“An advisory has been issued urging Village (of Fredonia) and town (of Pomfret) residents to boil their drinking water until further notice as a precaution, because of a large water main break early this morning. The break has been located and the plant is working to capacity again but this is a precaution we must take. Please share this information.” ~ Village of Fredonia NY Facebook Page — October 21st, 2017
George Carlin, perhaps the most famous comedian of all time, started many of his shows by asking the audience if the local water was safe to drink. He claims to have never gotten a positive response. Here’s an example from his 1992 HBO special in New York City:
“It amuses me that no one can really trust the water anymore, and the reason I like it is that it means the system is beginning to collapse, and everything is starting to break down. I enjoy chaos and disorder . . . And of course it’s not just in nature–in the country, the social structure (is) just beginning to collapse. You watch–(it’s) just beginning to come apart at the edges and the seams–and the thing I like about that is that it makes the news on television more interesting! It makes it more exciting! It makes the TV news more fun! I watch TV news for one thing and one thing only: entertainment. That’s all I want from the news: entertainment. You know my favorite thing on television? Bad news.”
The five-minute clip is hilarious and worth watching to better understand this post.
The astute observer notices that Carlin is pointing out our human tendency to watch the news, including water main breaks, as a consumer of entertainment rather than as an engaged citizen.