I put my
idle time during the daily commutes of about an hour or so to good use; I listen
to the AM radio talk shows! Living here in the
The fireworks begin at sharp. The great master of the art of beating the hollow drum, Rush Limbaugh, begins his irritating percussive rhetoric for three hours straight on AM 600. During the same period, a self-declared humble genius (isn't that an oxymoron?) Dennis Prager, the Fiddler on the Mike, uses his Zero Mostel voice on 1170 on the dial. Dennis tries to impress us all that he is truly a renaissance man - he simply knows everything about everything, and some! At it is the spinmeister Bill O'Reilly, already a legend in his own mind, who begins to "opine" on "pithy" stuff on his "No-Spin" show (isn't that a joke?) on AM 760.
At the baton is passed to other voices of political conservatism: Michael Medved follows Dennis Prager, and Sean Hannity takes over from O'Reilly. The only noteworthy or high-profile bigots that remain are Michael Savage who takes over from Mr. Hannity at , followed by Tony Snow at on Fox 760.
Why do I
listen to these voices of bigotry and intolerance? The answer is simple: I learn
a lot more listening to people that I deplore than to people I agree with. Plus,
these characters are not a bunch of lightweights; they claim the largest
listening audiences in
We are talking about the average pedestrian, the major constituent of any society the world over, the mediocrity, those who'd much rather have someone else do the thinking for them rather than take the trouble themselves. Just listen to them call in to pay homage to their patron saints of mediocrity. A typical exchange would sound something like the following:
"Hello, Rush. It's indeed a great honor to be talking to a great man like you, sir. Yours is the voice of wisdom and reason."
"Well, young man, you must be a brilliant fellow to have realized that. Any other comments that I might agree with?"
"Hello, Dr. Savage. What an honor to be speaking with you."
"I know - tell me something I don't know. Now, what's on your mind?"
"Well, you are my hero; your knowledge is astonishing."
"Just for that, I am sending you a copy of my book, The Savage Nation or The Enemy Within. 'Bye."
"Hello, welcome to Savage Nation."
Our renaissance man, Dennis Prager, whose philosophy can best be described as a shallow Zen-Judaism, opens his show by humming along with a hair-raising soundtrack from some heroic motion picture like the Gladiator. Unlike Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and some others, Prager does make some sense when addressing current cultural or social issues, albeit from a very conservative perspective, and only when he can toot his own horn, and he doesn't miss any opportunity to do just that. As to be expected, renaissance men must endeavor constantly to prove, mostly to themselves, that they are indeed renaissance men. And, as is the case without fail, their eclecticism is spread so wide and so thin that their limited expertise stretches to the point of rupture. Underneath the veneer of pseudo-sophistication one can easily see the giant ego, the bigger than life I, that drives our renaissance men's thought engine.
Well, this wundermensch, Dennis Prager, stands a handsome six foot four (he's proud to let you know), quotes from Isaiah Berlin, conducts symphony orchestras (he so claims), has written THE book on happiness, knows about the Greek legend of Sisyphus, writes and lectures on Jewish history and tradition, and appears on like-minded TV shows. In short, Dennis sounds like he's got the world by the tail, hence his base-baritone Zero Mostel vibrato that often accompanies his orgasmic opening bars to the 'Dennis Prager Show.'
a staunch defender of
Mr. Prager does his homework methodically: First, he monitors the other God's gift to humanity, Bill O'Reilly, and follows up on the more famous guru's daily propaganda by highlighting the same current events issues. He then voices his reverence for Christianity and Christian values, right after announcing that he is an Orthodox Jew. This accomplishes two tasks simultaneously: while pandering to the largest possible audiences, the Christian Americana, he feigns his objectivity by being a non Christian himself, as he levels his daily routine of criticizing, ridiculing and insulting everything Islamic - his pet agenda.
But wait, as he insists every once in a while, Dennis is not anti-Islam, only anti-militant Islam - there is a big difference, he says. Well, how nice of Dennis; but if you listen to this pompous bigot long enough you will find that to him most if not all Moslems are militant!
summarize, Dennis is a passionate man; he is truly in awe with himself, and he
So, there you have it folks, as Dennis would say.
FOX NETWORK'S SLY FOX
When comedian Al Franken attempted to challenge Fox TV's Bill O'Reilly and his 'No Spin Zone', it was clearly an exercise in futility. Those who are prone to tune in to Al Franken or go to see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 are neither fans of the great spinmeister, O'Reilly, nor impressed by this sly fox's self-aggrandizements. I, on the other hand, cannot wait to tune in to his hour-long program, Monday through Friday, at .
Then, again, I am also accused of having a rather strange taste for art and music. For example, I get bored with music that you could hum or whistle to or relax by, the so-called elevator or background music. Instead, I find Schnittke and Dutilleux fascinatingly rich in creative complexity, and worth spending time to listen to.
In his own way, O'Reilly is also richly endowed with creative complexity. A lowly reporter, albeit with a Harvard background, he has risen to prominence as the Number-One talk show host on television nationwide. Other conservative talking heads emulate him, he is often quoted by friend and foe, and some of the biggest names in the political scene make guest appearances on his show.
In short, Bill O'Reilly has become a living legend, in his own mind, of course, and he is totally convinced of his own greatness. That gives a man a lot of self-confidence.
Being a self-declared honest and straightforward 'no-spin' sort of guy, Bill does not believe in hiding the truth when it comes to his own genius by pretending modesty or humility, he believes in calling a spade a spade. It is in this spirit of frank openness that he holds his opinions as not just opinions, but as matters-of-fact, and regards those who disagree with him as either utterly deficient in mental faculties, or up to some ulterior agenda. You just cannot be right if Bill disagrees with you; it is that simple; alright?
To maintain that profile of infallibility, great care is exercised in inviting the right personalities to appear as guests on his O'Reilly Factor shows. Being only a millimeter or two to the left of the extreme Right, Bill considers himself as a Centrist. To live up to his 'fair and balanced' analyses, he prefers to invite expert guests from similarly Centrist! think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute, the New American Century, the Middle East Forum or the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, etc.
Sometimes, however, his choice of guests backfires. On rare occasions when the guest refuses to echo Mr. O'Reilly's cunningly chosen lines, Bill simply, and quite rudely, overrules the hapless fellow and converts the dialogue into his patented monologue - that of answering his own questions the way they should be answered; after all, his is the 'No Spin Zone, no less!
O'Reilly's Centrist, fair and balanced mindset compels him to hold Israel's
policies as also fair and balanced, which leads to the unavoidable conclusion
that all other states in the Middle East, and indeed the rest of the world, are
by definition unfair and out of kilter. And, since the Israeli government
Last Tuesday evening, O'Reilly's special guest was the neocon guru, Michael Ledeen, PHD (in capital letters.) This known Israel firster, i.e., Iran hater, is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a member of American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a co-founder of the Coalition for Democracy in Iran along with Morris Amitay who is another AIPAC leader (Boy, those nice Israelis truly want democracy for Iran!), and is a ranking member of the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs. He is also a regular contributor to the Jewish World Review publication.
The topic was, needless to say, the Iranian threat! Now, this is what O'Reilly calls fair and balanced reporting.
O'Reilly has done this before, many times. A few weeks ago, during the heat of insurgencies in Fallujah, Iraq, Bill, looking quite sincerely puzzled, asked the obvious question as to why we were not dealing with Iran since we knew that those terrorists were Iranian infiltrators. I suppose Mr. O'Reilly has powers of clairvoyance as well! Let's not ask how this knucklehead knew that those insurgents in Fallujah were Iranian terrorists; we don't want to look stupid now, do we!
just recently, O'Reilly's guest was another Iran-basher, Patrick Clawson of the
American Enterprise Institute (surprised?), who stood in attention and amplified
his host's assertions about
has Bill O'Reilly decided to pick on
Think Again: Fox Outfoxes Itself - Center For American Progress
... Payvand News - 7/16/04 ... --