Wednesday, September 23, 2009


What made leaving the news station easy was the thought of returning to California. What made it even easier was the Group of 20 summit.

When the White House announced that Pittsburgh was selected as the host city for the G-20 summit, not only did the White House press corps laugh but the news station also got its panties in a bunch at the prospect of what was to come. Unlike the swine flu and Jacko's death, the G-20 summit is not a blockbuster national story that the station will have to spin to localize. It's an international blockbuster, and all Pittsburgh's. Its biggest story ever... until, of course, the next biggest story ever comes along.

It was a slow, moving freight train I saw coming in the distance, and I waited, and waited, until the end of August, and then proceeded to step out of the way. It's just now rumbling by.

After I left the news station, I tuned out completely. I didn't pick up a newspaper except to read the sports section. I didn't watch the news, nor visit the station's Web site to see what's been happening. (I didn't write any blog postings since that time, either. Work elsewhere -- on finding a new job, on writing a memoir -- is more responsible for my blog negligence, though.)

Now that I've stepped aside, I've begun slowly to read the newspapers again, and I'm thinking the G-20 summit may just live up to the hype it's receiving. I've read and heard some wild reports of things to expect from the protesters who have converged upon Pittsburgh. Previous meetings of the Group of 20 have provided a venue for protest groups such as The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army to voice their deliciously insane opinions.

David Cheskin/AP

Bands of protesters are apparently congregating in camps in the city's parks like bands of Merry Men, awaiting the conference and their chance to do their warped Robin Hood impersonations for an international audience. I've read numerous businesses -- Starbucks, Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's -- are being targeted for various corporate policies or opinions expressed by corporate officers. Based on prior G-20 summits, they'll be throwing balloons filled with piss and shit at the minimum wage workers in these businesses, in an effort to affect change in their corporate practices -- thereby proving to all you anti-Darwinists out there just how similar we, in fact, are to our monkey cousins.

My old boss mentioned that he'd heard city police officers have been instructed, while on patrol, to look out activity in the basements of abandoned homes where anarchists are reportedly hosting bomb-making and shiv-fashioning classes for their acolytes.

I have to remind myself how quickly uninteresting even the most exciting story becomes once it becomes your job and ceases to be a spectator event you can, at any moment, get up and walk away from. The allure of the G-20 consequences -- both positive and negative -- makes me forget this. What a potential boon for the city! How potentially catastrophic if, among the piss-and-shit throwers, there's a bonafide Lex Luthor who intends to unleash some grand-scale wickedness for all the world to see!

In all likelihood, though, the world's leaders will come and go from the city, and the pluses and minuses of their visit will add up to close to zero. There will be no boon to herald on high, nor catastrophe to lament. But the news will try to make it seem like it was one way or the other, regardless.

Fortunately I no longer have to bother -- I can sit back, watch (or not watch) and hope for the best while I busy myself with my relocation West.

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