Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Well, I like how things turned out..."

To borrow the fundamental empty-headed line of thinking from this season's spoiler third party of bargain-basement sophists, I don't think that the Founding Fathers of Radio had in mind whatever it is that my local broadcasters do.
The newsreaders who employ unsettlingly random phrasing and can't pronounce "posthumously." The host who insists that he is neutral, but whose knee-jerk reactions to comments are so partisan as to embarrass even the most imprudent callers. Bette Davis.The ill-timed and always badly-introduced commercial breaks that sometimes include several spots playing at once; spots that defy simple priciples of presentation and confound listeners' skills at perceiving information. If acted out by gifted gymnasts with awe-inspiring delivery -- or produced as a, say, cartoon -- a bemused audience member might be influenced to seek more intelligible details from more lucid sources. For instance, the business itself.Ava Gardner, who was also incomprehensible once.Of course, that would be if the contact information weren't obscured by some annoying crapwit's stab at cleverness. Or the obtuse and hamfisted producer's (same guy, usually) choice of music bed and sound effects.
But today, since any benighted twerp with AOL access can "review" a book that he has neither read nor understood and inform other shoppers that "it sux," we are left with the rampant Tyranny of the Amateur, and that's local radio's bulwark against criticism.
So, yes. Since I trained and worked in actual professional broadcasting (oh, sure, yes, that was decades ago, so the "you're old and bitter" argument is somewhat valid, except that I am actually "older and better"), I hate local radio. Even though it was my first love and I shall always hold whatever it is that I remember of it in high esteem -- whatever it was that I thought was sexy way back when.I love Lucy. No, really. Red is my downfall. Even in blondes.But I cannot avoid the monstrous ether when it broadcasts some semblance of description of our easily-etched ballot numerations each election night.
It dutifully provides muttering time for the more self-important on staff, who mumble numbers from local precincts that were available elsewhere long moments prior and mutter some long-seasoned cant with lyrics including "anti-incumbent sentiment" and "voter apathy/anxiety." Or whatever.
And Massachusetts is relatively unscathed by the ill-disposed Tea Party panic that has warped the national politic and discourse.
Although the brunt of so many jokes from latitudinally-challenged others, Southeastern New England -- the true geographical birthplace of American dissent and revolution -- re-elected the people who should fix things, elected reasonable folk who might fix things, and ignored specious jerks who were of no damn consequence.
Except that the latter are the most fun if you're getting substandard pay at some overlooked waste of broadcast space.
Let's hope for better days.

(This presentation includes photographs of Ava Gardner, Bette Davis, and Lucille Ball.)


bitterandrew said...

I gotta say that there were a few moments early in the cycle that made me nervous about your neck of the woods...though the final tallies put the lie to the "fierce challenge" narrative the media tried to spin.

PJ said...

Silly media.
Your most eloquent post, Andrew, inspired the above rambling missive.
We still have Halliburton's best prison industrial complex shill as "sheriff," but Barney will decide when Barney will retire, not some dweeb who works for the defense contractor that manufactures Roombas.
(I was going to write about how much I love the Rhode Island Chafees. "Independent" means calling yourself "Republican" while voting "Democratic." But, really...)