The inspiration for this spoof came to me when I tuned in to WTMA recently to listen to guest host Nancy Wolf. Her first caller was local TV celebrity Tom Crawford who immediately launched into slavering praise of Palmetto Goodwill CEO, Robert Smith. Never mind that old Bob lied to the Post and Courier about the funding for his organization…pure piffle.
Google the Post and Courier archives from March 23, 2011 and read an article titled: Nonprofit plight: Some agencies soared during recession, while others faltered. The reporter is listed as Renee Dudley. I communicated her and she confirmed that the section of the article about Goodwill was written by another reporter. At any rate, Goodwill CEO Bob Smith, flat out lies about not receiving government funding. As it turns out Palmetto Goodwill received over $10 million the previous year from the federal government (according to their own documents). That’s why I refer to him as Lyin’ Bob.
Local ABC affiliate, WCIV-TV 4, announced today that production has begun on a new local interest show featuring weatherman Tom Crawford and Robert Smith, CEO of Palmetto Goodwill. The half-hour Saturday afternoon show will offer humorous takes on Lowcountry living. Both have comedic backgrounds as Tom has worked years for a funny TV station and Bob is the boss at a funny charity.
I was granted an interview and learned the following: They met years ago at a gala sponsored by the Carolina Overseers Society and became instant friends…partly through their interest in tennis and golf and partly because they both have great hair.
Both are movers and shakers in the sub-St. Cecelia set and both can be found tittering and tattering at second-level social gatherings throughout the Lowcountry:
Me: I’ll start with you, Tom. I understand that this concept was your idea. How did it come to you?
Tom: Well, I was sitting around the office one day doing a little origami with some hurricane safety brochures when…well, it just occurred to me: Dammit, that Bob Smith sure is one swell guy!
Bob: Tom…truthfully…make me blush…if anybody in this room is swell…my friend, it is you…
Tom: No, Bob! All I do is report the weather, play a little tennis, and think about what a truly swell guy you are! I mean…you give jobs to all those really destitute folks and rake in a butt load of cash in the process! On the swell guy scale I give you a 10!
Me: I think you are both a couple of swell fellows but what is the show going to be about? You can’t sit around for thirty minutes every Saturday afternoon and give each other pats on the back and friendly noogies…never mind…let’s move on. Tell me a little about the creative process.
Tom: It occurred to me that if Bob is a swell guy and I am, as he claims, a swell guy…why don’t we get together and do a show? I called Bob…he came over to the station and we butted heads for a couple of hours. We agreed that it was a swell idea but couldn’t come up with a name for the show. One of the gals in the office came in to consult with us and asked a couple of questions. Her first question was: “What kind of guys are you?” We both chimed in simultaneously: “Hey, we are a couple of SWELL GUYS!”
Bob: Her next question was more challenging: “What is one plus one?” I was stymied and looked at Tom for support. He just shrugged his shoulders and passed it back to me. Finally, like clockwork, we both exclaimed: “We are Two Swell Guys!”
Tom: Think about it. What could be more fun and amusing than two really swell fellows such as ourselves commenting on Lowcountry happenings? It’s all ad libbed. You should see some of the outtakes. What a hoot!
Bob: Yup! Me and Tom think a lot about really swell stuff!
Tom: Bob, you remember that time we were laying out in that field on a beautiful spring day, chewing on weeds and looking up at the sky at the…uh, the…wait…my mind’s a bit muddled right now from all this thinking stuff. You know! Those puffy, hangy up in the air things…Help me here, Bob.
Bob: I haven’t a clue.
Me: Humm….puffy, hangy up in the air things? Could you be referring to clouds?
Tom: Clouds, of course! (slapping forehead) Dang! Just Dang! My mind is so awash in swell thoughts that I just plain forgot! Anyway, that meadow is where Bob and I had our first argument. We were using our imaginations to find familiar objects in cloud shapes when I saw one really strange formation that I couldn’t get a handle on. Then it hit me: It looked like the Easter Bunny humping a three legged burro. Bob got all pissed off because he said I shouldn’t make fun of sacred religious icons like the Easter Bunny.
Bob: It’s still a sore spot, Tom.
Me: You know, I think that the Two Swell Guys idea is pretty good except that, to an extent, it seems like you are borrowing on the old Saturday Night Live routine with Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd. They called their act Two Wild and Crazy Guys. Do you owe your venture into humor to the influence of these two comedy greats?
Tom: Really? I never thought of that. Could be. Maybe not.
Bob: Dan Who? I-gotta-pee…
(5 minute break)
Me: This is quite an interesting set that you have constructed…mirror walls, mirror desk, mirror floors. This would appear, to the casual observer, a bit on the narcissistic side.
Tom: Oh, heaven’s no, that would be silly. We don’t look at our own reflections. We gaze at each other’s reflection! I can’t help but say it…whenever I see Bob’s image in the glass, I think to myself: “Crap in a handbag! That old Bob sure is a swell guy!”
Bob: Ditto, Tom, Ditto…
It went on like this for another twenty minutes or so but I had long since turned off my tape recorder and tried to get a little shuteye while these two argued about who was the swellest.
As I stated at the beginning, this article was inspired by Tom’s effusive praise of a very dubious character. I am not surprised, however, as our local TV media is little more than a support mechanism for the powerful, wealthy, and influential among us. These are not journalists in any meaningful sense of the word. They have sold their souls to become an integral, well-compensated part of a system whereby lies and misdirection are used to control a gullible populace. Don’t believe me? Spend a little time on the net reading about Edward Bernays, the father of public relations and the author of “Propaganda,” a book published in 1928. Mr. Bernays constructed a blueprint on how to manipulate and control a population so that the elite can pursue even greater power and profit.
Despite the fact that Edward Bernays was Jewish, one of his most ardent disciples was Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda. Bernays was also the nephew of Sigmund Freud. Want to see some frightening revelations about how our world really works? Go to YouTube and search “Edward Bernays and the Art of Public Manipulation.”
So it goes, on and on, a never ending litany of complete bullshit spewed out by people who have become socialized into a corrupt system. They really don’t know any better and are, quite frankly, too lazy and compromised to give a hoot. They pull out all the stops to go after the least among us while, at the same time, giving a pass to the crooks who own the system. Here is a link to one of the most comprehensive exposes of media corruption that I have ever read:
Perhaps I am being overly harsh in my criticism of the local TV celebrities. On a personal level they are probably decent, well-intentioned folks. Last year I got into a friendly email discussion with a local news anchor (unnamed) and was told something to the effect that “hey, we do a lot of good things!” Granted. You show up at charitable events and conduct toy drives and so much more in the way of good works.
I would submit, however, that this laudable activity has become a substitute for conducting the prime directive of the press in a democratic state…reporting the news no matter who gets the anvil of truth dropped on his or her toes. I know it’s not really your fault. You have to submit your tips and ideas to editors who know what the owner expects in the way of programming. The prime directive reads as follows: 1) Do not offend or expose their golf and/or tennis buddies. 2) If thar be profit in lies, misdirection, and firemen rescuing kitties from trees…go for it!
In order to participate in this charade and simultaneously retain a sense of personal worth, these media players must possess an astounding capacity for self-deception. It helps that the bubbly individuals who are selected to act as the public persona for our local TV stations do not possess much in the way of critical thinking skills…just your average IQ Jan and Joe with nice teeth, good hair, and a plastic smile.
Channel 5 news promotes idiotic tripe such as the recent report about a two-headed snake that was found in South Carolina. Another station airs a report on which fast food restaurant has the best smoothie. Crap in a ossuary! Anyone with a professional journalistic conscience who is forced to read this drivel should, at the very least, be allowed to wear a paper bag over their head…or to recite this piffle in a dunce cap while sitting in a corner facing a wall. No wonder so many intelligent, discerning folks are turning to the internet for their news.
*If you look at the archives section on the right hand side of this page and scroll down to December of 2010, you will find a link to an article titled “I Want to Fly Like A Buzzard.” It is a rather fanciful account of a scam operating out of the back rooms of several local car dealerships some years back. I was drawn in by a print ad offering sales jobs with no experience necessary. In reality, there were no such jobs available. It was just a scheme to milk funds from desperate, unemployed schmucks like myself. This is the sort of highly questionable behavior by big advertisers that you will never hear about from our friendly TV news readers.