Thursday, May 29, 2008

Open Thread

NPR related comments welcomed.


Anonymous said...

Anybody know of Utah Phillips?
His song - NPR Blues -

Sadly he died recently. I heard an interview with him on Democracy Now - what a great human being- I guess that explains why I never heard of him before!


Porter Melmoth said...

Bravo, Ellen, that's a gem. RIP, Utah P., you got guts, and you hit the nail on the head.

(His voice was reminiscent of Gary Cooper's.)

Porter Melmoth said...

Buoyed by the spirit of Utah Phillips, thought I'd add the following. Bit under the weather today, so took day off. Experiment: let NPR roll and see if it really wrecks my day (stupid, but a distraction). Well, it didn't, really, but I got to hear 'Day to Day' for the first time. It reminded me of 'Entertainment Tonight', but even fluffier, under the premise of everyone having their NPR thinking caps on. 'Sex and the City' was all the rage. Fashion talk about shoes. There was some serious stuff, but don't remember. Earlier, ME's more of carnival than ever. No disrespect to Harvey Korman, but his passing got more airtime than Arthur C. Clarke, it seems, and with unremarkable soundbytes to boot. In their storytime segment, I was touched by the poignancy of a woman who told of the death of her son, but then realized that the exploitation of her grief was yet another NPR slimeball stunt: to pepper their creamy show with 'serious' stuff, just to remind us critics that NPR is still a 'serious' operation. Sleazebags!

Also, NPR's really, really getting its rusty hooks into Asia. They just discovered it, you know. Recently, Tom Ashbrook of 'On Point' did what I thought was a decent series on contemporary China, from Shanghai. Not to be outdone, we now have Inscreep mucking about in Karachi (and he can't decide what the city's actual population is), probably for purposes of reconnaissance for corporate interests who want 'in' to another burgeoning market. I'm amused that NPR has finally gotten around to acknowledging the existence of this major city, but I'm horrified at the prospect of hearing their interpretation of it, so I'd damn well better skip the upcoming series. I know Inscreep wants to get some tough on-the-road reportage to bump up his street cred, but the hell if I want to be his enabler.

And this Robert Smith, who's been subbing for Inscreep (and outdoing him in motormouth capabilities - the only reason he got the gig, I'll bet), well, he's a certifiable idiot, giggling and joking his way through the show like he's Howie Mandel or some other godawful 'host'.

And our - I mean NPR's - very own spoiled child in Russia, Grigory Feifer, delivers a patently awful bit of gibberish with snotty-voiced disapproval, from Georgia. It's about their separatist problem, but you'd never know, as Grig is just so preoccupied with how stupid things are in that part of the world - as if it were all explainable because Stalin was from there (Gori, actually).

Is there no one at NPR, in listening to these winners, who thinks, 'these guys really suck'? Probably not, as they almost ALL suck!

Then, a lot more 'Sex and the City' stuff, natch.

Finally, Mikey Sullivan's still on the Burma case, and the metallic drone of his boring voice got emotional yet again, as he just can't figure out why the paranoid ruling junta won't let in aid workers and supplies. FYI, Sullivan: we're dealing with a PARANOID RULING JUNTA here. Understand that. They're insane. That's a given. Burma has been ruled by insane persons since 1962. But here's one reason why they're kind of touchy: (no, I'm NOT defending them, pal) the junta has always thought that the western powers are out to overthrow them. They could be right. There's a little thing called Iraq going on just across the way. Afghanistan, too. Oh, and to them, Iran's next. Maybe even Pakistan. India won't defend 'em, and China's got its hands kind of full right now. They're stupid, but they aren't that stupid. Besides, to them, those rural people out in the Irrawaddy delta are entirely disposable. Peasant trash. There's a class system and many racial issues in the Union of Burma. (Shades of Katrina, maybe? You think?) Anyway, all the junta cares about is that there are American warships on their threshold. That's making them MORE paranoid. I saw an email from an Army Corps of Engineers source that said the warships were waiting for the opportunity so that "our armed forces could land" (actual wording). What sort of signal does that send? Americans are often No. 1. That includes No. 1 in the blundering department, too.

And finally, I might add, up the Bay of Bengal a ways, Bangladesh endures a regular regime of disastrous cyclones, most of which end up as footnotes in the western press, and thousands of people regularly perish. True, Bangladesh is not ruled by a junta per se, but that doesn't make their sufferings any less. A cyclone is a cyclone. Burma has considerable resources, including oil. Bangladesh only has people. You better believe the west wants into Burma. An Axis of Evil candidate, ripe for regime change? A neocon dream. OF COURSE Aung San Suu Kyi should be freed and allowed to form a government, but that isn't the point of this argument.

So, did NPR ruin my day? I don't know, but it made me spew quite a bit. Sorry for the length. I'll try to limit it to my blog in future.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

Woo-wee! Special Yakking Melmoth (s)edition! Get well, pizano, and most of all, please don't allow them to make you have a relapse! I'd rather pay attention to your summary of 'them' than to expose myself to the source material (especially in regards to fluffy-whipped payola-driven glowing reviews of entertainment that I've no time for or interest in).

Porter Melmoth said...

Thanks, kindly b!...b! On the mend already. And it started when I flipped the 'off' switch. No kidding. That's why I call it National Pollution Radiation. I guess my experiment proved something.

So, here goes:


Man, I never thought I'd be saying that, but it sure feels good.