Dabbling with NPR is a hazardous business, so I often try to keep things superficial, otherwise grim rage becomes dominant. So, to keep things light and fluffy, I frequently notice form rather than content (as content is usually a lost cause). I tend to notice HOW things are said and not necessarily WHAT things are said. I know, it's a perverted form of amusement, but I swear, I don't put as much time or effort into this as it sounds.
Well, it seems that lately, many of the NPR lifers have been told to juice up their manner of speaking. You know, to get all emotional and affected in order to bring 'interest' to a segment on, say, the Fed's strategy for regulating title insurance restrictions on two-year guarantee loans made on leap-year days, or whatever. NPR wants to retain its 'serious' reputation, but with a sexier guise, so as to keep the SUV-ers transfixed with 'driveway moments', before hauling ass in the Mall.
People like Inscreep and Renee de la Mon-tayyne perform a whole routine to keep our attention, feigning amazement, speaking in 'valley' cadences, and general motormouth tricks of the cheapest kind. Most of the 'experts' they interview go along with their act, but when someone like Helen Mirren shows up, it doesn't take much to expose how ditzy/dopey (or if you prefer, dopey/ditzy) Renee comes off as, and Ms Mirren was the model of understatement and kindness.
Anyway, there's a BushCorp/Condi quality to this business that grates and gets in the way of what information radio is supposed to be about: access to said information.
To me this increased affectation junk is all just bad acting (in a media source that should confine acting, bad or otherwise, to feature shows), and it is representative of the what the NPR powers that be want in order to boost ratings, in order to satisfy corporate sponsor expectations (duh, just like in commercial radio, ya think??).
Conversely, I heard a segment this morn from our old reliable Parisian gamine, Eleanor B.(eardsley) of Aquitaine, that gave me a start. In her little piece there was practically NO affectation - none of her bizarre misfires of delivery - just flat phrases. No champagne bubbles or boulevardier fun. Nothing. Eleanor! Are you ill? Tired? Or did you get a talking to: to knock off the cutesy crap? Sadly, without her gimmick, EB is just a bore, enough to make you snap off the radio and head on in to Macy's.