Saturday, March 18, 2006

Not Particularly Rigorous Radio

On this past Tuesday I did something I never do; I listened to the ‘all news, all the time’ NPR affiliate. Because I am a word and structure person, I listened for structure and word usage. I heard an abundance of ‘in some cases’, ‘in a few instances’, ‘in one example’, and a lot of ‘could happen’, ‘might possibly be’ and ‘in some cases, once and a while, maybe one person could possibly be’, all the preceding seemingly followed by policy must do’s, and breaths & bells of alarum. I don’t think I learned anything from NPR news except that it isn’t possible to learn anything from NPR news.

There was insufficient context. I am suspicious of their experts. I did not know anything about the biases of the organizations whose spokesman they quoted or whose sound bites they played. (Have you ever heard of the Cataleptic Artichoke Institute, or the Society for the Reduction of the Preservation of the Ellipse? I didn’t think so.)

They did, in succeeding hourly news roundups call Saddam Hussein “…former dictator”, although an hour later he was back to “…former leader.” Maybe it’s an odd hour/even hour, mix it up for variety reporting tactic. At 10:00AM, (I could be wrong about the time,) the rounds of world news, local news, weather, and “This hour supported by” choruses, the local talk personality entered, stage electronic, a Kerry Miller. (Name sounds like mine so I spell it that way. All other spellings are wrong. See the County in Ireland, the Ring of- in Ireland, the blue terrier in Ireland, and the endless jokes about the Kerrymen of Ireland.) she and a local cardiac surgeon/doctor/heart specialist talked generally about a recent convention in Atlanta. Hard plaque, soft plaque, stress tests, the weaknesses of stress tests in revealing heart weaknesses, a better test for showing the same etc. She could have been better prepped. I thought her questions were too soft, like ice cream melted past the frosty crystals yet not completely goop. One could refreeze it or still eat it, though neither would be satisfying. Throw it away and you have to go buy more or do without. But the stage lights are on, so you can’t leave. Then she asked this chocolate-mint pickle ice cream flavor of a question, and I have this quote correct, “Do you feel that you know…”

(I’m glad I wasn’t at the saw, I’d have run my hand into the blade.) Do you feel that you know? Wow.

“Feel that you know” is an impossible flavor combination. Feel confident, tasty. Feel strongly about a test’s predictive ability, crispy. Feel competent to diagnose heart disease, (based upon what one knows), firm and chewy. Feel that sweet is reasonable? Feel that thinking is parallel? Feel that eleven plus cantaloupes corrects defective inner ear balance problems…? What a mix up.

Jung kept these opposites opposite: introvert-extrovert, thinking-feeling, knowing-perceiving, and sensing-judging. Ice cream makers do not mix up the givens. There is no chocolate-vanilla flavor, no coffee-strawberry, no peanut sorbet, no watermelon-mocha. Chocolate peanut, watermelon sorbet, coffee mocha, and the striped chocolate-strawberry-vanilla Neapolitan, give me a spoon! I feel that the thinking of this particular NPR ice cream flavor maker ought to go back into the deep-logic freeze. Her carton is leaking, and there is sticky stuff coming out of the radio.

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