The 24 hour news cycle breeds repetition, regurgitation, and flat out fabrication just to fill the space. It also betrays humanity really isn’t as exciting and enthralling as we think we are.

Example: Britney Spears hasn’t been culturally relevant for at least a decade, and Madonna even less so, yet the 24 news cycle reports any new drama from these past musical sexpots like we’ve bated our breath in trigger-light anticipation of Britney Scandal or Madonna Shock Gimmick. Never mind most Mr. Beast fans have no clue (and no care) who Britney and Madonna are. And those of us who do remember Britney and Madonna are too mired in crippling debt and senility to take notice.

A week or two ago Britney revealed she got knocked up by Justin Timberlake and aborted the pregnancy, and I had to scratch out the memory the two dated and were a power couple and tabloid darlings and that’s so many years ago I still had a hint of a hairline. But for the 24 hour news cycle this is spinning fools gold from straw. The 24 hour news cycle is milking this geriatric scandal so hard their cash cow died of dehydration. The 24 hour news cycle is so desperate for filler they’d gladly be Richard Gere’s pet hamster just to have something ……

Maybe one too many witty metaphors. I’m standing by them.

It’s fair to say power couple Justney … or was is Britstin … or was it Timberspears … it’s fair to say this huge pregnancy revelation feels like it requires great expositional context in historical tomes simply to fill in any gaps in memory or for learning anew. It’s like a particularly annoying coworker being even more annoying one day that, gosh darn it all, you just snap and make the snarky pop culture reference, “With people like you on this planet thank every star above Felix Hoffman grew up to be a chemist!”

Extending the analogy (I’ll wait here until you get back from Wikipedia), there is no modern context for the 1897-based retort so the allusion to telling your coworker he gives you a headache is empty and pointless. In order to understand the flabbergasted insult the coworker would need to hit up Wikipedia – just like you did right now admit to it.

That’s what the news of Timberspears getting pregnant and having an abortion requires for understanding. A trip to Wikipedia. And the 24 hour news cycle has been reporting on this for over a week now. They’re shamefully extending the non-news by digging up other historic past relevant celebs for their reaction to the scandal. In some cases, literally digging them up as most celebs from that historic era are dead. Exaggeration. But maybe their careers are dead, so figuratively they’re as good as dead in the eyes and reckoning of celeb worldview.

The point being is there are just not enough significant things going on in the world all 24 hours of a day to justify the 24 hour news cycle. Inescapably, the importance of marginally relevant happenings are conflated and inflated beyond any proportional social value or impact. Britney got pregnant by Justin and had an abortion. In the Olde World where the news cycle was at 7 and 10, this type of “remember when Britney and Justin dated” nostalgia would be a quick line just before the closing human interest story of a puppy born with three heads has three times the love to give.

This might not be the most timely critique because we’re now entering a world where war or multiple fronts pitting geography and ideology in direct conflict … Russia, Ukraine, China, Taiwan, NATO, Hamas, Israel, Iran, Syria, North Korea … almost as if the whole world is becoming involved … very much like a threatening world war some might say … and there is promise of lots of things happening during 24 hours justifying and filling the day long news cycle. But even this isn’t a guarantee. The Hamas terror attack happened on October 7, it’s now two and half weeks later, and the 24 hour news cycle has been reporting on the “impending and certain land invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel” since October 8. And because the ground invasion hasn’t occured, the 24 hour news cycle is holding interviews with former high ranking military talking heads asking what a full scale invasion of Gaza might look like and just how many innocent civilians might die.

If we can’t have an actual full scale ground invasion of Gaza, we can always dream of such a travesty, and the 24 hour news cycle is always right there ready to fill in the space for that dream. Much like Richard Gere’s pet hamster.

Google it, Millennials and Zoomers. It’s the timeless joke that keeps on giving.