When I was very young back last century, a local bank president -- one of my neighbors -- would go through the local paper and clip articles about young people in the community who have done some good thing. Little league team makes the playoffs, win the science fair, appear in a school play, he would send the clipping to you attached to the bank's letterhead with a big headline that read, "You've Made Good News!"
By recognizing positive accomplishments, he was adding to the town's sense of pride in itself and its youngsters, simply by stroking the egos of brats like me who excelled at stuff that kids are supposed to do, like learn teamwork or study hard.
I don't know if anybody does that sort of thing now, but if you're a bank president, it might behoove you to do some clipping and glue-sticking. Oh, and send a few grand to the local art museum while you're at it.
And then you can pretend that you're involved in your community, just like real members of the community used to do back in the old days.
Like radio hosts.
I was trying to explain to a friend that the rancor and ugliness attributed to the Republicans and the McCain campaign is nothing new at all.
I worked at talk radio stations, and had the brief horrible assignment of sitting in a studio while Rush Limbaugh's consistently unfunny smugnorance came satellited into the studio while vapors of sulfur wafted from the Eighth Circle of the Inferno and out of the monitors.
The station I was board-opping at stopped playing the audio turd and replaced it with Christian programming. Which wasn't much better, but at least professed to have something to do with "The Good News."
A few months ago, since I had some free time and a radio (always a bad combination), I thought that I would help out the Obama campaign by calling and calmly explaining that the Senator from Illinois is an avowed Christian not a Muslim, that he did not blow things up when he was eight, and that Hawaii was one of the United States when he was born there in 1961. The two hosts that I contacted at various times appropriately returned my polite demeanor with either a "Okay, thank you" or "Call back again." And then go back to denying the veracity of my "claims" about Hawaiian statehood and happily letting the "Obama is an Socialist AY-rab" crowd dominate the lines for the rest of the "show."
Which brings me to a familiar name and a familiar sentiment found in the comments on a trashy news site after a story about Obama's ailing grandmother.
Or maybe I'm just unfairly attributing a cheap and stupid remark to a local Massachusetts radio character named Evan.