Sunday, November 11, 2007
Randoms: Boy, Am I BUGGED By NPR, Or What??
NOTE: Particularly prurient readers may want to jump directly to Random #5, just below. – (signed) Your Editor, representing The Melmoth
1.) Daniel Zwerdling, occasional reporter for NPR, has guts. He's doing important work in following stories dealing with shameful treatment of US veterans and their situations. But I get the feeling that Zwerdling might be somewhat of an embarrassment to the more cheerleading members of NPR. He has obviously been sidelined, though I'm sure the managing editors keep him in semi-circulation to appear 'fair and balanced' to those 'thinking' masses that make up their aging audiences. Zwerdling might even have to fight to get his stories aired. In any case, he doesn't seem to be in on the palsey-walsey comraderie that, say, Sunday morning's Liane Hansen seems to enjoy with that David Welna character (you know, the guy with the extremely distracting nasaly voice). Though Zwerdling seems relegated to token status, as NPR's reporter of stories few others wish to take on, he maintains his integrity with a real sense of responsibility. I think he probably feels he's reaching a wider audience than if he was on some website or Air America, but his findings are generally surrounded by swill. Meanwhile, most of his colleagues at NPR are luxuriating in their cushy candy store gigs.
2.) I find the bland and nonchalant approach that these weekend morning hosts apply to their interviews with important people in current events extremely curious. Scott Simon cops an interview with Al Gore, but botches it entirely by treating him like he's some tiresome insurance salesman or something. Liane scores a phone interview with Benazir Bhutto, yet puts about as much journalistic energy into it as a dry slug who's run out of slime. It's as if they're too cool to show that they're either impressed by the magnitude of their guests, or a refusal to employ reasonable (not to mention interesting) journalistic practices of merit. Yet, they get all wiggly and giggly and drooly interviewing some boring novelist or dogcatcher with a funny story that they can tut-tut about between smirky laughs.
It's just crappy radio, that's all.
(I feel like Kevin Phillips, who once stated on PBS’ ‘Now’ that he was their Resident Curmudgeon.)
3.) You know it's a flop of a morning show when the most sickening element is Liane's goopy interaction with the Puzzlemaster's guest of the week, and she tries in vain to vary the horribly predictable scripting of the whole Puzzle segment . . .
3a.) PLUS: I hate the story-telling nature of the scripted bridges between stories, those tiresome background summaries for dummies, the same sort of schlock that's taken over Time and Newsweek, yet they'd like you to think they have the sophistication of The Economist or reasonable equivalent. (Maybe the National Review would be a better example - though these days I kind of like Bill Buckley, who's spending his Golden Years quite alienated from the Gang of Frankensteins he created.)
4.) We have a new local weekend host who's pretty amateurish, I'm afraid. I kind of feel sorry for him, yet he's not easy to endure. He hasn't even learned how to properly engineer yet (if he ever will), and says stuff like: the 'Voices in the News' bit is his favorite part of the show, as it gives him 'chills' to listen to! Funny, I always thought it was annoying, because it's just a jumble of sound bytes spliced together with an impatient music track behind, and it always leaves you in the lurch, as if, 'so there!' I guess it's supposed to stimulate your early Sunday morning by bringing up conversation points for you and your Starbucks-gulping Dockers-wearing, FloMax-popping SUV-driving mates to chew over, like pieces of foodie gristle.
5.) And finally, perhaps most importantly, has anybody noticed how NPR refuses to descend to the level of reporting on most of the Republican SEX SCANDALS that keep popping up with breathtaking regularity? I suppose that after Scott Simon’s elegant and Lincoln-like defense of Larry Craig, the bar has remained at its high and noble level – intact. They don’t ‘do’ SEX SCANDALS apparently, unless you’re Mara ‘Zombie-Eyes’ Liasson and Bob ‘Pursed-Lips’ Siegel, in hot pursuit of Bill ‘Blow-Job’ Clinton.
[You see, listeners to NPR do not know who the gentleman in the before-and-after photos above is, or what he did, although they might assume that he is a Republican.]
Well, I'd better leave off before I really start hating myself for dissecting this interminable blah-blah-blah radio matter to such an extent . . . !