I’ve taken to listening to NPR. I’m not sure why, or even when this deviant behavior began, but I’ve developed an interest in the culture. For example, a couple days ago, on the BBC News Hour, which NPR presents locally, I heard a wonderfully obnoxious interview/discussion between a male British vegan and a female American vegetarian. The interviewer was quite fascinated in what sorts of people each of them would consider dating. The vegan wouldn’t have anything to do with anyone who consumed meat or animal products. What if he kissed someone who had animal parts in her teeth? The vegetarian said that she didn’t care, she would potentially date a butcher, even a hunter! Maybe on the hunter. Plus she herself consumes fish. The vegan bitterly explained that consuming fish caused great suffering to the fish. There was a certain level of animosity between them, and to my ears, the vegetarian at least sounded sane. But then, but then… the vegetarian pipes up, rather defensively I thought, and proclaims, I would date a hunter but there is one person I would never date – a Republican.
So the following day I heard a bit of an interview with Tom Ashbrook, who does a talk show for our local NPR affiliate, and the subject was the fact that there were more babies-of-color than babies-of-white born in the US last year. Mr. Ashbrook was interviewing some “experts” on race relations. The part I heard had to do with the novel idea that young people across races are in more agreement with their peers on this topic, than with elders within their own “race”, their specific “of-color”. (Strange, I thought. Young people feel differently than older people, and more like each other. I don’t recall that phenomena in the 60s and 70s.) Then, out of the clear blue sky, an arrow sailed into my car window, just missing my jugular. The Tea Party, we learned, is both older than 40, and racist. But they will die. To be replaced by young people who are not at all racist. And all will be good. Seriously, they talked about a racist Tea Party that would die soon. I am not exaggerating.
Oh my, I thought. The Tea Party has nothing to do with race, everything to do with fiscal responsibility. Why is a federally tax supported radio station putting on programming that slams perfectly reasonable citizens? Or, put another way, why are we certain that on NPR we won’t hear a sentence like: The Black Church is both older and racist. But they will die. … Or one person I would never date is a Democrat? I would never even hang out with a Democrat.
Finally, last night I heard a bit of Terry Gross interviewing an African American actor. Mostly what they discussed was race. That’s fine, except when you consider the context that all is race on that station. Is this about the election, or do they really just talk about race all day, every day? I am reminded of the period in the 90′s when John Grisham books were very popular. At one point, it looked as if his were the only books that could possibly sell – ever. All anyone wanted to read was legal thrillers.
So I thought it might be fun to remember and record some of these nasty little attacks that our tax dollars provide. If you, or any of your friends, ever listen to this claptrap, we would like to hear from you. Send us a short description of the offensive, race-baiting, tearing us apart from the inside-out, conversation and we’ll start a regular feature.