So, just like the show Lost, we've now seen the white and black smoke, met the new leader, and yet we still have no idea how we got here, really. Which is to say: the Pope watch is officially over, and thank God for that. Things got kind of embarrassing near the end.
The constant cable news coverage over the last few days was bit much considering no one knew anything about what was happening in the conclave, probably the last place on Earth without an embedded source, or hackable wi-fi. It led to some pretty embarrassing moments on TV:
In the age of the 24 news cycle, an absolutely-closed door meeting of cardinals is the last possible thing that should be dominating the coverage. It seemed like every major network had their own dedicated papal chimney live stream going so you, too, could follow along every few hours from home. It led to some pretty ridiculous memes, like today's infatuation with a seagull that was perched on top of the chimney for an hour or so. Eventually, another seagull friend came and shooed him away. Away from our hearts, and Twitter accounts, forever.
In the mean time, papal officials had to satisfy reporters' hunger for stories by revealing the inner most Da Vinci Code worthy secrets of the church -- like, for example, how exactly the black and white smoke gets made. (Hint: stop it with the bong jokes. Weed isn't involved.) They had a sense of humor about it, thankfully, and laughed the silly questions off. But they also had to answer stupid questions like whether or not the smoke would harm the cardinals or the artwork in the Sistine Chapel. They've been doing this literally for centuries, and yet some reporter thought that was pertinent question, as if that never would have come up before. As if this was the first conclave, ever. The reporter must've been a Protestant.
And CNN -- poor, lowly CNN -- turned the conclave into their new poop cruise. In terms of all the cable news embarrassments, they were at the heap. In case you didn't tune in, CNN kept a live camera shot of the papal chimney inset in their picture -- even while the commercials were on.
Can you imagine if this went longer than two days? If anything they probably spend the process up because of the insufferable media coverage. Like these people, we're more than happy to see Pope watch end:
Tired. I'm pope'd.— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) March 13, 2013
The writer compiles the 40 best Pope tweets into a list. "I went to college." she says. Sigh. She opens up her flask. It's 5:00 somewhere.— christopher busch (@chrisbusch82) March 13, 2013
So sick of this new pope already. Any other bizarre ancient rituals coming up?— Ken Layne (@KenLayne) March 13, 2013
I think I need to get off Twitter till this whole pope thing is over.— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) March 13, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.