Yeah, I know, why subject myself to National Public Radiation when it makes me so, so snarly? Maybe we can dispense with that question for the moment, because I don't have a good answer.
I may have said this before, but I think I have a higher tolerance right now because I have apparently 'evolved'. Not necessarily to a higher plane, but rather to a different stage of some kind. In short, I'm trying to look at NPR, the popular media, and the political scene in general with more of a scientific bent instead of an emotional one. If NPR be a mutating wad of smallpox cells down there in the Petri dish, well, I can certainly hover above it with magnifying glass and an eyedropper of bleach instead of planting my snout right into it and inhaling deeply, can't I? How else could the myriad of progressive observers, from David Corn to Chris Hedges to Noam Chomsky to Juan Cole handle the toxicity? They're scientists, that's how, and they're armed with the proper tools to not only protect themselves, but they're well prepared in keeping certain epidemics at bay. At least they’re trying to.
There's so much excellent and purposeful progressive material out there today, from books and articles to interviews and documentaries, that the right wingers can't keep up with all of it, and they certainly can't prove hardly any of it wrong. They just continue what they've always done: keeping truths obfuscated and keeping the fear up through sensationalism, denial, banal language, and basic lying.
One of the reasons I follow NPR is that it's certainly accessible and convenient. That's why radio found its place in the media world a long time ago. Tech development has essentially topped out, so it's all about content. That's one of the principal reasons why NPR was hijacked by the corporate world, aided and abetted by the neocon superstructure of like-minded groups and individuals. From my slightly-more-than-casual absorption of NPR, I think that neocon interests (a general term, naturally) have appropriated NPR simply because it reaches a demographic group which they covet. We know that neocon theory sprang from academia, but only a small wedge of it. In the 'lunge' mentality of corporate greed, (that wants what it wants and it wants it NOW), the hijacking of NPR has been very effective in wriggling its way into the educated elite of America that still purportedly 'thinks'. For those of you out there who work in academia (or 'academe', as the cooler ones say), how often do you hear 'I heard it on NPR . . .' as opposed to 'I saw it on Fox News . . .'?
Anyway, I get the feeling that neocon interests are very serious about roping in the middle class higher-educated crowd, not so much the frustrated and aging baby boomers (although they're handy for becoming more conservative the older they get), but of course the younger ones, who are infinitely more malleable and comfortable with a 'dumber-downed' society. After all, tomorrow belongs to them.
On the other hand, we could soon encounter a full-blown Iraq Effect, in which a whole damaged generation of young people finds itself compelled to go in different directions than any neocon or corporate entity wants. We shall see what that might entail soon enough, I should think . . .
And now for some petty little NPR-isms from recent mornings:
Saturday: Scott Simon interviewed Al Gore and showed himself to be much cooler than Ozone Man (remember that?) could ever be. I can't imagine squandering an opportunity to have a meaningful interview more. Scottie's in his own world, and more criticism than usual must be getting to him, because he's more and more defensive all the time. I notice that he closed his commentary segment with 'an old friend' singing lyrics about the Chicago Cub(bies) not having won a pennant 'since we dropped the bomb on Japan'. We're supposed to chuckle, of course. 'They chuckle,' Wallace Shawn rightly pointed out, when he was referring to neocons, Bushoids, and other sociopaths, who are so out of touch with reality that Marie Antoinette appears a radical socialist. Like the Wizard of Oz, they chuckle at catastrophe. But as we found out, the Wizard was only a man behind a curtain.
Sunday: Scott Horsely did a piece on Ghouliani in Florida, that was nothing short of a love-fest. To say that the mayor 'stood up to terrorism' as a pat explanation for his virtue to be president, was nothing more than a sycophant's planning ahead to make a bid for the press secretary slot in a Rudy Administration. Ghouliani did nothing that a reasonably competent person in the mayorship wouldn't have done in a 9/11 situation. Nothing. In fact, there's plenty of evidence that he mucked much of it up. Obfuscation . . . keep the fear up . . . wah-de-doo-dah . . .
Doyle McManus from the 'LA Times' is one of many who are STILL making a big deal out of how long Bill Clinton's speeches were. They are still so bemused. Who says Attention Deficit Disorder is limited to little kids? He also referred to the ex-pres as 'too big to hide'. Uh, was he referring to Bill's (much trimmer) physical bulk, or his political standing? Funny! Funny! Droll. But funny! He recited this little quip with a smile on his face, and it had a rather smuggy effect that always seems to -
[INTERJECTION: MY SCIENTIFIC APPROACH EVAPORATES AND MY EMOTIONS OF TURMOIL RETURN WHENEVER I HEAR NPR PERSONS GO ON SPEAKING WHEN THEY OBVIOUSLY HAVE A SMILE ON THEIR FACE; THE SELF-PLEASURING THEY ARE INFLICTING ON WE LISTENERS IS NOTHING SHORT OF PERVERSE; I CAN DISSECT THIS ISSUE NO FURTHER NOW - I MUST RETURN TO 'SCIENTIFIC' MODE!!]
Ahem - well, those darn NPR-oids really know how to bug me, don't they? As Bush Senior would say in that slightly delicate way he had, 'Well for heaven's sake!'
Anyway, another thing: NPR's 'FBI Correspondent' Dina Temple-Raston tells Bob Smith about British surveillance cameras. She mentioned that sometimes such cameras can be used for spotting 'hot-looking women' and 'very good-looking' young ladies! She also said that 'the film' in video cameras can be used at evidence. Film/video - get it? Petty, I know.
Lastly: I get such a kick - in fact, it makes me CHUCKLE - when some reporter or expert is about to deliver or has just delivered his/her spiel on some horrible, horrible subject, (say, Afghan civilians getting blown apart by US - er, NATO - air raids, or somethin' like that . . .) and when they're thanked for their contribution, they say 'My pleasure'. Ah, the pure pleasure of being in the Olympian clouds of today's exciting world of journalism!