If I recall it was the Today Show on NBC that you frequently watched in the morning. Well, there is a retrospective video series called The Morning Show (TMS) now streaming (don’t ask) that takes you behind the scene.
The morning show you watched was broadcast from the TV station in Paducah, Kentucky and provided a splashy head-line driven version of overnight news and a lot of friendly talk about the weather, social trends and personal health. What I am talking about is an Apple TV+ series about morning shows called The Morning Show. The morning show was and I guess is still a big deal. Some things at least remain the same.
The owner of TMS is Apple; TV funded by the phone. Apple has so much money I suspect the broadcast networks avoid program rights auctions that Apple chooses to enter. Times have really changed.
The Apple version of TMS your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are watching stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon (big stars) as co-anchors of a fictitious morning show on a fictious network called UBA. Its narrative pitch: join us and we will give you an intimate look at what goes on as maniacal egos clash while underlings fight to move a step up the career ladder. I presume overstated; drama requires it.
Sorry Mom, but let me give it to you straight, the resulting clash is a f—ing one. Indeed, in its most demeaning segments the f-word erases linguistic art and is used so repetitively that it even loses whatever emphasis might be imagined.
The F-word is used as noun, adjective and verb. One critic noted, after giving credit to the actors and dramatic events, that “the language in this is very strong. Virtually every other sentence contains a variation on the F word. Even if this is how co-workers talk to each other in NYC or Hollywood, the constant barrage of profanity detracted from the actual story telling.”
Now let me join you on the altar of youth. I suspect even my daughters would say of me, “you don’t get it”. But maybe the writers and various layers of producers and distributors don’t get the irony. When the F word is, The Word, you cannot escape the down-draft pulling at civilization and at civility. Societies civilization, our civilization!
Anytime I write about language I think of you Mom. You were my critic and when I showed you my school papers, my editor. You had the final word. I wonder who has the final word today. Perhaps it should be the newest technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI). Yes, we are being replaced.
So, here is the question and answer I put to this robotic guide to all things:
Does language matter?
Absolutely, language is incredibly important. It’s the primary tool we use to communicate, convey ideas, express emotions, and share information. Language shapes our thoughts, influences our relationships, and plays a critical role in our societies and cultures. It can bridge gaps or create barriers, foster understanding or confusion, and even shape perceptions and beliefs. The way we use language can have profound effects on individuals and communities.
I hope this robotic response gives you some optimism. We need it. Love! Your Son.
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al writes on themes from his book, Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.