One of the odd things about American news programs is how little American news they feature. Typhoons and hurricanes, crazies and lone gunmen, Barack Obama staging a press conference, 10 seconds about the Middle East, a famous actor doing something scandalous, back to the weather: All this giddy fragmentation is further punctuated by so many commercial breaks or mentions of what’s coming up after those breaks that it can be hard to tell the difference between reportage and retail.
America itself — its landscapes, rhythms, textures — is more invoked than evoked. A mere brand or sign. A tool to manufacture a togetherness that doesn’t exist.