Media Matters

* I just finished “No High Ground,” written in 1960 by Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey. It’s an informative and demoralizing account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All the secretive plans, all the strategic implications, all the moral equivocation. “This is for history, so watch your language. We’re carrying the first atomic bomb.” That was Enola Gay pilot Col. Paul Tibbets reminding crew members that he would be recording the intercom conversations on celluloid disks. Hard to imagine–such protocol and decorum preceding apocalyptic devastation of civilian populations.

* How ironic that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic rookie, media-magnet congresswoman from New York, was singled out by media and political observers for her un-dramatic, targeted questioning of Michael Cohen during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee. Too bad this non-grandstanding “AOC” model wasn’t the rule, instead of the exception. “AOC” was so prepared and business-like she wasn’t featured on “SNL’s” cold-opening, Cohen spoof.

* There’s unsolicited junk mail and then there’s … a Neptune Society flyer. You know you’ve reached a certain time line–and demographic–when you’re on the receiving end of cremation solicitations. But, as with much in life, there’s always humor, however mordant, to be found.

In the case of the Neptune Society, it takes me back to a previous incarnation as a staff writer for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. I was assigned a feature piece on the founder of the Neptune Society, Charles Denning. He had a studied look that featured a white mustache and goatee and a yachting cap worn at a jaunty angle. And, as incongruous as it seems for someone in the burial biz–including at sea–to be humorous, he was. He readily referenced the “burning issues” of the ever-burgeoning funeral business And he knew his calculated look was not unlike that of a certain Kentucky Fried Chicken icon. He was a parallel-universe “Colonel Cinders.” And that reference wound up in a TBBJ headline, much to the delight of the bylined reporter and a typically irreverent and pun-enamored production staff.

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