“Sometimes I look around for something to comment on because I feel like making fun of something. But everything’s just too busy making fun of itself.” — Mark

An essay on Poynter.org, about why writers should stop whining: “The writer’s life is so hard, Hemingway and his ilk taught us, that only drinking, drugs, and infidelity forestall the dissolution that awaits us.”

the next big thing — just you wait
While I was driving with Mark last week on a random roadtrip, I had a realization. It was just an ordinary Sunday, and we were going from Richmond to D.C., through a fairly unpopulated stretch of Virginia. And yet, we’d been stuck in traffic for two hours, in an endless line of cars creeping along. There are too many cars on the road, I decided. And then, in a flash of inspiration, I decided that the public needed to be educated. They must realize the absurdity of having an enormous interstate highway that moves no faster than a kid on Rollerblades.

Thus, Mark and I brainstormed an idea called The Traffic Channel. It would do two things. 1) Entertain viewers enough to make them watch. 2) Secretly infect their brains with anti-auto propaganda by showing them nothing but cars and stupidity. Potential shows:

  • Shotgun: A camera rides along with a funny, pissed-off driver commenting on the stupid actions of other drivers.
  • Stupid Car Chases: Because people will watch those things for hours.
  • The License Plate Hour: Dumb vanity plates and interviews with their owners, alternate state mottos, and maybe even some License Plate Bingo.
  • Road Rage: A Cops-like show of people’s reactions to traffic mishaps.
  • In The Field: Daily Show-esque breaking news reports from rural and suburban locales where there are more people on the highway running through town than living in the town itself.
  • Did That Pay Off?: A game show based on video clips of drivers making “time-saving” moves like changing lanes at tollbooths, riding the shoulder in traffic jams and cutting other drivers off. Contestants predict whether the driver actually saved time.
  • How’d That Happen?: A similar game show, based on interviews with drivers about their dented up, smashed up vehicles. Contestants predict what happened.
  • Car Karaoke: Because who doesn’t like to sing in the car?
  • And… you get the idea.

    So. What do you think? Will the Traffic Channel become the next big thing? As big as… the Weather Channel?

“It’s a fight. It’s a mad fight. It’s like getting on the school bus… people pushing and shoving. I don’t know why they do it this way.” — man to his obviously scared children, on Southwest Air’s open seating policy