Thursday, July 05, 2007

Spending The 4th At NPR

I was half asleep when NPR did their patriotic duty and divvied up the Declaration of Independence for recitation amongst its usual all-stars. They read their bits with a self-importance that was, well, very NPR-like. Predictable, to say the least.

Anyway, a friend of mine, who listened more carefully than I did, noted that many of the complaints about George III, which make up much of the Declaration, can be handily applied to our own modern day (King) George. She wondered if some of the readers, judging from the tone of their voices, were picking up on this irony. Could there be a few covert 'liberals' at NPR, who exercise their subversive agendas by injecting a little sly 'satire' here and there?

It was all an early morning blur. Truth to tell, I was subconsciously distracted by the term 'Nina Totenbag', which was, I think, being marketed before all those references to the Kings George.

One admirable moment occurred amidst this dreary NPR soup. A marine who'd been in Iraq read his poem, 'The Cat'. It was simple, moving and profound in its anti-war message. After he finished the reading, all empty-headed Renee said was, 'Thank you for reading that.' Her use of the word 'that' to refer to this sensitive and powerful poem struck me as dismissive rather than appreciative. I guess this awkwardness was better than having her make some banal comment. Better to be left with the poem's power, and its message than to be returned to NPReality, with a thud. The inevitable musical interlude (which are more obnoxiously pushy than they used to be, no doubt to attract hipper listeners) accomplished that task without any voice pollution.

It was a few days before the 4th, but I can't leave off without commenting on Scott Simon's eagerly-anticipated return to Weekend Edition Saturday. We knew he'd have something to say about the joys of being an adoptive dad for the second time. We knew that it would be syrupy, perhaps intolerably so. We were right. Only Scottie can turn something wonderful into something so - so, I don't know - repulsive.

One good thing about Morning Edition: it's all over by 8AM at the latest. You can get on with your day with a spring in your step because, by surviving it, you actually dodge a bullet. You didn't commit some act of rage or crack open a bottle of Smirnoff as means of reaction or escape. You simply walk away.

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