by Jack Lakeman, DP Editor-in-Chief
Monday, April 16th, 2012,
(ATLANTA) —Phone lines are melting and e-mail boxes are exploding at the Black Entertainment Television network (BET), following its complete and unexpected lack of coverage of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic over the weekend.
Millions of Americans instinctively tuned in to the BET’s various channels from Friday through Sunday, desiring and expecting nothing less than the most in-depth, non-stop coverage of the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic’s sinking. Tragically, however, coverage of the 1912 maritime disaster off the coast of Newfoundland was conspicuously absent from America’s first Black-owned television network, leaving the nation dumbfounded and traumatized.
Titanic coverage on the BET, the nation’s largest network specifically targeting younger African-Americans had become as common as spring rain, however this year jaws were left agape and tears flooded the faces of millions as the infamous cruise liner’s sinking passed totally unnoticed by the BET. The network’s callous neglect of the disaster’s anniversary has left Americans of all races bewildered, shaken, and in some cases enraged.
“When anybody thinks ‘Titanic’ they naturally think Black Entertainment Television!” said 17-year-old Heather Bannister, of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The white high school senior and cheerleading captain had had her heart set for wall-to-wall Titanic coverage on the BET all weekend. Instead, her hopes for gripping, heart-wrenching documentaries about the Titanic’s life and demise sank as hard as the great ship itself. Every five minutes, according to the blonde daughter of wealthy radiologists, she turned on the BET, expecting the inevitable –relentless Titanic coverage the likes of which the nation had never seen.
“But not one show –not one minute about Titanic on the BET!” cried Bannister, her face buried in her parents’ comforting arms. “I had to resort to History Channel’s five shows about Titanic instead! This is horrible!”
Bannister is hardly alone in her shock, with some famous names also decrying BET’s blackout (no pun intended) of Titanic reminiscence. Film director James Cameron, whose 1997 blockbuster “Titanic” brought the fading tragedy into American popular culture, said he was “outraged” that a sure thing like Black Entertainment Television’s weekend-long dedication to the 100th anniversary had not unfolded. “All that I’ve learned and explored over the years,” said Cameron to Duh Progressive Monday, “I was so excited to see what enlightening new specials the BET was surely to have about the Titanic. …Had my big bowl of popcorn, beer, by buddies over in my mancave to watch the BET....Then to only see episodes of The Parkers, Chris Rock’s Good Hair, Brothers to Brutha, Bobby Jones Gospel, Everybody Hates Chris, Lift Every Voice, Let’s Stay Together… Not one iota of Titanic on the BET! What the (expletive)?!”
Added Cameron, “How could you..? How could you, BET?! Letting our hopes down so much?! You’ve let the whole country down!”
BET’s parent company, Viacom, apologized to the country’s majority (vast, vast, vaaaaast majority) of Caucasian Titanic enthusiasts Monday, promising to make up for its insensitive shirking of the disaster’s anniversary. “The Black Entertainment Television network and the entire Viacom family regret any offense our failure to address the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking may have caused,” said Debra Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Networks at Viacom Monday. “Remaining with our regularly scheduled programming throughout this historic anniversary weekend was a mistake, a mistake BET–Viacom vows to make up to its incalculable throngs of white viewers.”
Lee urged BET viewers not to launch a boycott of the network or take any steps that would hamper its ability to make reparations for its titanic failure in Titanic coverage.
“Already the BET is preparing to compensate for this weekend,” Lee told Duh Progressive via phone interview Monday. “Beginning next Friday, for example, BET will air a three-hour special on the cast and crew of Dawson’s Creek: Where Are They Now?, followed by a ‘Modern Marvels’ themed series on the history of tuna fish sandwiches and advancements in lawn care, then finish off the weekend with 90210 replays. …And that’s just the beginning!”
Whether BET’s plans to undo the damage it has brought on itself are successful remain to be seen. Reporters caught up with comedian Chris Rock, creator of his childhood-based “Everybody Hates Chris” show, one of BET’s most popular, at a Los Angeles nightclub Sunday evening. When asked what he thought of the current BET-Titanic hubbub, Rock said he was unaware of the controversy. “Personally, I know nothing about this situation,” Rock said, “I didn’t catch any of the BET this weekend. I was too busy watching Green Acres reruns on TV Land.”
NOTE TO OUR (LIBERAL) READERS: No, dear liberal friends, contrary to what you may like to believe, Duh Progressive is not making fun of Black Americans in the above satirical article. On the contrary, it did not take long for coverage of the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking to genuinely get on our nerves, as there have been numerous maritime disasters even more tragic and deadly than 1912’s Titanic. Whatever cultural/marketing reasons it had for doing so, Duh Progressive, in its loving, non-PC way, congratulates the BET for not filling cable television anymore than it already was with Titanic programs this past weekend. …Furthermore, Everybody Hates Chris kicks ass.