Friday, January 21, 2011

AM Radio

No, not that one!

(Though I do happen to like it).

My car wouldn't start on Wednesday, so I had to quickly arrange a loaner from my grandmother, who generously allowed me to use her 30 year old Oldsmobile for the day. I usually listen to the Philly NPR station or local college radio, depending on what I happen to be in the mood for, but this car had a cassette deck for which I had no tapes and an AM radio.

Not wanting to drive over an hour in silence, I tried to find something decent. I hadn't really listened to AM radio in ages and it was about what I expected, a lot of sports shows, a lot of talk shows, somebody singing in Spanish at the far end of the dial. For the drive in, I settled on Radio Disney (see this post about my role as a thirteen-year-old girl), and on the way back I wound up listening to the Sean Hannity show.

Obviously, our politics are very different, but I'm always interested in hearing what other people think. I mean, I think he's dead wrong about almost everything, but at least he's making the effort to articulate his philosophy.

To digress for a moment. A while back I had one of those silly Facebook comment wars with a friend of my wife's and the whole thing wound up getting pretty nasty. She thinks House, M.D. is a good show and I don't, and the crux of my argument was that if she isn't going to at least try to explain why she thinks it's good, then I'm not going to give her opinion a lot of weight.

When we were having this debate, I at one point mused: "You know, no one asked me the obvious question: How would you feel if somebody trashed Roger Zelazny/Scott Pilgrim/whatever? I was thinking about it and realized my answer would be "'Great! Because then I'd have a chance to talk about it!'"

That's the thing. I'm endlessly fascinated about why people believe the things they do. That's part of the reason I'm so happy that people are commenting on the blog now with greater regularity. Obviously, "Sluggishly Sloshed" Chris and I have different opinions on Eye of Cat, but I'm looking forward to hearing what he likes about the book. Who knows? Maybe I'll come around.

Back to Hannity. I've never listened to his radio show, but I guess he's been doing it for a long time. One thing I've noticed is that he's really good at filling time. He was talking about how health care reform would be an onerous burden on restaurant owners and then he segued into a little story about how he worked in a restaurant, and how there are always things to be done, and he launched into a ten minute segue enumerating these chores in fairly exhaustive detail.  I guess you have to stretch things out if you're going to be on the air for a couple hours every day.

I noticed that he was very good at distorting the truth and seeming to back it up. In the maybe thirty minutes I listened, he played the same clip three times, of a Democratic Rep saying that if Healthcare reform is repealed, then people will die. When the clip ended, he would say "Did you hear what she said? After her President called for civility at the memorial service on Tuesday? She said that REPUBLICANS WANT TO KILL GRANDMA!" Well, no she didn't, asshole. What she said was that if healthcare reform were to be repealed, some people will lose their insurance, and people at the outer fringes will die as a consequence.

To his credit, he didn't support the truly crazy of his callers. When somebody called in and said that Steampunk Palin was correct in her use of the phrase blood libel in regard to some of the criticism she's been receiving. He agreed with the caller, reassured him that they shared the same viewpoint, and then went on to clearly contradict him, but doing it with such a light touch that the caller wound up agreeing with him. Also, when someone asked him why Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who shot Representative Giffords and many others, hadn't been committed, Hannity answered the question exactly the same way I would have, that it's really hard to have someone committed against his will.

I wouldn't want to listen to him regularly, because he's a deeply mendacious man with a real mean streak, but it was informative to hear what kind of arguments he was making. Also, if I ever need some commemorative gold coins, I only have to wait for the next commercial break!

No comments:

Post a Comment