NPR needs to hire a host that’s in touch with reality and not afraid to say what’s on his mind, even if it goes against the grain of the rest of the network. In other words, they should hire me. Really.
You might be surprised to hear this, considering much of what I write isn’t exactly “politically correct” or “appropriate for polite dinner conversation” or even “topics generally discussed outside of an insane asylum”. I’ve always thought NPR could use a host whose views, values and demeanor are more representative of everyday Americans than the typical heavily-medicated-college-professor-style personalities they typically employ. But a recent comment from one of the hosts has offended my sensibilities as a sports fan, and I’m beginning to wonder if there’s anything sacred left in this country.
Frasier Crane – Everything Likable About Him = NPR
If you listen to NPR, you know that, from a technical standpoint at least, they’re very good at what they do. But everyone on the air seems to know it, and revel in their own audible glory. The hoity-toity hosts end each segment by saying, “You’re listening to NPR,” and you can almost hear them mentally adding, “You’re welcome.” Like Frasier Crane without all the warmth and likability. Last week, as I flipped on the radio, I scanned to my local NPR station and heard a photographer talking about how he captured the scene of two giant lizards fighting in the desert. Locked in some sort of reptilian Greco-Roman wrestling position, the lizards (I don’t know their scientific name, and I don’t care) appeared to be dancing.
How charming! The host then reminded the audience that NPR’s Comedy Wildlife Photography contest was going on, and you could vote for the “dancing” lizards, or any other photo that tickled your funny bone and tugged at your heart strings, all in the name of promoting awareness of animal conversation. I mean conservation. Which is all fine. As someone who makes jokes about saving wild animals so we can eat them, I haven’t turned a cold shoulder to Mother Nature and all her little critters. I’ve even donated some of my own cash (not allocated taxpayer money) to animal conservation.
But then the host rambled on about how important the contest was, saying she didn’t care who won the World Series, because this, the contest, really mattered. Why did she have to say that? You might think it’s a harmless comment, but it’s indicative of the mindset held by a lot of the NPR (and probably other media) personalities.
Do we need more division?
In case you haven’t noticed because you’ve been too busy staring at photos of a moose sneezing, the country is divided. It would be nice if our National Public Radio network tried to heal those divisions, instead of driving us apart. But that’s not usually what happens. Hosts often make comments during non-political discussions that promote their own political views. And this comment, about the World Series, pushes a mindset that all people fall into one of two camps: People who agree with me (the good people); and people who disagree with me (bad, bad people). Can’t it be true that some people like sports, want to watch the World Series, and also would prefer not to see wildlife obliterated? Everyone knows a sports fan that takes it too far and doesn’t care about anything other than their team. Most sports fans realize that isn’t healthy. Many are even decent, intelligent people who care about things that don’t involve games with round objects, but find the competition an entertaining distraction from the draining realities of every day life.
Tax-payer funded snobbery
I don’t mean to berate or belittle every host of NPR, or even the girl who made this comment. Who knows, maybe she has an ex-boyfriend who was one of the aforementioned unhealthy, take-it-too-far sports fan. (I know, I know — it’s sexist to blame a female’s point of view on a man, blah, blah, blah. I’m just trying to give her the benefit of the doubt here!) A lot of national figures in radio have their own issues that I haven’t touched on here. But I’ve singled out NPR because it’s supposed to be a balanced public service. It’s not talk radio. And their hosts could do their country a good service by promoting important causes without trying to divide us into more camps.
So here I am, NPR. A man not only with a face for radio, but one who’s often been told he has a voice for radio. (Often by elderly women working a cash register, for some reason.) Put me on your payroll, and you’ll never have a shortage of listeners to click through your funny wildlife photos.
Just don’t ask me to pose for any.