I wrote weekly editorials for a boutique industry newsletter for several years, anxious for both audience and income. I learned a lot about coming up with ideas for the weekly grind, trying to be simultaneously opinionated and entertaining in a few hundred words, and not sleeping much because I was working all the time. They’re fun to read as a look back at what was important then (and often still important now).
I wrote this piece in January 2010.
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Everybody Must Watch Jay Leno at 11:35 Eastern
By Mr. HIStalk
I’m excited about the government’s encouragement (or mandate, depending on your perspective) that doctors use electronic medical records. Mandatory progress must go on despite the gripes of a few malcontents (i.e., the majority of doctors, patients, and taxpayers).
It is a travesty that more healthcare providers don’t use computers. Software can make healthcare as transparent, efficient, and consumer-driven as other organizations that have spent billions of taxpayer dollars on technology (such as the IRS, the military, and Medicare). The federal government must intervene when minimally educated and technologically illiterate doctors refuse to adopt EMRs voluntarily in their private businesses.
(It worked for TVs. The government decided that Americans should enjoy the benefit of watching cultural programming such as “Judge Judy” and “America’s Next Top Model, in visually stunning high-definition glory. The FCC ordered broadcasters to switch exclusively to HDTV, thus stimulating the economy by selling tons of imported flat panel TVs, enriching lenders as financially strapped citizens let the balance ride on their high-interest credit cards, and increasing landfill employment to bulldoze now-useless tube models.)
In fact, I believe that this “cure all ills” administration needs to take a step further. It’s time to support the most visible employee of the biggest EMR vendor company – Jay Leno.
Jay’s audience, like that of EMRs, has been pathetic in number and more indifferent than loyal. Hype and gimmicks weren’t enough to entice viewers (even the large number of unemployed ones with nothing better to do) to sit through an hour of his cheaply produced and repetitive nightly show.
Jay is a national treasure, too important to be left to the whims of fickle TV viewers. It is therefore essential to mandate, for the economic good and the image of America worldwide, that every one of those new LCD TVs must be tuned to NBC’s “Tonight Show” every night once Jay comes back.
(NBC’s owner GE bought back Jay’s 11:35 slot with $40 million of its own cash. Admirably, it did not ask for a federal Conan bailout.)
To encourage the development of cultural refinement in appreciating Jay’s hilarity and keen interviewing skills, it will be necessary to equip cable and satellite receivers with sensors that will detect households that are not compliant at least four of five consecutive weeknights. Those tuning in will receive a rebate on their bills that non-watchers will forego. After a few years, those non-adapters will have a “Jay support surcharge” included on their bills.
Each viewer must also be a Meaningful Viewer, jotting down Jay’s bon mots for repeating later, paying attention to the commercials, and laughing with significant amplitude at Jay’s latest carefully constructed John Edwards quip (rim shot!) This, too will be monitored electronically.
Jay is an experienced late-nighter, so it would not be prudent to spent taxpayer money on untested hosts such as Conan O’Brien. Therefore, Jay alone has been certified for the 11:35 slot. All other programs, such as the Magic Jack infomercial or “Cake Boss” marathons, are not permitted even when Jay has on dull guests such as Paris Hilton or Larry the Cable Guy.
Lastly, it is imperative that Jay receive feedback about which of his jokes and sketches are working. Technology will be added to the set-top box to solicit constant feedback about the quality of Jay’s humor, which will be de-identified and aggregated quarterly for analysis by the same crack NBC executives who couldn’t make his show work before. With this information, Jay can develop monologue templates that the government will mandate for use by up-and-coming comics, thereby protecting viewers from edgy humor from fresh newcomers.
All of this government spending will actually prove profitable to taxpayers, according to bailout expert Timothy Geithner. While Jay’s show will probably never make money, it will provide an effective advertising platform for the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. What’s good for GM is good for the country, given that the country now owns 61 percent of GM.
Does Jay think this bold, essential plan will work? You bet! His new sidekick Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (merged from a previously retired product line) says you can “bank” on it (rim shot!)