Ogling The News (Blondes Invade TV)

By Jack Engelhard

[News Flash! A few days after I wrote this commentary and was still polishing it, the UK Telegraph, coincidentally, reported that “Blondes Dull Men’s Brains.” (I’m not making this up.) The article goes on to say, “Researchers concluded that men performed worse after they were shown pictures of fair-haired women.” So, it’s scientifically proven that blondes are coming to take over the world and turn the rest of us into mutants. Terrifying! We, men, may have to hide in caves to hide from the glare. I’ve already begun wearing sunglasses.]

How did the news get to be so blonde? This is not a complaint. In fact, this is a tribute, I think.

Back in the old days, when we thought only men can handle the truth, TV news was delivered by Serious White Males, like Walter Cronkite, which is not to say that the blondes who’ve taken over are not serious. I’m sure they’ve got the requisite gravitas, but they make the going so much sweeter. Wars, earthquakes, forest fires come and go. The blondes endure.

If you’re thinking Katie Couric, fine, but I’m not. I’m thinking mostly cable, CNN, MSNBC and Fox – mostly Fox. That’s where blondes have more fun. By this I mean nearly everyone, from the anchors to the guests, are blonde! The political commentators, the psychologists, the historians who arrive for sound bites- they’re all babes, but babes with brains.


Fiction Friction, News Blues

By Jack Engelhard


When I heard that an obscure French-born novelist had won the Nobel Prize, I thought it must be me and I began eyeing that red Cadillac. After all, I fit all three categories. I am obscure. I am French-born. I am a novelist. Who else could it be? A man named Jean-Marie Gustav Le Clezio, that’s who. Oh well, as we say in baseball (and the economy) – wait till next year.


I hope Le Clezio wins us over. This is not promising. There have been no long lines for preceding Nobel champs, big names like Orhan Pamuk and Elfriede Jelinek.


Hemingway got the jitters when he won it and in fact he wanted no part of it due to the jinx.


But I’m stalling. I’ve really come here to talk about THE DEATH OF THE NOVEL. The latest to have his crack at this is columnist Kyle Smith writing in today’s New York Post (Sunday, Oct. 12). He sums it all up, in my favorite newspaper, by saying (if not in those words) that, in this fast-paced age of technology, fiction does not speak for our times.