Saturday, September 09, 2006

K-K-K-Katie, The G-G-G-Girl We Adore


Earlier this week, Katie Couric performed the nearly unprecedented feat of reading from a teleprompter on a major network newscast while owning a set of ovaries. This event received unprecedented news coverage and her performance, down to every tick and twitch, has become the most minutely analyzed scene since the Zapruder film. The Washington Post alone has done dozens of previews, reviews, analyses, post-mortems, and follow-ups and that doesn’t even include Joel Achenbach’s online meta-parody.

My reaction?

Orange.

Ooompa Loompa Orange.

The episode of Friends where Ross can’t figure out a tanning spray booth orange.

Bad 1960s kitchen appliance orange.

In some shots her skin tone was deeper than the wood grain on the new desk they kept walking her in front of. Since I’m being catty, I must say that while I found the just-short-of-perky tilted head annoying, more disturbing was the way she kept thrusting her chin at the camera like a curious ostrich in order to hide any possible neck waddle the nip and tuckers have missed.

If this sounds shallow and superficial, that’s because that’s the level of scrutiny they invited. The big news before the broadcast was just how Photoshopped® her publicity photo was. Like 47% of the NASCAR-level wreck anticipating rubberneckers that tuned in that night, I’m not a regular watcher of the nightly news. My primary news sources are the Comcast splash page and Wonkette. I do regularly read the Washington Post and Time magazine, but it’s for perspective and context, not for breaking news.

Content-wise, the major network news shows aren’t much different than Naked News. The differences are style and production values. CBS does spend much more on burkhas for its news hotties. But on the web, I am much less likely to run across Morgan Spurlock by accident.

In this infotainment universe we live in, the true value of a celebrity is the ability to draw eyeballs. In this arena, Katie is just behind People That Repeat Stale Jokes On Hit Sitcoms, which is pretty rarefied territory, making her worth about 375 mid-career public school teachers. To put it another way, assuming 5 minutes of airtime a night and 2 weeks of vacation, every second of Katie flashing through the ether costs CBS $250.

This information is really only valuable to advertising account executives for medically unnecessary pharmaceuticals still under patent. Bad open-mike comics do it better, but I find news show ads more depressing than the stories. The day I am in that demographic segment will depress me enough to need the mood enhancers they are peddling.

Geek Corner: The photomontage I made was my first ever true experiment with Adobe® Photoshop® Elements. I had a little trouble finding a high enough resolution snippet of Katie's face for me to up the saturation on. Most of the publicity pictures from that first night were very wide angle shots of the fancy set that was polished to the same level of Max Headroom sheen as Katie’s complexion. For the Oompa Loompas, I insist on the original Gene Wilder Willie Wonka version. It was well publicized that Tim Burton just digitally cloned one actor over and over for his Oompa Loompas. Which may be how we get our news anchors in the future as well.

11 comments:

Catherine said...

I love the photomontage. Fortunately newsreaders aren't paid that much in New Zealand, although compared to the average wage of the rest of the population, they are beginning to get up there (both in money and unearned adulationj).
Michele sent me.

Harmonica Man said...

I didn't see Katie's network anchor premier and most likely won't for a long time since I rarely get the chance to watch the evening news. If you ever stumble across a link to her first appearance please shoot me the link. I've never seen an ostrich do the news before!

yellojkt said...

This clip has a few of her characteristic head thrusts in it.

yellojkt said...

Here is a clip of her first broadcast. You can find anything on YouTube.

TOR Hershman said...

There is no Katie Couric in foxholes, by moi.

Stay on Groovin' Safari,
TOR

Harmonica Man said...

Thanks for the video links. I just watched them with the sound off so I wouldn't disturb the rest of my office, and it's probably even funnier that way!

J.Po said...

And how do you know that Brian Williams doesn't own a pair of ovaries at home in a jar somewhere, huh?

Just askin'.

kamagra said...

People do crazy thing to get 15 minutes of fame. I think that she is quite crazy to do something like that.

relationship said...

This can't work as a matter of fact, that is exactly what I believe.

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