DATE: 8/23/2004 11:10:00 AM
You ever do something--maybe even more than once, maybe even habitually--and all the while you wondered, "What the hell am I doing this for?" but you still couldn't stop?
That's pretty much my relationship with the morning show I listen to on the radio. Basically, after college, when I returned to an area that gets radio stations besides the Farm Report (i.e.: not Amherst), and began getting up at wage-slave hours of the morning, one of the silver linings for me was that I could catch up with the morning radio show that had seen me through middle school and high school: the Matty in the Morning show on KISS 108.
When I began listening to Matty again, I found that his banter with Billy Costa, which I always found amusing, hadn't changed much. There's also still a female co-host whose job it is to act horrified at their "zany antics". Good times.
Unfortunately, I'd rather listen to a dentist's drill than the music KISS 108 plays. Somehow these Top 40 hits were not quite as atrocious when I was in seventh grade, but now, they violate my eardrums repeatedly with their utter hideousness. I also could do without the constant updates that pass for "news" about who Beyonce fucked most recently. I could care less; I'd rather hear Matty and Billy make half-jokes / half-on-air-confessions about how pathetic their lives are.
It got to the point where, every time KISS would fire up one of their Heapin' Helpin's O' "Music", I'd take refuge on another station. Even if it was just a commercial, I'd go listen elsewhere. Most often I found myself at 107.3 on the dial, which is WAAF, which is where the Hillman Morning Show makes its home.
Gradually, the time I'd stay on WAAF grew longer and longer, and eventually, I stopped switching back to KISS.
God only knows why. Greg Hill, the host of the show, is slightly to the right of Adolf Hitler in his politics, an unabashed Bush supporter, and only too happy to make infuriating political arguments the centerpiece of his show, when he and his sycophants LB (a former Boston Bruins hockey goon), Spaz (desperate to please, yet a functional retard at best), and Mike Hsu (a co-host at the time who has since switched to nights where he hosts his own show) are not denigrating women in every way possible.
Spaz suggests often that women should stay in the kitchen. He's the moron of the show, to be sure, and the other guys belittle him continuously, but you get the idea that it's only because he's stupid enough to say these things out loud on the air, and not because he's stupid enough to think them. One of the centerpieces of the show is the Miss Man Town competition, in which local bimbos are paraded through the office, auditioning to be splashed semi-naked across the pages of a calendar sold to drooling male fans.
I consistently find myself with the need to call in and argue with many of the things that are said, but I usually assuage this by reminding myself that it's morning, and I don't want to start the morning by being put down on the air, and since I'm a woman, I'll only be causing myself unnecessary pain and aggravation if I call this show with an opinion on anything besides how to groom my pubic hair. This has worked so far.
This morning, though, I came dangerously close to snapping and giving in to the masochistic urge to call. This morning the boys were having another mind-blowing discussion on the recent furor over John Kerry's military service. In case you missed it, Bob Dole is ripping Kerry for his service record in Vietnam and saying his Purple Hearts were undeserved.
The Hillman & Co., meanwhile, essentially espoused the opinion that while they don't think that this "scandal" will really destroy Kerry's hopes for the Presidency (as some have apparently speculated), it weakens him somewhat. Of course, given that Hillman is a Bush apologist, this is a good thing.
Some poor woman--apparently unable to overcome the temptation to call--pointed out that most people who planned to vote for John Kerry were doing so because they hated Bush, not because they liked Kerry. Hill conceded that point, but then proceeded to twist her words around to the point where a lump was in my throat by the time he'd finished, and my eyes were just about watering with frustration.
Of course, this was also due to the essentially infuriating nature of the original subject, which amounts to a Republican smear campaign on John Kerry regarding his military record (which, admittedly, he brought up in the first place--as Hill reminded us repeatedly). It's all a carefully calculated (and, ridiculously) successful campaign to obscure the fact that the current President never set foot in Vietnam, and that this is a bit of a blow against him considering he's now Commander in Chief of the United States military.
Republicans like Hill will wax righteous and indignant over the suggestion that Bush dodged service during Vietnam, laying down the guilt trip that anyone questioning Bush's service record is questioning the inherent viability of the National Guard and all its brave members. They will then seek to cloud the issue by pointing out that when Kerry came back from Vietnam, he threw his supposedly undeserved medals over the White House fence and testified before Congress about the atrocities he had witnessed and taken part in overseas.
God forbid John Kerry decided to take a stand against an unjust war. God forbid John Kerry, then just another one of the soldiers shipped off by greedy men with no regard for the livelihood of the next generation, attempt to draw attention to the injustices at hand at the time. God forbid John Kerry stood up for what he believed in, even when it made him an outcast--and still does today.
Something has happened since I was a kid. I grew up thinking I understood that Vietnam was a bad war. That what happened over there was wrong. That no one should be proud of what America did during that time. Now, though, it keeps cropping up as a campaign issue, from Clinton's draft dodging to Kerry's service, and it seems like either way, the Democrats can't win for losing.
If you dodged the draft, you were wrong. If you went, did your time, and lived to tell people that what was happening over there was an affront to humanity, you were wrong. Apparently the only way you could have been right was if you technically served on a domestic airbase in the Air National Guard, and never got your hands dirty with all that blood and napalm and jungle dirt. Apparently having Daddy set up a cushy nominal position that would never threaten you with active combat was the way to handle things back then--pity the fool who actually had a wrenching experience and handled it as rightly as he thought he could.
But hey. This is the same media juggernaut that made perhaps the most successful populist President since FDR out to be an evil, useless philanderer; convinced the world that a barely-literate fortunate son was a Great President; convinced the world that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on 9/11 and that a pre-emptive war in another part of the world with unfamiliar terrain where natives used unconventional warfare would be a good idea; and all while convincing the world that the very media they used to communicate these poisonous propaganda items were biased toward the other guys. You have to hand it to them.
In any event, though, the caller to the Hillman Morning Show today was right. This entire thing is a red herring--most people who are voting for Kerry this time around are voting for him to get Bush out of office, not to get him in. Which is a shame, because I don't much like Kerry either.
When will we have real choice in these elections? When will we stop being offered Bad and Worse? When will the lesser of two evils stop being our favored candidate for leader of the free world?
Does it even matter, anyway? Four years ago I went into a voting booth in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and I took a felt tip marker and filled in, strong and black, the circle next to the names I supported. I brought it back to the card table where over-permed ladies fumbled with bifocals on pearl chains and crossed my name and street address off a spreadsheet with shaking pencils. I dropped my vote in the box. And the whole thing was meaningless. A charade. A play-pretend panacea designed to get me, just another of the monkey minds out here in the United States, to think what I wanted, what I felt, what I and those I love needed, mattered at all in the grand scheme of things. Because a month later, whoever was going to be President was President, and that was all there was to it.
About a year and a half after that, the largest protest in the history of humankind erupted all over the globe concerning a pre-emptive strike on Iraq. But a month later, the "shock and awe" campaign commenced and since then there are hundreds of people dead and the rest of the world is kind of glaring at us. Because whatever was going to be done over there, was going to be done, and that was all there was to it.
So I could go out and campaign for John Kerry. I could call in and rant and rave on talk radio. But if there's anything the Bush Era has done to my soul, it's to rob it of hope; it's to cement in my mind the defeatist belief that whatever's going to happen is going to happen, and that's all there is to it.
Yet still I keep listening to this mysogynistic, infuriating monologue over the airwaves each morning, and allow it to make me angry, and still, I will get in line at the polling place come November and check off a box or pull a little lever or fill in a blank circle next to the names I support, even though more and more often I wonder, For what?