitles, and big-haired anchors. It’s also owned by a self-righteous O’Reilly wannabe whose frequent diatribes toss any thought of objective journalism out the window.
    My husband and daughter were in the Post Office at the same time
    as one of the “anchors”, and she couldn’t coherently read her cue cards. She had great hair though.
    Could you imagine Edward Murrow, Walter Conkrite, or Tom Browkaw doing a piece on plump earlobes?
    Neither can I.

  3. Joe, dollink, that’s why there’s public radio which, while far from perfect, beats the snot out of the rest of ’em.

  4. I was channel surfing Monday night, and there was BBC news on PBS. Yes, it was 11:30 pm CST, but I was glued to the news. We had not been informed of most of the “world news” by our propagandists media folks. What a wake-up call. There are a lot of things going on that could matter to us, if we only were informed.

  5. Then there is the “news-speak”. My teeth hurt every time I hear “can you give us a sense of”. What the hell does that mean? On our news it’s always “sex trade workers”. Does this include people who retail Hustler magazine and dildos? Or the “live” news where they keep repeating for 6 hours “nothing else is known at this time” or “nothing has been confirmed”. If they know nothing, then why are they yapping away?

    I’ve knit directly from cones for years and never had any kind of problem. Sometimes I think the problems everyone writes about is one of those knitters’ myths.

    Barb B.

  6. It is pretty sad what people get invested in these days, in regards to the news. Call me a young cynic, but it boggles my brain that people find celebrities worth more time and money than atrocities. I can understand that we don’t want our days brought down by depressing news piece after depressing news piece, but really, there’s a whole world out there beyond movie star’s underwear, and half of the population seems content to ignore it so long as they get their happy kick for the day. :/

  7. This is why I get my news online….or from NPR….

    I get so tired of the sensationalism punctuated by sentimentalism blah blah blah.

    Twisting of yarn from the cone would only be an issue for some people based on their method of wrapping the yarn on the needle, which could introduce some stitch, but even then, it would only be an extra twist per inch or so, depending on gauge, which would be an issue on the cone, or using the yarn wound off…..

  8. Here we have the ABC (state-owned corporation) and I refuse to watch or listen to any other news. And ever they’re not as as good as they used to be – there were spelling mistakes on a projected headline the other night! To give you an example of their standards, they were the only channel (I read in the paper) not to cover the recent visit of Paris Hilton to our city. They just don’t do ‘celebrity’ news.

  9. thank you, joe, for the information on the colorblock sweater. I will now put your idea to the test. you are most kind.

    I saw a similar design in my kaffe fassett pattern book last evening.

    as for the “news”, the “unwashed masses” and the dumbing down of tv in general are the reasons I stopped watching ANY television several years ago. it’s all shit. I listen to my phillies baseball games on the radio, I read the philadelphia inquirer daily, and I read the ‘net.

    and I don’t give a flying fuck about celebrities, fashion trends, or other such silly fluff. I’d rather be knitting…..

  10. I totally agree with you about the news. It’s been years since I watched an American News Show for anything other than my local weather. BBC News or Democracy Now (which I get on my local PBS channel) are my two favorites.

  11. In my house we watch 60-Minutes on Sundays when it’s convenient and that’s it for commercial network “news” programs. Thank the powers for the Link TV Satellite channel, Democracy Now!, international short wave and public radio, including Selma’s Station known to non-knitters as the WAMC public broadcasting system (hey, 11 different sets of call letters makes it a stand-alone in my mind).

  12. I can see it now. “Hi, I’m Jennifer and I’m a celebriholic. I have lifetime subscriptions to People, US, and the National Enquirer and belong to six celebrity lists. I had to quit my job because I couldn’t work and keep up with the marriages and breakups.” She is then put through a program that weans her from the world of celebrities and supports her as she returns to life without People. If successful, she will become voting member of society and be active in community affairs.

  13. hey joe,

    it looks like you have 4 rows of light blue, followed by the fair isle motif, followed by 4 rows of light blue. if you remove one or even two rows from each of the light blue areas (on both sleeves), you might have enough to do the repair. you’d have to do a little (who am i kidding) a lot of grafting to put both sleeves back together, but you wouldn’t have to hunt madly for matching wool.

    (from wendy)

  14. Joe-

    A friend of mine – the guy who owns the veg cafe down the street asked me to mend a pair of mittens for his little girl. I did – and matching the color wasn’t the issue, as much as the edges (as you remark – it’s hell trying to make them look seamless) AND the fact that the mittens were knit on the equivalent of triple zeros – making seeing the stitches (even for my 28 year old eyes) near impossible. In the end, I did what I could and gave ’em back. The guy seemed thankful, but they sure didn’t look perfect…

  15. As a longtime newspaper editor, I agree with you completely about current news coverage. It is extremely frustrating — heartbreaking, really — for those of us on the inside to see reporting resources being stripped away, good people being laid off, and time and space being filled with the news equivalent of regurgitated junk food. But in case it’s any consolation to you, Us does not outsell Newsweek; according to the 2005 figures, Us had a circulation of about 1.6 million; Newsweek had about 3.1 million. Maybe when people have to pay for their media, they are a little less likely to choose junk. (Although certainly 1.6 million is still a hefty hunk of readers.)

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