Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Math is Hard


So the Arbitron numbers came out. In terms of ratings, the show is either number 3 in New York; it either sucks the big one; or it could be doing slightly above average. So pick whichever scenario that you like. I don't care. It's up to you.


But it's doing pretty well in Boston, which is great. At least, we' re pretty sure it's doing well in Boston. Maybe.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Talking Up Imus

This...is exciting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's Such A Fine Line Between Stupid, and Clever

In honor of Monday's last guest, I now present one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Why Don't You Have A Seat Over Here...


So, do we need to be concerned about this?

UPDATE: Missing sex offender found in Portland
By (Washington) Tri-City Herald staff
Friday, Apr. 18, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. A sex offender was found and arrested in Portland last night after he went missing from his last known address in Kennewick, police said this morning.

A tip led Portland police to find and arrest John Imus, 46, for failing to register as a sex offender, a felony.

Tri Cities Crime Stoppers issued an alert about Imus on Monday after the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office charged him.

Police learned Imus did not stay at an address in the 500 block of West Albany Ave., which he indicated was his home after being released from Eastern Lake Hospital in Medical Lake on March 25.

Imus is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, meaning he’s considered very likely to reoffend.
He was convicted of voyeurism in Franklin County in 2001 and has previous convictions for third-degree assault in Spokane County and indecent exposure in California.

Benton County officials must now extradite Imus to the Tri-Cities, said Kennewick police spokesman Mike Blatman.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spellcheck is Not Your Friend

There's a news story extolling the recent programming successes of RFD-TV. There's Imus, there's the new Levon Helm show...and there's something described as "a rural version of Larry King Live." (To paraphrase the Colbert Report, "Great mental image...or the greatest mental image?")

Anyway, they attribute RFD's achievements to its exceptional, memorable, one-of-a-kind leader: a man named "Patrick Gottschalk."

In fact, Mr. "Gottschalk" is so influential that they want you to remember his name, and throughout the article they repeat the word "Gottschalk"...eight times.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hell Week

Last April 11th, my father had the misfortune of taking a phone call from an angry person. I was upset, and I know that it carried over the phone. “You’re not going to believe this,” I said. “Imus was cancelled!"

And I’ll never forget his response: “So?”

I was irritated at him, even though he made a very good point. At that moment, I was in the middle of the most incredible semester of my academic career. There are times where everything in your life - your friends, your work, your relationships – are absolutely perfect. Due to one thousand personal reasons, the period from January to May 2007 were some of the best months of my life.

So why did this hit me so hard? Or, to paraphrase my dad, why should I care?

Why should I care about the misfortunes of people with whom I share no relation, have never met, and will likely never meet? Yes, I admire their talent, and no, I would never wish ill upon them. But bad things happen to good people nearly every day. Terrible things. Why was their case any different?

We're in the middle of the anniversary of that awful week - "Hell Week," as I call it - and I figured that these questions were worth revisiting. There were so many aspects to this entire sordid episode that shocked me. Some are very na├»ve on my part, but others…I don’t know. Judge for yourself.

1)First, I was shocked by the fact that anyone actually got fired. I thought that, barring illness or death, this show would never be kicked off the air. Never. It had been around for 35 years, it was an institution, and on and on. Yeah, I know that’s a little ignorant, but it’s exactly what I believed. I’m still not sure how it happened, honestly.

2) The demonization. I didn’t watch every single episode; I caught the first 30 minutes of every Monday and Tuesday before I went to work, so I usually saw about an hour per week. When the controversy started, I remember thinking, “Are these people REALLY that bad? Did I miss an episode where they did something horrible?” Judging by the reaction, you’d think that they’d sacrificed a virgin on the MSNBC anchor table. (Perhaps that happened on a Thursday.) I had no idea that the people I had “spent my mornings with” were so dangerous.

I didn’t watch most of the coverage that week, and I remember seeing a news segment about it a month later. (The segment - “Has America changed since the Imus firing?” The answer: No.) They showed some stock footage from MSNBC of Imus and McCord, sitting at their desks, coming back from a break. One was reading the newspaper, one was checking his mic. It was a benign little scene - if you took away the I-Man’s ridiculous fashion style, you could have easily placed the two in a subway, at a table in a diner, anywhere. But what creeped me out was that the news program was playing scary crisis music behind it. The kind of music they play when someone finds a “mysterious package” in an airport bathroom, or when there’s “local breaking news” about a man who keeps his wife in his freezer. And I will never forget that feeling - watching ominous music, over my morning routine.

3) Speaking of music, the songs they played on the program were incredible. They did an excellent job in setting the tone that week, and they are among the things that I remember the most about that awful occasion. I can still recall that eerie feeling of listening to “Atlantic City” at 6:30 AM. I had just witnessed this awful apologetic speech, which was traumatic in itself, because I realized that these terrible people had somehow beaten the I-Man into submission. When the song began, I realized how the opening lyrics somehow alluded to the situation at hand…and then my veins iced over when I heard “Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact - but maybe everything that dies someday comes back.” It doesn’t help that those lyrics are sung louder than all the others. I will forever associate that song with that week.

Martina McBride’s “Anyway” was also played in near entirety, with good reason: the lyrics seemed like they were written for the occasion. I think they also played Billy Joel’s apocalyptic “Miami 2017 (Seen The Lights Go Out on Broadway).” Key lyric: “They turned our power down/drove us underground/but we went right on with the show…” I must have played that song 100 times over the summer.

I don’t know who chose the music - Lou or the I-Man or another person - but someone was bringing their A-game that week.

4) Weasels. This topic has been done to death, so I won’t rehash it too much. I never believed that the I-Man's guests would win a Purple Heart for bravery (with the exception of Jack Jacobs, John McCain and John Kerry, of course), but I grew to admire a lot of the people on that program. What bugged me the most was that somewhere, perhaps in a dusty closet in Secaucus, there were days and days' worth of footage of various weasel journalists, yukking it up with the I-Man and telling some very un-PC jokes. Yet somehow, none of this showed up on the news.

Here’s how pathetic I was: I actually used to read Brian Williams’ blog on a regular basis. (Yes, he actually has a blog, and no, I’m not linking to it.) In fact, in late March of 2007 I actually bought the Men’s Vogue with him on the cover. My then-boyfriend laughed at me for buying Men’s Vogue, and I wish I had listened to him. When it was announced a few weeks ago that David Gregory was getting his own MSNBC show, I said, “You know, there was a point in my life when I would’ve been excited about that.” Sad.

I liked a lot of the guests that later turned out to be “traitors.” Brian Williams. Tim Russert. Jon Meacham. David Brooks. (Yeah, I was the one person that liked David Brooks. Don’t judge.) So you can imagine how I felt when I saw these people, who I thought represented truth in journalism, go two-faced. I didn’t just lose my favorite program; I also lost the respect of a chess set of people that I admired.

5) Personal strength. A survey completed in April 2007 revealed that upon hearing the phrase “nappy-headed hos," 55% of Americans “were paralyzed with shock,” 29% “cried like little girls,” and 12% “wet themselves.” (Source: Lexis-Nexis).

But…I did nothing. I am not a tough person, not really, but somehow I didn’t go into a mass panic. If you are horrified and disgusted by my lack of disgust, don’t become too concerned, because I’m sure that most of 2007-era America would agree with you.
If you weren't traumatized by those words, then something was deeply wrong with you - you were somewhere between “social eccentric” and “kid toucher.”

6) The suffering. Lots of people “suffered” during that fateful week, I discovered. But some tales of suffering were more poignant than others.

My personal favorite was from some Internet columnist. He told this compelling story about how, between 7:30 and 7:45 each morning, he had to venture out of his apartment in Manhattan to park his car. During this time frame he listened to the “Imus in the Morning” program, every morning, over the car radio. In his article, he reminisced about how absolutely dreadful the show was, how he never “laughed once,” and so on. He went into painstaking detail about how it killed him to listen, about how he was forced to hear to this garbage every day, and how he mentally suffered for it.

But his account was so moving. He painted this Tom Joad-like portrait of a man who bravely trudged to his car every weekday morning with knots in his stomach, ready to face his daily beating, hoping that maybe, just maybe, the torture wouldn't be so painful today...and how, each time, he was beaten down into submission. But he faithfully returned, every morning, to repeat the cycle again. Equally heartrending was that he was the only man in New York who did not possess an Ipod, Walkman, CD player, tape deck, or knob to change the channel.

Such was the tragedy of his life – up too late for Steve Somers, up too early for Joe & Evan.

7) The fact that I apparently have a vastly different values system than the rest of America. Okay, so maybe the words were wrong. I can accept someone saying that. But that someone insists that the words weren’t just wrong. They were…as bad as losing your husband to a heart attack. Seriously? That bad? Maybe your goldfish, but…your husband? Okay, well, if you say so, but…wait, what’s that? You’re saying that his words hurt you as much as your young daughter becoming disabled for life? Really? Well…

And the best part? No one challenged this.

Which leads us to

8) Alleged “role models.” Ladies, didn’t it drive you crazy when you were told, practically at gunpoint, that you had to accept Vivian Stringer as your personal role model and savior? Because if you didn’t like her, you were a traitor to your gender. She had suffered for us, dammit. It especially sucked for people my age, because she apparently is a "mentor" for college students, and was therefore touted as our “inspiration.”

So this is why the entire situation disturbed me so much. How did it disturb you?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Go See Rob And Tony

This Saturday, April 12, marks the anniversary of the day when the simple-minded masses shut down a group of talented people. Enraged and entitled, the easily-swayed throng ensured that no Imus employee would ever, ever work in public again.

What better way to mark this anniversary than to watch some Imus castmembers onstage?

Rob Bartlett will be at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT this Saturday, at 7 PM and 9 PM. Tickets are on sale here, and directions to the theatre are here. Tony Powell will be the opening act, so you'll get to see two Imus castmembers for the price of one. (Incidentally, you might want to bring Tony some nice hors d'oeuvres or a baked dish. He's only paid in food, and the backstage buffet might be sub-par.)

Rob and Tony will also be performing at the Gotham Comedy Club the following Saturday, April 19th, at 8 PM. You can buy tickets here and find directions here.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pwnage, One Year Later

So guess whose ratings have doubled?

According to this article, Imus' ratings this December are more than twice than what they were during his last few months at the 'FAN. At WABC, he has a 5.6; at WFAN, he had a 2.5.

You should seriously take the time to read the article. Remember all those people from last spring, the ones who were jumping up and down because they got some old guy fired from his job?

The majority of this piece consists of quotes from the same people, a year later, who say in a defeatist tone that Imus won. And that all of THEIR actions either amounted to nothing, or exacerbated the racial tension in our society.

I totally wish that I could mail this article back to my April 2007 self...