NPR Knows How To Handle Hugo Chavez & Co
I find it difficult not to be crabby about NPR's frequent smirking over something like the recent (9/19-20/06) UN speeches by world leaders. In reviewing Hugo Chavez' fan-mucking-tastic screed at the Bush Machine's accomplishments (9/20/06), it was obvious that 'All Things Considered's Melissa Block's mouth was curved into a smug little smile for the whole duration of the piece, and her voice had a tone and inflexion far more comfortable with a garden party story. So that's how she handled it. Her voice betrayed the triteness of her own condescension. The only good thing was that we didn't have to suffer through Robert Siegel's tut-tutting. So much of prime-show NPR is becoming unlistenable to me. Their on-air talent has either been around too long (i.e. Cory Flintoff STILL sounds like he's a middle school nerd trying to prove himself) or they're just plain terrible (Jack Speer reading the news!). Of course, they all take themselves so seriously that their opinions of themselves and their enterprise could not possibly be anything but self-congratulatory. Yet they're still the only viable alternative game in town as far as convenience is concerned.
As far as Chavez's speech is concerned, it was certainly a burlesque. But supposedly sober, supposedly upright (but terminally bozo) characters like John Bolton may wish to learn that the Latin American world-view often integrates literary and theatrical techniques, sometimes involving 'low-brow' or surrealistic humor to make very serious points. I cite G. Garcia Marquez, Reinaldo Arenas, and J.L. Borges as masters and practitioners of this approach. NPR might have attempted to explore this angle, but I guess they were just too cool to bother.
The conservative corporate influence has its protruding dangerous instruments poised at, near, or within every orifice and sphincter associated with the body of NPR, and that fact is certainly an embarrassment, but an unavoidable fact.
There is hope: there IS life after NPR. Stay tuned.