Radio days

As I have mentioned before, I have a Sirius satellite radio, which has come in handy now that I no longer live in a major media market. For awhile, I’ve been using it to listen to Air America while I work, but this summer I’ve found myself migrating back to the various NPR shows (I mostly listen to the radio during the day, and at a certain point, I realized that if I had to sit through one more “Oy Oy Oy” show — well, let’s just say that you can have too much of a good thing and leave it at that). The point being, I’ve only recently discovered that Air America has given Sirius satellite subscribers the shaft and hopped over to XM. And yes, I’m getting comped, but a lot of people invested in Sirius equipment and subscriptions specifically because of Air America, and on their behalf, I’d like to send out a big “fuck you” in the general direction of the business genuises behind that little decision. (…I’m aware that you can stream audio online, but I mostly find the glitches too annoying to bother.)(And streaming doesn’t really help people who installed satellite radio in their cars, does it?)

Anyway: these days, when my tedium cup overfloweth with the calm, measured rationality of NPR, I find myself doing what I did more often before AAR came along — wandering around the batshit crazy wingnut side of the metaphorical dial. Yesterday, for instance, I had the distinct pleasure of listening to G. Gordon Liddy’s son Tom, who is filling in for the “G-Man” this week (and yes, he really calls his father the “G-Man”). And one of the topics of the day was how hard it is for women to stay home and raise children if that’s what they choose to do — not only because of the unbearable scorn of the dominant anti-family liberal media, but because of all that darned government taxation, which takes away so much of your money, yadda yadda, blah blah blah.

Excessive taxation is a staple of right wing talk radio, but one which forces hosts to tread carefully, given that what they are actually talking about is excessive upper income taxation — the solution to which generally requires an ever increasing burden to be borne by the host’s own oblivious audience. And since the host and the callers are, by definition, actually carrying on two distinct conversations at cross purposes with one another, confusion often ensues. Yesterday, for example, a woman made it on to the Liddy show and after telling Tom what a fan she was of his father, she pointed out that a lot of people she knows need two incomes because, well, they just don’t make very much money.

(This is often the problem with the elaborate theories of the right: they are usually in direct contradiction to the actual life experience of anyone who’s ever tried to get by on the minimum wage. So the host’s unspoken question becomes: who you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?)

Tom tried to gently steer the conversation back to the evils of taxation, but the woman charged on, unaware of the damage she was doing. “At that income level, they really don’t have too many taxes,” she said blithely, threatening to undercut Tom Liddy’s entire fictional construct. You could almost hear the klaxon bells ringing as he allowed that, well, yes, poverty is a problem, and the only thing you can do is, er, try to get better jobs, and church groups can sure help. And on to the next caller!

You have to love it when the audience wanders off script.

(Speaking of talk radio, I also heard the insufferable Laura Ingraham mocking Al Gore for his new television project, which apparently invites viewer interactivity. “They want the audience to do all the work for them,” cackled the talk radio host, apparently oblivious to the irony of her own words. But then, they always are, aren’t they?)