Sep 7, 2011
Its not easy being a full-time liberal, especially when you are also a part-time commuter. Now for those living in NYC, you might not remember what the dashboard of a car looks like, but if you can try to remember that box in the middle with the two knobs and a clock, that’s called a ‘radio’. If its been a while, just know that it all still works the same, but note that the AM/FM dials hold new meaning. For they have come to symbolize a sad bifurcation of society; while on the FM dial you’ll find yourself crushed in a electromagnetic torrent of bubble-gum crap, the static colored frequencies of the AM will lead you straight to the Mordor of right-wing thought.
Don’t worry I am not returning to my Republican past. I still happily suckle on the hope-laced teets of Obama, but I cant deny the entertainment that right-wing talk radio provides. I imagine reality TV has the same allure: just when you think “16 & Pregnant” has established a new low in intellectual stimulation, you’ll see an advertisement for “16 & Pregnant (With my dad’s kids)”. Now replace ‘incestuous pregnancy’ with ‘reckless fear mongering’, and that is the state of AM talk radio.
“Juche” – its what Kim Jong Il eats for dinner
Of all the storm crows on AM talk radio, Sean Hannity is the undisputed concrete donkey of them all (with Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck rounding out the podium positions). Hannity lacks both the bombast of Rush Limbaugh (have you heard Rush’s Bill Clinton impression? it kills) ,nor can his rhetoric compare to the dramatis personae that is Michael Savage. Sean Hannity is the Diet Pepsi of Republican rabble rousers. I can just picture Hannity in grade school as that nerdy loner with a bone to pick with the world. Yet I imagine his nerdiness wasn’t a virtue of genuine intelligence,but rather a function of him being born a dick. Somewhere along the way he married Colonel Sanders’ daughter, found a soapbox to stand-upon, and emerged as the voice that whispers into my ear on my drive home.
The Colonel loves his chicken, and Sean Hannity.
If you’ve never heard of Hannity, or perhaps just missed an episode of his nationally syndicated radio show (which happens to pay him $20 million / year), don’t fret my pets. Just look at yesterday’s newspaper, and any calamity that isn’t attached to an image of an weather system or an asteroid, you can bet that Hannity is blaming Obama for it. (in the asteroid’s case, he will still blame Obama’s socialism as the root cause for God hurling a rock in our general direction)
Yet, in spite of all this, I still listen to him. He is neither very smart, nor insightful, yet his roller-coaster tone and Custer-like stands on opinion grab my attention. He may spout nothing but crap, but his rhetoric turns a 1 hour drive through the hinterland known as “New Jersey” feel like 5 minutes. And to all Manhattanites that have to commute through New Jersey, you know what kind of god send that is.
The starting lineup of your Republican fantasy talk radio team.
3 Questions to the Stars:
When did the AM dial become the Klendathu of the right?
Where is the left’s version of Rush?
Why can’t somebody put a microphone in front of Paul Krugman and have him fill the airwaves with Keynesian-economic viewpoints?
NPR: Almost as dangerous as DUI
Sadly, all we have is the coma-inducing silence of NPR.
I can’t listen to NPR. I just can’t. 5 minutes of NPR makes me feel like I popped 3 NyQuils and ate a rufilin-stuffed Turkey prior to getting on the road.
Just last week, on my way back to Manhattan, I decided to give NPR another shot. I tuned out Hannity in favor of “All Things Considered”, the 4pm show on WNYC (the local NPR affiliate). And boy was I in for a barn-burning treat.NPR was featuring a breath-taking special on how a small town in Washington state was coping with the closure of its community Post Office. The pinnacle of this soon to be Pulitzer Prize winning work was a 5-minute interview with what had to have been a 85 year old woman who lamented the post office closing as evidence of a society in decline (I think she also said something along the lines of ‘that damn fool Taft!’)
Needless to say, the NPR experiment ended soon thereafter.
Maybe the notion of having a Rush Limbaugh for the left is contradictory? The right-wing platform is framed by passion, hard-lines and appeals to idealism: all characteristics that make it perfect for the pulpit of talk radio. As I find myself becoming progressively liberal each passing day, I realize that very few things can and should be boiled down to the lowest-common denominator. Perhaps a left-wing talk-radio show is going to suck because progressive viewpoints are often colored in shades of grey and anchored in intellectual depth? But John Stewart and Bill Maher’s have shown that doesn’t mean it can’t be funny or engaging, yet why hasn’t that formula applied itself to the AM dial?
But I think the answer is even simpler. The AM band has become the Disneyland for Republicans precisely because those who listen to AM radio at 1pm on a weekday are more likely to be Republicans.
Which then raises the important question: what the hell am I doing on the road at 1pm on a weekday?