November 8, 2005

Armchair Sadism

Riding in to the university this morning, I got a good dose of local radio. In the space of about 15 minutes I heard Barry (the late morning host) egg a caller on in his insistence that the Bush administration has not aggravated Muslim world opinion against the United States.

His supporting example was “look at the terrorist attacks before Bush was president” in specific, the 1995 nerve gas attack in the Tokyo subway.

OK, fella. Now Aum Shinrikyo (the Japanese death cult) are Muslims? Did Barry correct him on this? Forfend. I have never heard him correct an agreeing caller on even the most blatant mistake.

Soon after, a woman called in to support the use of torture. She happily said it was sometimes necessary, and when Barry asked what sort of torture she would recommend, she just laughed and said she wouldn’t make a very good torturer.

The conversation eventually turned to the riots in France and as Barry was making a point of his own, she interrupted him and joked, “Maybe if they tortured some of those people they wouldn’t have a riot.” Nice.

Finally, another caller wanted to weigh in on the riots and he rambled on for about 3 minutes trying to describe why he thought there had been a similar problem in Louisiana after Katrina. It was painfully obvious as he started out calling them “poor people” and then redacting and narrowing his definition to “poor people who don’t have any motivation to better themselves” that he was zeroing in on something. Like a bug circling a flame, he didn’t want to get right into it, but couldn’t exactly put his finger on what sort of person it was that he felt was responsible for rioting. It’s almost as if he had the words, but didn’t want to say.

Gee, I wonder what sort of person he was getting at?

I love morning radio. And “Armchair Sadists” are my favorite new demographic.

Posted by James at November 8, 2005 11:14 AM
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Gee, I wonder what sort of person he was getting at?

The same kind of people alluded to when people out my way try to "derail" the rail trail.

All those black people will ride out on their bicycles with their shotguns and rape all our women!

As Cleavon Little's character in "Blazing Saddles" says, "Where all the white women at?"

Didn't you realize all white people took only supplies from stores during Katrina (because they were starving) and all black people looted because they were, well, black!

Honestly, why do you listen to that crap on the radio? It serves only to make your head pop off.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 8, 2005 1:33 PM

I listen because it's entertaining, can provide blogfodder, and it lets me put my finger on the pulse of the region.

Time to get out the paddles?

Posted by: James at November 8, 2005 2:37 PM

Rail trail? The town I grew up in (Millis) didnt want the MBTA to run commuter trains out to them in the 1970s (when the B&M stopped running out there) because "People from the city will come out and rob us".

Another example 2 houses ago. I lived in a house that had an old road next to it (overgrown, unless you saw a map, it was just woods) that went between 2 neighborhoods. People in our neighborhood wanted to make a trail on the old road so kids could ride bikes and walk to school (about 1/2 mile as the crow files, 4 miles by car). The people in the other neighborhood fought it, one woman saying "People will come out from the city with their ladders, and park in your neighborhood, and carry their ladders up the path to our houses and break in!".

And people wonder why I drink.

Posted by: Bob McCown at November 8, 2005 3:09 PM

Heh, I often wish people would drink *more.*

They said the same thing (about city people and shortcuts) in Orlando when they wanted to run an express train (maglev, I think?) from the touristy south end of town and Kissimmee to bring people into downtown Orlando. The concern was that such a train would make it easy for nasty city people to go to International drive and pick tourists' pockets.

In Orlando, most nasty city people have cars, so transportation TO tourist areas is not a problem. Tourists often do not have cars, so it is harder for them to get around, which isn't so good for downtown.

Regardless, if I were a nasty city person (and I suppose technically I was), such allegations would really hurt my feelings. What am I, some kind of idiot? Why would I take the train all the way out to Int'l drive if that same train was going to deliver all of those tourists to me?

That was the topic of conversation, last time I listened to a radio talk show *voluntarily.* (Lots of involuntary listening to Howie Carr when I was living with my parents, but that doesn't count 'cuz I was drunk most of the time.)

For me, talk radio *is* armchair sadism. I'm glad someone else is keeping an ear on this stuff so I don't have to.

Posted by: Julie at November 8, 2005 3:30 PM

Why do you torment me so? Barry is a mouthy, irresponsible, personality-disordered monster. The eleven bickering creeps who call that station represent the "pulse of the region" in the same way its six advertisers represent the economy of the region: Not at all.

Posted by: ThirdMate at November 8, 2005 3:45 PM

It's true, Thirdmate, they don't represent the pulse of the region.

More like scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Maybe a better way to put it is, checking for the lower boundaries?

You and I both know why I listen. It's like picking at a scab or playing with a cavity. Or staring at an accident. Or visiting a freak show.

Those are all metaphors, except for the last one.

Posted by: James at November 8, 2005 4:13 PM

Also remember that Barry is the morning "news" guy who often calls Ted Kennedy "a fat drunk murderer." I'm a reformed "talk" radio listener and worker. Much like some former smokers, I can't help but complain about the smoke.
I'll stop now.

Posted by: ThirdMate at November 8, 2005 4:25 PM

Only stop if you're doing it for your own health.

I've cut way back on my listening, but I still tune in now and again. Although, I have to be honest with you folks. When my doctor asks how much I listen to talk radio, I usually lie and lowball on the answer. I don't want a speech about heart attacks and stroke.

Remember, it's only upsetting if you take these people seriously. Don't inhale too deeply.

Posted by: James at November 8, 2005 5:02 PM

The ninjas will come to your house with their silent glass cutters, climb up to your second story window, sneak in, unject you with liquid cocaine, and drag you off!

Posted by: briwei at November 8, 2005 5:21 PM


You know, with the distance of time that seems like a pretty silly plan now, doesn't it?

And what high school student has ninjas anyhow? Or syringes filled with liquid cocaine?

(For those not in on the joke, Bri was once threatened with such a fate by a delusional individual.)

Posted by: James at November 8, 2005 5:31 PM

It seemed pretty silly back then, too. :)

Posted by: briwei at November 9, 2005 12:11 AM

Bob M., this sounds like the current opposition put forth by Hingham over the MBTA Greenbush line.

Hingham sought to derail the project saying they wouldn't allow the MBTA to go through their town, and I'd heard some talk of tunneling UNDER Hingham, but I'm not sure where the project is now.

Poor people from New Bedford and Fall River will take the train to Hingham and a) rape all our women, b) steal all our stuff, c) inject us with liquid cocain and slit our throats, or d) all of the above.

Give me a break.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 9, 2005 9:03 AM

I thought NB/FR were supposed to get added to the Stoughton line, so I'd have to go to South Station and then change trains if I wanted to rape your women, steal your stuff, etc. I'm too lazy for any of that. It'd be easier if I just got on the Middleboro train instead, because Hingham would be added to the lines that go to Middleboro or Kingston. (Say hi to my cousin, he drives one of those trains, but not high on cocaine that I know of.)

Posted by: Julie at November 9, 2005 10:06 AM

The day you folks down in the SC get train service will be the day we have a governor and legislature that give a rat's ass about SE Mass. In other words don't hold your breathe.

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at November 9, 2005 10:34 AM

Oh, I'm not counting on state government to take the lead; I just want them to sign the damn checks. I feel that the local leadership needs to be more leaderly in making it all happen.

A more assertive NB mayor might help. AFAIK, the Fall River mayor has harrassed Romney about commuter rail, but ours was kind of lazy about that (and mayorin' in general). I don't know about the Taunton mayor. But if the three of them were to join forces, they might be able to make something happen.

Of course, the pro-casino lobby claims that a casino in NB would get us a train sooner. I wouldn't count on it, but maybe that's because I don't want a casino.

Posted by: Julie at November 9, 2005 11:08 AM

For you to get a commuter rail somebody needs to publish a rumor about a New Bedford/southcoast high tech boom. Or maybe call it a monorail to get attention. 'Cause, as you know, everyone loves monorails.

Posted by: Mike L. at November 9, 2005 1:55 PM

LOL, Mike! Supermarkets in Fairhaven still don't have self-checkout lanes (not that I would use them). Traffic lights along rt. 6 in NB are timed rather than smart, even at 3 in the morning. No one is going to believe a rumor about high-tech on the Southcoast until we adopt *20th* century technology.

Maybe they'll let us have a steam-powered train.

Posted by: Julie at November 9, 2005 2:13 PM

Hey, we can tell them that New Bedford had a Klingon for a mayor. That's gotta seem futuristic, and worth some high teck cred.

Posted by: James at November 9, 2005 2:32 PM

Hey Julie, we don't have those things here in Stow either. unless you live in Boston or 5 miles from it those things aren't too common.

The light thing kills me every time I have to sit through back to back red light cycles in Maynard at 5:30 in the morning when there are literally no cars coming in any other direction.

Self checkout I think I'd use if only because I know I can do a better job and faster AND am capable of bagging groceries (eg more than one item per plastic bag!). I often do may own bagging and have been known to ask the bagger not to "help" me.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at November 9, 2005 3:03 PM

Nah, the traffic lights in Somerset are smart and the new Super Shaws in Dartmouth has self-checkout lanes. Heck, even the Stop & Shop in Sandwich has self-checkout.

I hate self-checkout because the scanner is slow and easily confused, especially if it has to weigh things.

Posted by: Julie at November 9, 2005 3:19 PM

Hey, I like self-check out, except when I forget to take my change. Star in Porter Square has self-check out, and one of the last times I was in there, I left my coinage. The nice woman who was after me gave me my change when I came back to the store.

It really is faster, but you don't get those fun coupons like you would if some mouth-breather rang up your stuff.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 9, 2005 3:24 PM

I'm usually pretty quick at the self-checkout at Stop & Shop, and you get all the same coupons there as well.

The machines have improved. At first they were slow, and some supermarkets (like the one in Fall River) have a different setup that is gawdawful.

However, I bought pomegranates today and the belt would not let me check them out. They kept gettign returned. And when the belt returns somehting, it smacks it back against the lip of the scale.

It did this about 7 times to my pomegranates before a clerk came to assist me. Turns out, even though it asks for the number of pomegranates, if I don't put them through 1 at a time it gets pissy. In other words, the thing does not work right if you buy 3 produce items and they are not together in a bag.

Posted by: James at November 9, 2005 3:49 PM

Y'see? That's why I'm for "smart checkout" lanes and self-check traffic lights. Except on Rt. 6 in Dartmouth. Those should be live-assist. With ninjas. (James, aren't pomegranates labor-intensive anyway? It just follows that they'd be trouble at the check-out.)

Posted by: ThirdMate at November 9, 2005 4:05 PM

Might I inquire as to why you need multiple pomegranates? I just ate one the other night, and I enjoyed it, but I don't see myself stocking up on them.

You have a yen for pomegranates?

Maybe if ninjas came by, they could slice up your pomegranates for "ease of use."

Posted by: Patti M. at November 9, 2005 4:09 PM

At my Stop&Shop, you can ask the sushi chef to prepare your pomegranates. Sadly, the butcher thinks it's "beneath him."

Posted by: ThirdMate at November 9, 2005 4:17 PM

I freaking love pomegranates.

Yes, I have a particular yen for them. Ever since I was a little kid. My grandfather used to give them to us. It's partly a middle-eastern thing, I imagine.

PJC: They are labor intensive, but I've gotten quite good at eating them in my 38 years on the planet. Some newspaper on the table, a towel to wipe my hands and a razor knife to score the skin and I'm good to go.

You get more bang for your work if you eat large pomegranates.

Posted by: James at November 9, 2005 4:18 PM

If you need help with your pomegranate and you can't find a ninja, or your butcher gives you flack, find a good Benihana chef; he will be happy to oblige, I am sure.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 9, 2005 4:22 PM

Me? The Swiss Army knife in the tub. No cameras.

Posted by: ThirdMate at November 9, 2005 4:22 PM

Self-checkout? Haven't tried 'em yet. Sounds like a euphamism for suicide.

Posted by: Mike L. at November 9, 2005 6:40 PM

That's pretty much how I feel when the thing tells me to remove all of my items from the belt and start over. AGAIN.

Posted by: Julie at November 9, 2005 10:22 PM

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