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diaryland: entry for 2001-09-13 (01:49:00)
In which our plucky young hero begins using titles again.

It hasn't even been forty-eight hours yet, but it feels like a week.

I've been glued to my television, watching no fewer than ten different news organizations doing their job. (The count, to be precise, is: CBC, CTV, Global, Fox News [simulcast on Speedvision], CNN, MSNBC, BBC World, ABC, CBS, NBC.)

Of these ten, I most respect the CBC. I respect its willingness to wait before putting things on the air, and its gravity, and the fact that it has a low-key theme song for this event. (How sickening that you know what I'm talking about. How sickening it needs to be mentioned at all.) But I've found myself glued, in alternating shifts, to MSNBC and CNN. To the networks that offer any random crap they hear as long as they get to say "There is an unconfirmed rumor that". To the networks with a news picture, a constant commentary on the news picture, and a stock-quote crawl offering the news that isn't in the picture. I watch them to see what is possible, first. Then I watch CBC to see what is actual, second.

This really says something bad about me.

Class act of the day: MuchMusic abandoned their regular broadcast schedule. Oh, they still played videos, but they were chosen to be somber, reflective songs. (The most upbeat one I saw during the time I was watching was Moby's "Porcelain".) In between, the VJs took calls, read emails and faxes, and did what they could to help Much's target audience cope.

They were so obviously unprepared. Rick Campanelli is a nice enough guy, but it is clear that his role in the world involves Coldplay and Destiny's Child. But he and the other people on Much worked hard to let people (in this case, Canadian tweens and teens) have a voice and talk with each other. And he succeeded. If he was unpolished and fumbling a little to get through the day, wearing his heart on his sleeve, so were we all.

(And that is why when MTV Canada launches, MuchMusic will whip the tar out of it.)

Things will find a new center, a new point where we say "this, right here, this is normal". It may be already starting, at least on television: CTV NewsNet just had a human interest story on a chef in Halifax, who cooked meals for the passengers whose flights were diverted there. It was pure, unadulterated fluff, containing no news about possible connections to Osama Bin Laden or rumors of trucks full of explosives or phone call transcripts from doomed airplanes. I nearly wept tears of joy to see it.

I know this sounds like the most asinine of armchair McLuhanism, but I believe it: If our airwaves have room for human interest stories again, then healing is beginning. When the world can look at anything but those three crash sites, even if it's just a restaurant in Halifax, it is a sign that we are beginning to move forward again.

At least, that's what I'm hoping.

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