Egotists on NPR
A quarter-inch of ice here in the Raleigh-Durham area stranded 3,000 kids, closed the roads, and left us, activities cancelled, with too much time to listen to NPR.
The longer these on-air "personalities" have their gigs, the more they talk and the less their interviewees talk. The personalities clearly feel they deserve the tongue-in-cheek industry designation: Talent. Do you notice that when editing they leave their own witticisms on tape, and that their insightful musings consume more and more of the interviews? Their questions are often several sentences long, and in fact can only be identified as questions (rather than pontifications) by their eventual question marks. The mostly mute interviewees only get to say: "absolutely!" as in: "yes, brilliant commentator, your analysis is so perfect, I myself can not possibly have anything to add!".
What is with this word "commentator"? This is not a word.
Have you noticed the interviewer usually says: "Interviewee, I am wondering why you made this choice?" The question COULD have been: "Interviewee, why did you make this choice?" From the interviewer's point of view, though, his/her own state of wonderment merits inclusion. After all, the more often the interviewer is the subject of the sentence, the better.
When I first heard the Ira Glass interviews on NPR, his voice was never heard. He was like an on-air Studs Terkel - he put his subjects at ease and asked them good questions, then edited the responses into wonderful stories in which he did not intrude at all. Now he has his own show and is a "personality" and spends an awful lot of the time talking about himself.
There was a lovely, non-egotistical guy on NPR but they fired him. Why fire Bob Edwards, who was one of the less obtrusive and more humble and pleasant people they had? Why not fire Scott Simon instead, or LeeAnn Hanson, both of whom think they are just the most amusing people on air? They laugh uproariously at their own jokes.
How about Garrison Keillor? He is a wonderful storyteller but one of the worst singers ever. The more voice lessons he's gotten, the worse he sings. And the more he sings. Hasn't anyone ever had the nerve to tell him how awful it is? Well, it's his show. The price of admission, for real singers, is that they have to do duets with him. What a Faustian bargain! If Garrison weren't so obviously taken with himself it would be kitschy fun.
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