Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Open Thread

NPR related comments welcomed.

7 comments:

Porter Melmoth said...

I wish someone other than Michael Sullivan was reporting from Burma right now. I don't trust his mechanical statements. It's too bad that Doualy Xaykaothao isn't there. She's a much more perceptive and understanding reporter, but I'm sure Big Mike got the gig for a wide variety of reasons. (Maybe because he's a guy. Never mind that for centuries in Burmese society, women have had nearly equal status as men.)

I've said this before, but I have a pet peeve about the media choosing 'Myanmar' over 'Burma'. The US and other governments, as well as the BBC have wisely stuck with 'Burma', while the rest of the media, fearful that they'll be accused of cultural imperialism or something, goes with the name chosen by an utterly corrupt and paranoid military junta. To me, this is similar to the Pol Pot regime's changing 'Cambodia' to 'Kampuchea'. Both 'Myanmar' and 'Kampuchea' are historically valid names, but it is their appropriation by repressive governments that makes the usage spurious. Besides, western media people don't even agree on how to pronounce 'Myanmar'. Is it 'MEE-anmar', 'M-YANmar', or some other poppycock? Pronounced correctly, 'Burma' and 'Myanmar' sound closely alike, thus the original anglicizing of the name.

When they start calling China Chung guo, India Bharat, Greece Hellas, and Italy Italia, then maybe I'll take them seriously in their attempts at accuracy. Just stick with Burma, folks. Believe it or not, it's the politically correct thing to do.

As for the paranoia of the Burmese junta, the only bit of background that I've heard on NPR as to WHY they're so paranoid has been from Doualy Xaykaothao, who took the time in one of her reports to investigate the matter (i.e. the junta is paranoid about western attempts to overthrow their regime, etc.).

Maine Owl said...

THIS is a post concerning our local NPR affiliate. Hope it's not considered off topic. Yesterday they ran with a "controversy" hatched mainly in the halls of wingnuttia over remarks made by local author Stephen King concerning literacy and opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. It was a "lucky break" for NPR that 2 of their correspondents were in China near the epicenter... but I find their style of even-toned anthropological tragedy-excavation VERY off-putting. "the smell of death is inescapable." What has happened is HORRIBLE, heart-breaking. But whenever NPR does a voice-over... something is very wrong with the way NPR operates and teaches people to talk to their audience. They have no idea how to talk in a natural way.

Mytwords said...

Thanks for the link Maine Owl. Hardly seems off topic at all to me, after all NPR's always pimping for the military, too. I noticed that
yesterday's story on Army mortuary training
featured this choice soundbite from a 37 yr old trainee: "There's only one percent of America that's actually doing anything for the country as far as willing to defend it, and die for it, and I was tired of not doing anything." Uggh...

Porter Melmoth said...

I agree. There's something consistently difficult about relating to NPR's version of reality. This is a very subjective topic. Yes, the feeling of wrongness pervades most everything NPR produces, even the humanitarian approaches. This 'android' quality has come up time and again in critiquing NPR. Results: frustration, mistrust, constant analysis, rather than just a good and reliable news service.

Porter Melmoth said...

FYI: My previous response was referring to the comment made by anonymous.

Comrade Rutherford said...

Then there was "The Story" yesterday (Wednsday, May 14).

Two women were interviewed about their working in a chicken processing plant. The conditions were so inhumane that both of them are permanently maimed. But did the interviewer point that out? Only indirectly, and then he concluded that part of the interviews by siding with the company, saying working people until they are permanently maimed for life is part of the job.

Unbelievable. NPR was taken over by right-wing extremist hack so slowly that most 'liberal' listeners don't even notice.