One of my favorite pastimes since moving back to Utah is watching the news on the local NBC affiliate which is owned by the Mormon Church. The majority of Salt Lake City is owned by the Mormon Church, including two malls downtown, a conservative radio station which is nothing but fair and balanced if not completely insane, and both major newspapers. Watching local news on any channel in Salt Lake City feels likes watching someone making fun of local newscasters, particularly their hair and its trajectory from their heads, but on the Church-owned station the requirement for suspension of disbelief would leave Hercules an exhausted mess.
I used to call Jon during the day to give him an update on what Scott Haws was editorializing, but now that he’s home we watch it together, mouths agape, because HE DID NOT JUST SAY THAT. We could probably add a few years to our lives if we just changed the channel but that wouldn’t be any fun. Getting outraged at the blatantly slanted reporting of the news feels good in terms of keeping our righteous indignation healthy and in working order. My father understands this concept because he continues to read my website despite the fact that it causes his arteries to constrict and prevent blood flow to his head.
About a month ago they ran a story about a study that had been done on coffee and its benefits to the immune system or the heart, I don’t remember which because that spot in my brain is occupied by what Scott said during the report to the doctor reviewing the study. Mormons aren’t supposed to drink coffee (or tea or alcohol, but 12 Diet Cokes in one hour are perfectly acceptable if not encouraged), and Scott interrupted the doctor to say, “But this doesn’t mean people should run out and start drinking coffee, right? RIGHT?” The doctor tried to continue saying that he was just reporting the facts, not encouraging anyone to start drinking coffee, but Scottie wouldn’t let up. “It’s about the quality of the coffee, isn’t, doctor? Not the quantity, right? People should NOT be drinking a lot of coffee.” He had this look on his face like he couldn’t believe this was news, could they please get back to just how corrupt the city’s Democratic mayor is.
Thank you, Scott, for clearing that one up. God was watching you reporting about coffee and if you hadn’t MADE A POINT of letting God and the greater Salt Lake area know that you don’t approve of coffee then he would have assumed by your silence that you were CONDONING coffee and then you might have lost your job or at least your ability to take the sacrament with a clear conscience.
This morning they ran a report about a woman who got on a Southwest flight while wearing a shirt that said, “Meet the Fuckers” underneath a picture of President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and Condoleeza Rice. Flight attendants asked the woman to cover up her shirt during the flight but she fell asleep and the blanket shielding innocent passengers from her traitorous wardrobe fell off and exposed adult men and women to a cuss word. During the layover in Reno they told her she couldn’t continue on the flight because she was offending other customers. Video footage showed the woman defending herself by saying, “It’s just a play on the title of that movie with Ben Stiller, I don’t see what the big deal is. I don’t think it’s that offensive.” Cue Doctor Scott.
“NOT THAT OFFENSIVE?” he chirped like a baby bird just drop-kicked from a nest. Jon instantly paused the television as a symbolic gesture of OH MY GOD. We sat there in silence for several seconds, Leta between us sipping her breakfast, hoping that it wouldn’t end there, please don’t disappoint us, Scottie. The suspense was thrilling and we looked at each other like, “This is going to be the big one. I’m so glad you’re here to share it with me.”
Jon pressed play and Scott almost stood up from behind the newsdesk to announce, “IT’S NOT HER PLACE TO DECIDE WHAT IS AND WHAT ISN’T OFFENSIVE! I MEAN, NOT OFFENSIVE? WHAT?” We replayed that sequence a half-dozen times and then paused again on the weatherman’s reaction which went like this: Must hold shit together because someone on this show has to. Next to “The Daily Show” this is some of the best stuff on television. We TiVo every episode because I don’t want to miss it when Scott announces that the state legislature has banned sex outside of marriage and then adds, “It’s about time!”