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Finneran: America’s Waiting Rooms

Friday, February 09, 2018


Please, just stop.

The sensory bombardment of normal human beings is not necessary. In fact, it’s quite aggravating. No rational being needs or wants this constant crap.

I speak of America’s waiting rooms where breathless morons—i.e.—newscasters—intrude and abound.

They are breathless because on America’s cable and television stations, everything is “breaking news”. The morons must therefore connote something of extreme national significance about a cat stranded on an L.A. freeway or a dopey goose frozen on some pond.

I kid you not. Take note of the “news” these days. It’s like a trip to Pet City. Someone somewhere has either lost a dog or cat or found a dog or cat. The news stations need video to complement the aural assault so they send a moron or a helicopter to the scene to convey the importance of the story.

If it cannot be put in the category of “breaking news”, they will use the word “developing”. What is clearly not developing are their brains. News today consists of a Trump tweet, staged “outrage”, 15 seconds of sports, 15 minutes of weather, and either a car accident, a lost pet, or a Justin Timberlake twerk.

Good God. Is there no relief from this unbounded idiocy? Another cat is lost so “let’s go live to Wolf in the Situation Room”. It’s time to get breathless again.

Of course my big gripe is not about the stations themselves. Television and cable companies have long ago squandered any credibility they might have once enjoyed. I’d pay them big money to hear them admit some night that nothing noteworthy occurred on a given day and that, rather than pretend to be breathless about nothing, that they were suggesting that Americans open a book and do some reading. I think that Anne Murray wrote a song about such a fantasy............

My real gripe is with all the places where such crap is broadcast at you. Doctors’ offices. Dentists’ offices. Restaurants. Of late, you now suffer sensory assault while pumping gas. There is no oasis anywhere. Can we not be left alone with the silence of our thoughts? Perhaps we might be given a chance to look at a beautiful blue sky, to hum a song, or just to daydream for a minute without some blaring interruption. Indeed, look around those offices. You’ll usually see dozens of magazines covering a variety of topics. Or you’ll see waiting patients who have brought a book or magazine of their own. The next logical step would be to let the patrons actually read quietly, without having to endure the electronic Gatling guns of modern American media.

It’s bad enough that the television is even turned on, endlessly repeating the drivel of the day. That injury is then compounded by the sheer volume at which it’s set, easily surpassing the noise of a boisterous marching band.

True confession---last week I was in a doctor’s office. Staff was very busy handling multiple calls and I was alone in the waiting room suffering the bombardment of some CNN baloney. I looked high and low for the controls—i.e.—on/off buttons, channel buttons, volume buttons. I discovered no such buttons nor could I find a remote control. No electric cord was visible. Talk about frustrating...........I would have happily tossed the whole thing right out the window, particularly if it might have landed on the head of a frozen goose or some dopey newscaster.

It was with that happy thought that my blood pressure reading was absolute aces. For my next visit I might bring a hammer, staging a one-man revolt against the ceaseless noise.

Enough already! Just stop.


Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio


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