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Cynically Self-Involved

By Al Schumann on Wednesday February 24, 2010 03:21 PM

Jackassery from NPR.

Now I understand why MJS hurled his radio out the window. Only the most morbidly self-involved could worry about their moral character, and through immediate unsubtle extension everyone else's, while watching corporate sports spectaculars on television. Only the most morbidly self-involved could, further, fret about the morality of allowing themselves to be manipulated by a medium that is completely dedicated to manipulation.

The spectacle of liberal agonizing is disgusting; every bit as foul as conservative moral panic.

I'm happy to say I can help. The NPR media personalities' feelings of self-loathing are entirely appropriate. They're valid. They should loathe themselves—because they are, in fact, loathsome—and if this causes them agony, then so much the better. Suffering may help purge the moral toxins. But they have to take personal responsibility. They can't expect to keep receiving free excoriations forever. And they have to punish themselves where there's no risk of collateral cultural damage. I suggest they get it all out of their system on The Nation cruise.

Comments (18)

Solar Hero:

Classic. National Puppet Radio. Loathsome.

National Process-maven Radio
Nugatory "Professional" Recruitment
Nothing Petroleum Retires
Nattering Puerile Repugnance
Nice Profiteering, Really

Al Schumann:

That Times page is bizarre. Some of the "assignments" attempt to teach kids how to personalize fairly intimate aspects of other people's lives. It's a ghoulish practice. One can't cultivate empathy and sympathy in children by encouraging them to take on a hysterically proprietary regard for strangers.

Michael Hureaux:

But Al, you're forgetting the ideologues of the system are not interested in children developing traits of empathy or sympathy. Nor are they intersted in young people ever developing any interest in personal discovery, or being able to place themselves at the center of the learning process, except in a highly abstracted, isolated, numbers driven way. The first priority of education reform is neat little rows of test takers, period.

I'm still reeling from a department circular that appeared in my mailbox this morning, in which an "academic coach" from the district has offered us all a lengthy digression on how to break down student performance according to the "standards' promoted by the high stakes test regime. Which is fine and good, except when I'm offered "coaching" by anyone, I expect them to be able to walk into my classroom, watch how I work with students, and look for things that I'm doing or not doing that I may not be able to see. That's not what I'm getting. No, I'm getting a "coach" who wants to teach me how to interpret test scores, a chore which I can figure out very well on my own when given state guidelines. In fact, that's the easy part, and no one needs any coaching in that regard. Thassa buncha shee-it, as the street used to say.

But they're really not interested in teachers, or students, learning anything anymore, except how to follow the instructions of the efficiency experts more exactingly. Fuckers.

So forget about sympathy and empathy, Al. The owners of the culture aren't just uninteresting, they want everyone to study their ideology, come hell or high water, and both will come, make no mistake.

Noxiously Patronizing Radio
Nattering Pwogwessive Roundup
Nearly Perfect Rationalization


Those NPR voices drenched in smug sanctimony -- middlebrow centrist nostrums drenched in smug sanctimony! -- make me want to take a poleaxe to my parents' radio (or worse, them) whenever I'm in their domicile.

Hey, Smithee, you forgot one -- my personal fave:

National Petroleum Radio.


Neoliberal Putz Retch


Niggardly Posturing Redux

Al Schumann:

Noisome Pusillanimous Reactionaries.

MH, neat little rows indeed. That cretinous coaching sounds like New Age Taylorism; like an effort to either forcibly normalize indifference to the actual students, or to force teachers to defy the rules so they can be fired more easily.



fuck it sueper pinks
they iz us

one look at the source of this blitter
and you remember your relatives at thanksgiving

if you're for real
bold speaking pinksters
next time
yours gather
bring a hand grenade

Al Schumann:

I usually accuse the relatives of petty and shameful criminal activities during the holidays. This keeps the need for hand grenades to a minimum.


"a hysterically proprietary regard for strangers"

strangers walk among us in wooden shoes

we must help or we must hurt


Alfred Tennyson was a listener like you and wrote a comment on the topic:

'The Kraken'
Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Al Schumann:

Boink, it's a little known but completely true fact that Tennyson was referring to Cthulhu, who in one of those odd twists of fate is an executive director at NPR.


I misinterpreted, thinking that 'the Kraken' was about NPR's general indifference to reality, exemplified as recently as yesterday by Diane Rehm's presentation of the relief effort in Haiti. To be fair, I didn't hear the complete broadcast, having rushed to switch off, in the interests of the upholstery in the old VW, when Diane began to compare Haiti to the Book of Job.


Reaming is very close to drilling -- or stated differently, boring. Therefore it is not unfelicitous that Diane's last name rhymes with "ream."

And to roughly quote Lou Reed: A bore is a straight line that hides a wealth of division.

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