Sunday, March 1, 2009

So Far Removed From Freshness, This Rant Seems Ridiculous

It was last Wednesday, Feb. 25, when I ventured out to drive my oldest daughter home from a serious dental appointment.

Right away, I changed the radio from NPR, my "regular" listening choice, to the Fox affiliated Austin AM station, for the hickfest of local talk show programming. The boys on the morning show have quite an interesting format, with two rednecks, and a liberal wannabe who tries to make token obeisance to the "fair and balanced" part of the Fox slogan.

One thing I have noticed in my many years of life, is that it is a common trait of the human psyche that each human being thinks that "everything could be better if everyone thought like me".

The morning boys took a lot of calls, and their topic was varied, but tended toward the new proposal in the Texas legislature that women be required to have a sonogram before having an abortion. Of course there were many varying opinions on this, as well there should be. There's certainly nothing wrong with healthy discussion.

I met my daughter just as her husband dropped her off at the dentists, and went on to work. I waited through her appointment, and dropped her off at her house in the southern part of Austin.

On the way home, I heard another local talk show, in which one of the "regulars" had been supplanted by a female guest. They were taking different sides of an issue, and they were talking about S E X!!!! The gist of the program was that Texas has a sex education policy of "abstinence is the only way". The guy took the position that teaching abstinence did not work, that Texas has actually suffered from this policy. The woman said "it works, but not the way it's being taught in schools". I have to agree with both of them!

There is no question that abstinence is the absolute most sure-fire way to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but HOW IN THE WORLD CAN YOU TEACH IT IN SCHOOL??? Sex education should start in the home, and preferably about the time the child begins to talk. Moral issues should be discussed between parents and children. The parents should not expect the schools to take on teaching duties that are rightfully their own, then complain that they're not done "correctly".

And, this local talk show also took a lot of callers, and, although there were no conclusions reached, there was exposure to a lot of varying opinions, with each caller thinking that "all could be right if everyone thought like me".

I made a stop at Discount Electronics, and another at Fry's (which I always try to work into a trip to Austin), and then it was time for "El Rushbo", the undisputed king of the talk show hosts, as you will hear him announce himself. One thing I have observed, after twenty years of exposure to his show, is that he rarely takes callers any more. I know that his stated purpose is to allow only calls that will "make the host look good". That purpose is the one that he has expressed himself, I did not just make it up. Therefore, it appears that he's taken fewer and fewer calls over the years, and now, his show is basically a monologue.

It amuses me that, each Friday, he announces "Open Line Friday", as the "greatest risk it's possible for a talk show host to take", and opens the lines to people who select their own topics! I rarely listen to Rush any more, but I'm willing to say that there are probably not very many callers allowed in on Fridays either.

So, last Wednesday, he announced that "his next hour would be devoted to callers from women only, because he honestly wanted opinions on why he has a lower opinion rating among women than men". Well, he started off that hour with the announcement that he had the "perfect" woman set up to start the show, but she hung up (maybe because it took so long to get through the screening process). Then he said, "We'll start taking these calls just as soon as I say this", then went into fifteen minutes of monologue, before he took a call from a call from a lady who said that her father had to practically force her to listen to Limbaugh the first time, but she'd been hooked for the last eight years. Her contribution was that many of her friends have listened to him briefly, and felt he was "pompous". Now, we all know that's a fact, but there must be more compelling reasons than that to avoid him altogether. Before this call was finished, I was home, so do not know if he took any others or not.

One thing that I learned from my radio experience of last Wednesday, and that I'm relating today, is that the history of the human race is written by people, all of whom have the common attitude, "The world would be a better place if everyone thought like me".

As I think back over the words I've written today, I cannot help but wonder, "How can any information about our history be totally correct?" I firmly believe that it's very difficult to decide where you're going if you don't know where you've been. Yet, how can any of us be absolutely sure where we've been?

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