Saturday, February 1, 2014
Too late to ask the Newseum to stay classy
Full disclosure: I have never been a Will Farrell fan. I think he's just brilliant as ego-drunk producer/director/backer Eric Jonrosh in The Spoils of Babylon, but that's about it. Never thought he was very good on Saturday Night Live (when he wasn't playing Bush.) Don't recall him making a particular impression on me in the few movies I happened to see him in. Maybe the films just sucked, but that's the way it is.
Another Full Disclosure: Before the Newseum decided to sell out (again) to the latest flavor of the month, I had already become more than sick of the constant Go See Anchorman messages from MLB, ESPN, my local news, car commercials etc. etc. etc. So when I saw Ron Burgundy moving in to a museum which once upon a time was supposed to be about the news, my first thought was "just another commercial."
Another Full Disclosure: I was very excited when the Newseum opened in downtown DC some years back, especially since the Washington Post has provided free tickets for High School students on field trips. I have taken several classes to the Newseum over the years. Most of the kids have really enjoyed the experience (we even did a class on creating a front page there once.) But I've been steadily souring on the place for quite some time now. There are the unfunny SNL skits blaring from television sets which can be heard a good distance from the exhibit. There's the disgusting, preposterous shrine to Tim Russert (seriously. Tim Russert has a shrine at the Newseum. Tim Russert. No kidding.) There's the fawning attitude toward FOX and CNN (I think Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Wolf Blitzer each get more face time at the Newseum than Edward R Murrow.)
So while I can say I'm disgusted at this most recent display of rank commercialism from the Newseum, I can't say I'm surprised; nor can I say that it's a "last straw," because I crossed off the Newseum as a Must See in DC quite some time ago, but I'll still take kids there because hey, it's still free, there's still good stuff to see there, and they still like it.
But I'm pretty sure I won't be dropping in on the Anchorman exhibit. I'll stick to the ancient newspapers on the top floor (polluted by SNL and Laugh-In clips on hanging tvs) and the Berlin Wall exhibit on the bottom floor. That way I can at least pretend- a little- that the directors of the Newseum didn't sell out to pop culture years ago. Still, it really is kind of a shame.
A shrine to Tim Russert. I still can't believe it. What the HELL were you thinking, Newseum?