361st Degree: Director’s Cut of Saturday

April 5, 2009

This is what I’d meant to say last night:

This entry easily could have borne “(Part 3 of 4)” or even “(Part 4 of 5)” in its title. After all, the ongoing series, being not clearly done when it began, was originally intended as a standalone piece. Instead it has led you along as deceitfully as the length of a Douglas Adams “Trilogy.”

This tangent will become relevant in due course, as shall all tangents.

Originating as a UK radio series, Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” became the first book in his science-fiction comedy series in 1979. In the next thirteen years, he added one book after another, and his fifth book (“Mostly Harmless”) bore the following words at the bottom:
“The fifth part of the increasingly inaccurately named Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy.”
361st Degree apologizes once more for the inconvenience, and for leaving you, dear reader, hanging. For those of you just arriving, hello and welcome, you’ve fortunately missed the hassle that will appear in the Subject lines down this page.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy has in it the most relevant device that could have possibly have been imagined as a metaphor for this blog: the Infinite Improbability Drive. When its button is pressed, the device brings it and its owners through every conceivable and inconceivable outcome of a situation, resulting in its share of penguins, bouquets and random teleportations in the process. And yet, it serves as the most powerful plot device (no pun intdended) for moving the story along in the book.

It is possible to find a news publication, in print or online, regarding every subject of interest and from every angle. “The Catholic Report” gives news from the Vatican and its Catolic perspective on everything else; “Entertainment Weekly” talks about entertainment entertainingly; “Popular Science” has a name that needs no explanation. FOX News and CNN require even less of one.

The sad outcome of such diverse viewpoints is that each ends up homogenous. Each magazine is an island, a retreat on the mind which acts in a void where no other opinions have credibility (or relevance), because the entirety of each news network exists to cater to its buying (or clicking) audience. Nintendo Power readers will never have to listen to Cosmo’s latest release on ‘what He really wants.’ Investigative journalists aside, news agencies rarely check one another’s authenticity: if they did, the National Inquirer would have been hunted to extinction (a mercy killing) years ago.

Every conceivable opinion on an equally conceivable variety of subjects can be watched or read en masse somewhere. But what don’t they offer? What can no self-respecting publisher promise, besides that they will be in business in five years?

Inconsistency, my friends. Inconceivable views are in short supply. Anderson Cooper offers 360 degrees of perspective on his blog. Consider this the step his supervisors were unwilling to take.

If variety is the spice of life, then this would be a habanero pepper. The nasty shriveled kind from South America that people eat because they don’t have ESPN HD out in the boonies. The only publication doing anything about habaneros at the moment is rhere, and the only reason you would conceivably now be thinking about habaneros is that you weren’t looking for them, but you found them here. That is the goal of this blog: to ensure that you find a little of what you’re looking for, and a lot of what you never would have looked for in a hundred stranded-on-a-desert-island-with-nothing-but-a-search-engine years.

That is the promise of the Newfangled News Angle.

Plus, this is the one of the few remaining news networks that ExxonMobil hasn’t tried to bribe yet.

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