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6:11 pm EDT        78°F (26°C) in Corfu, NY

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I’m not yet hired into the new job, unfortunately, but we did take several steps forward on that path yesterday. As I mentioned in my last update, I had an interview with their hiring manager yesterday afternoon; I would say that went quite well, with a number of questions asked and answered on both sides. He also had me fill out some of the forms that are always required when starting a new job, such as the W-4 tax withholding form and I-9 citizenship verification form.

It looks like the next step is for them to conduct a background check; however, the person who I’m told is responsible for that is — guess what? — on vacation this week, and I’ll probably have to wait as much as two weeks to know anything about that. I swear, people being on vacation are quickly turning into the bane of my existence, but I’m going to do whatever I have to do — even if it means exercising the proverbial patience of Job — to get this position. Anyway, once the background check is done, only a drug test and D.O.T. physical would then stand in the way of starting employment with them.

The hiring manager told me that I probably ought not expect to start there much before mid-July, given the time needed to do the background check and a few other things. That actually won’t be all bad for me, because I have set things up with my current company so that I will be at home from July 3 to July 17 — my usual seven days per month of unpaid time off, plus the week of vacation time I have remaining. I’m envisioning a scenario where I return this piece of shit truck to my current company’s Columbus, OH terminal at some point near the end of that period, just before I start working for the new company.

(Of course, half the reason this truck is such a piece of shit is the dumbfuck mechanics the company employs at our terminals. I’ve got a serious air leak from the engine fan clutch again; a company shop supposedly “fixed” that back in February, but as I’m finding out now, they obviously half-assed it. This is just one of the many reasons I can hardly wait to hear the words “you’re hired” from the new company.)

While driving through Cleveland, OH today, I tuned in Newsradio 1100 WTAM for a while. Perhaps you’ve heard about the case of 26-year-old Jessie Davis of North Canton, OH, who went missing from her home in that town an hour south of Cleveland about a week ago, just before she was due to give birth to her second child. Obviously, it would make sense for “Cleveland’s only news radio,” as WTAM bills itself, to cover the story. However, their half-hourly news reports went well beyond covering the story, and into the territory of what I would call flogging it to death.

This pattern of flogging missing-white-woman stories to death is really starting to get on my last nerves. The FAUX “News” Channel is STILL reporting the Natalee Holloway story, some 25 months after she disappeared in Aruba, despite the fact that she is almost certainly dead if she hasn’t turned up by now. On a more local note around my Michigan home, the TV stations spent much of this past February similarly beating the hell out of the story of Tara Grant, a successful 34-year-old businesswoman who would be found dead and dismembered in early March. Any time there’s a missing white woman, it seems, the media is all over it even worse than flies on shit.

Let me state for the record that I have no problem with merely reporting the stories of missing white women as news. I’m getting sick and fucking tired, though, of the media turning every such case into a seven-ring circus that would put Barnum & Bailey to shame. Seriously, do we really need WTAM to create “bumper” audio bits consisting of somber music, with an overly dramatized, deadly-serious voice-over intoning “The Disappearance of Jessie Davis — Continuing Coverage on Newsradio 1100 WTAM”? Does it add anything to the story for WXYZ-TV (channel 7 in Detroit, ABC affiliate) and WDIV-TV (channel 4, NBC) to create full-screen graphics with Tara Grant’s picture, superimposed “TARA GRANT DISAPPEARANCE” text in huge capital letters, and similar over-dramatized music, to be shown three times each newscast as they lead into the story? What do we gain from the twice-daily press conferences given by law enforcement?

Frankly, the media circuses (or is it circi? wink) that surround all of these white-woman disappearances actually do a disservice to women, by reinforcing anti-woman Reich-wing political framing. FAUX “News,” the original and best example of Reich-wing insanity in the media, pioneered this pattern of flogging missing-white-woman stories to death with the Holloway case, because they realized it supported ultra-conservative attitudes toward women. Fundamentally, Reich-wingers believe that there are only two kinds of women: pure, virginal maidens who know their place “below” men and can’t possibly enjoy sex outside of giving the man his pleasure, or slutty whores who can’t keep their legs shut and do nothing but have abortions all the time.

By flogging these stories to death, and particularly the Holloway one, Reich-wingers paint these pretty missing white women as the first kind of woman: the pure, innocent victim. Of course, if these women were to turn up alive after only a few days, having just decided to go out and enjoy themselves and get away from it all (even if their actions weren’t sexual in nature at all), Reich-wingers would trip over themselves painting them as the other kind of woman — the “evil” kind. This kind of framing of missing-white-woman stories by the Reich-wing media (and also by more balanced local media outlets, who just ape the FAUX “News” framing because it gets ratings) is disgustingly sexist and chauvinistic right down to its very core, with its assertions that (a) only women who submit themselves to men are good and (b) women who have any kind of independent streak are Satan incarnate.

That doesn’t even begin to get into the more subtle, but still visible, racism inherent in these media circuses. Although I don’t remember the woman’s name, largely because her story was buried by the Tara Grant one, there was a black woman from Detroit who went missing around the same time Grant disappeared. WXYZ, at least, gave her story a minimal amount of coverage, devoting a grand total of maybe two or three 45-second slots on their newscasts to it; however, WXYZ’s coverage of the Grant disappearance — probably at least 3-5 minutes per newscast, for a month’s worth of newscasts — dwarfed any coverage that this black woman’s disappearance received.

I’m not necessarily going to accuse WXYZ-TV of overt racism for their comparative treatment of these two stories. Rather, what they are guilty of doing is emulating a truly racist, anti-woman, homophobic, disgusting media outlet — FAUX “News” — in a desperate hunt for higher ratings and the resulting higher advertising rates and profits. As I said above, the Reich-wingers at FAUX “News” aren’t as dumb as we would like to believe they are, and they came to realize that flogging the Natalee Holloway story to death shot their ratings through the roof. Like the bunch of lemmings they are, local media outlets have simply copied the FAUX “News” formula in their own quest for higher ratings or circulations.

I told you I wasn’t going to shy away from making my usual controversial entries, and this one is no exception. Like I said, I have nothing against pretty white women, and if and when any of them go missing, it absolutely should be reported as news. It just ought not be blown way the fuck out of proportion to other news, as media outlets throughout the country have become wont to do in the last few years.

All right, everybody, enjoy your longest day (sunrise to sunset) of the year and first day of summer. I’ll be on my way to Erie, PA tomorrow morning, and Atlanta, GA for Sunday.