09-17-06 - 1

Driving between here and King's Canyon I listened to a lot of news radio. I love listening to NPR but couldn't get it everywhere, and of course NPR is also full of garbage like that insufferable Terry Gross talking about the existential dilemma in the post-modern deconstruction of The Howard Stern show or some similar ridiculous intellectualization of purile entertainment. Anyway, I listened to some extremist talk shows. Most of the talk shows on the air are extreme right wing or Christian talk shows, especially out away from the cities. Most of us liberals live in cities where you'll have 2-3 NPR/Pacifica type stations, and then a few nutter stations scattered around, but not much. Out in the country, you usually have 2-3 Christian/right-wing stations, 2-3 music stations, and that's it, no other voices. Anyway, being in San Francisco, we also have several ridiculously left-wing stations as well.

Now, I consider NPR to be slightly left of "rational" (I won't use the term "center", since it's center of what? rational = unbiased, and NPR is slightly off; I think their new segments are if anything slightly right of center, but some of their talk shows are leftist). "Air America" is pretty far left and most of it is intolerable. In SF we also have lots of local liberal stations and they're quite awful. The liberal biased shows are usually a bit more subtle than the right wingers, but I find them equally disgusting. Their main tactic is the "harrumph", the verbal eye-roll, as in "We know the President cares about the black community, harrumph". It implies that the broadcaster and the listeners are in the know, that we're wise to the evil ways of those Republicans. They don't actually say anything on air, but they make constant implications that evil is afoot, like "you know who sponsored Zedillo, who passed NAFTA - Halliburton - uh huh" , WTF, first of all that sounds like nonsense and even if it's true it's an implication of an unrealistic massive conspiracy. They don't ever actually come out and say it, just these constant implications that aren't backed up, and it's very annoying.

Anyway, the right-wing/Christian radio is different, and for me it's almost funny. I listened to one program that was going on and on about how the ACLU was trying to destroy America. Not that they simply were destroying America, but rather that the whole goal of their actions was to intentionally bring about anarchy and hedonism and chaos and sin to bring down the good Christian way we should live. They'd site things like their campaign to remove ten commandments displays, then "you know what's next, they're trying to stop the Supreme Court from opening it's sessions with 'In Gods Name' , oh my, lord help us". Wowza. Another station was going on and on about how the courts are this horrible unconstitutional force which keep thwarting the will of the people. They mentioned Prop 187 which was passed in CA and then a court overturned as unconstitutional, they ranted about how the liberal courts are taking away the power from the people, etc.

As usual, listening to the right wing talk shows scare the crap out of me. The things they say are just funny, but to imagine people out there listening to it and nodding along just terrifies me. It's funny to me that for the most part the liberal shows are almost guilty about getting too ridiculous - they try not to say their insane thoughts too explicitly because they fear being held accountable; the nutty right wingers just go all out. The weird thing about modern America is that those nutty right wingers aren't simply dismissed and ignored as crackpots, instead they redefine the "right" and the "center" becomes somewhere way out of whack.

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