One of the things we naturally “had to do” on our first visit to New York was see a Broadway play. We’ve seen great theatre elsewhere, including in Spokane, but there’s nothing quite like taking a subway to Times Square, eating dinner with cheesecake for dessert at Junior’s and then walking to a show. On our first visit to the city, that show was “Chicago.” (We had previously seen the film, which stars Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.)
When Joanna and I met, I was a journalist and she knew little about the profession. One thing we had in common, however, was our lack of respect for what television news had already become. Cable news arrived in the year we met (CNN was founded that year), which has made the media landscape even worse. A big problem is the focus on entertainment — on “razzle dazzle” — rather than on news that actually affects our lives.
For example, back on the morning of Oct. 25, the “breaking news” lead story on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC was one that told us nothing new of importance about a the death of a cute white girl who was murdered 14 years ago. Oh, and by the way: Since the death of Jon Benet Ramsey, more than 140 million children under the age of 5 have died — mostly of things (starvation, disease, bad water, war, etc.) that we could prevent if we had the will to do so. (The good news is that child death rates have dropped significantly in recent years, after holding remarkably steady for decades.)
“Razzle Dazzle” lampoons the media for its shallowness and is, of course, one of the best songs from “Chicago.” Lyrics here, with song from Jerry Orbach and the original 1975 cast below.