Happy In Bag

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Cruiser 980, Clear

Many people use blogs as electronic confessionals. I’ve never done that. Until now.

My shameful transgression is my enthusiastic consumption of pulp journalism. I love lurid crime reporting on radio and television.

The current queen of disgrace is CNN’s Nancy Grace. She acts as a breathless prosecutor, judge and jury of sensational crimes. Her obvious arousal and bloodlust are obscene. And I watch her whenever I can. Over on Fox, Greta Van Susteren’s nightly program is slightly more responsible. Consequently, her work is less compelling even though she covers the same cases as Nancy.

And what are these cases? The details change but the primary subject matter is constant. It seems that there’s a constant supply of brutal murders of attractive white women. These programs shamelessly revel in the bloodshed, speculate on motives, and rush to judgement on a slate of suspects.

I’m saddened by these tragedies, of course. Aside from our common humanity, though, I have no personal connection to the Alabama teen lost in Aruba or to the prominent attorney’s wife bludgeoned to death in California. It’s clearly prurient interest that keeps me, and hundreds of thousands of other people, watching.

It’s barbarity as entertainment. Or mayhem as distraction.

Locally, KMBZ radio’s film noir-ish field reports continue the pattern. This morning, their reporter detailed a nasty mishap from north of the river. And his sign off is just plain cool: "I’m Dan Verback from Cruiser 980. Clear."

Best of all is KCTV’s 10pm news broadcast. The "Live, Late-Breaking, Investigative" program focuses on crime, fires and accidents. I’ll pick up local government, national and international news elsewhere, thank you very much. Just give me the savage details about the day's cases of domestic violence and robbery. It’s pure trash, and I lap it up.

I don’t know if I can break this habit. I don’t even know if I want to end it. What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with us?


  • At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you are not alone. i used to work at the johnson county admin offices and it made my day just to SEE dan verbeck.

  • At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That picture is NOT cruiser 980. Cruise 980 is a small Alero (tan in color). Good luck seeing it, though, Dan Verbeck is ALL over KC. It really is his city. Love his reporting. Wish that KMBZ would play his reports later in the day.


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