I’ll have to admit that I’m a junkie for sports and news. On the sports side I listen to ESPN reporters on radio and television. On the news side I watch MSNBC, CNBC, FOX and PBS. The problem with indulging in media is the waste of time spent exposing yourself to the “talking heads.” My definition of “talking head” is a reporter or so-called expert who has a reasonable knowledge of a subject matter saddled with the obligation to give it constant attention until the story is no longer relevant. My premise is that talking heads are a bad habit for those of us who have more important things to do in life. A couple of examples should suffice.
For two weeks everyone in America knew that the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to play the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl on February 6th. All kinds of football expert “talking heads” mulled over every defensive and offensive strategy, whether or not the talent of Aaron Rodgers would overcome the experience of Ben Roethlisberger, how hard James Harrison would hit, how much a factor Clay Matthews or Troy Polamalu would be in the game, and on and on. For literally 14 days prior to the game these talking heads spent literally thousands of hours blabbing about endless possibilities to anyone foolish enough to listen to them. But ultimately, none of these experts really knew what was going to happen on Super Bowl Sunday. In fact, their ability to predict the outcome was no better than that of a reasonably knowledgeable fan.
This past week the media been focused on the Egyptian protests. Different kinds of political expert talking heads were involved in this media marathon; namely, politicians, former Government officials, political science professors, and so on. At the end of the week these talking heads speculated for hundreds of hours about the future of Egypt and its people, all to no avail. The bottom line is that these political talking heads have no more insight into Egypt’s future than the sporting talking heads have about how many sacks Clay Mathews will make in the super bowl.
Nevertheless, the talking heads go on and on. Those who spend too much time listening to them are wasting their time. I’m guilty of spending far too much time listening to the talking heads. About a week before the Super Bowl, I stopped listening to the “heads”, realizing that, as they say in sports, “that’s why they play the game”. Regarding Egypt, we’ll have a lot better idea of what kind of a future the Egyptians will have in a year or two. Besides, the talking heads will forget about Egypt in just a few days, when an even better story takes front stage to waste our time….like some guy concerned that his six year old kid is inside a hot air balloon floating randomly over Ft. Collins, Colorado.