News today: Much ado about nothing

They say no news is good news, and if that’s the case, well then things are just fine and dandy in our world. An article in this week’s Sunday New York Times Week in Review section, headlined “Looking for Something to Say About Nothing” proclaims, rather boldly, “There is no news anymore.”It’s not that there’s nothing to fill up newspapers and tv and radio broadcasts — quite to the contary, the news industry is humming along nicely these days, with revelations of possible life on Jovian moons, mysterious fighter plane disappearances and the First Lady dismissing Whitewater conspiracists as loonies of the UFO/Hale-Bopp breed. (Hey, they should make a TV show about this stuff. They could call it, like, “The X-Files”, or something.)And it’s not even that the nature of news itself has changed noticeably in the last several months. Instead, according to the article, there simply is no news any more.But there’s more to this phenomenon… no really, there is. So here’s my theory: Nothing has become the News (Capital letters R fun!). Surreptitiously, gradually, and did I mention ever-so-sneakily, Nothing has invaded our culture, our politics, our homes and our dreams. All that’s happened, finally, is that the newsmakers in this country have caught on, and begun to reflect the trend.It’s no big deal, really… in fact, it’s nothing. Want proof? The economy: The experts’ consensus on Wall Street’s recent tumbles? Merely a correction. Nothing to worry about. Whitewater: White House: Nothing here! The press: It can’t be nothing! It smells like something! The American public: Nobody cares! Turn back to the Knicks game.Pop culture: Seinfeld. Still popular, and continuing to spawn insipid imitations that just aren’t quite as astute in capturing the distinct flavor, the meaning, the full effect, of pure nothing.China, Zaire, Hong Kong, Middle East, any other foreign nation or region: Nothing the American public ever cared about for very long, or probably ever will.Fashion: This spring, it’s all sheer-to-nothing, or you’re wasting your time.Cuisine: The closer to 0 calories and 0 grams of fat, the better. The rediscovery of air as the missing ingredient in soufflés, muffins, sauces, chocolate, sirloin steak, chicken chimichangas, is just waiting to happen. Literature: Far ahead of the curve, has already produced volumes on the semiotics of nothing, only to conclude you-know-what.Need I say more? Welcome to the 21st century! There’s a whole lotta nothing going on out there, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sure, there’s always a fine brouhaha out there about something or other going on. But don’t worry. It’s just much ado about nothing.

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