April 11, 2007

Mary's Notes, April 11, 2007

Mary's Notes, April 11, 2007

Listening to last night’s show I missed hearing the audio from Walter F. Murphy’s speech at Princeton — the one about America’s constitional crisis that may or may not have landed him on the Terror Watch List. Here’s a link.

We miss having Brendan on air terribly, but having Chris weave comments from the thread into the show actually seems to get more of them on the air. Greta (I actually called her Grendan this morning), Sam and Julia have been doing an amazing job prepping for Chris.

Brendan is still around these parts. He’s helping manage his transition and finding us a technical director. We plan on taking him out and buying him many beers one night soon. Maybe he and I will try and recreate the tower of shattering glass we built on a table at Casablanca last summer.

We’ve spent some time in our meeting discussing the latest developments in the Imus story and handicapping whether he’s toast or not. Chris thinks he is. Most of the rest of us think he’ll be back with mega ratings in two weeks. He’s still a weasel though.

Katherine is looking into the voter fraud story reported in the Times today. She’s checking in with Andrew Gumbel, our main source for all voting matters.

Robin wants to follow up her anthropomorphism show with one on elephants. Very cool animals it turns out. You learn something new everyday in this job.

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  • Robin

    Yes, elephants and animal science. Posts forthcoming. And Julia just reminded me that hurley specifically pitched an elephant show back in March. So credit that to hurley as well.

  • katemcshane

    The Don Imus situation was exactly what I was thinking about just before I read your post, Mary — specifically how in this country, statements made by people who have access to media, whether government officials or celebrities, so rarely promote respect for people, anti-racism, anti-sexism. That may sound like an extreme assessment, but it has always seemed to me that if people heard frequent statements against racism for the equality of women, against violence, people would stand up more often against these things. There is so much spoken trash, like Imus, and so much subtle racist, sexist, white supremacist text underlying what is marketed that the overall message in the culture is that racism is alright, as long as you’re careful how and where you show your support for it. And the same goes for sexism, absolutely. And for violence, whether it be against your wife or girlfriend, your children. Most states in this country have laws supporting corporal punishment of children by adults.

    Don Imus thinks he should be able to be on Al Sharpton’s show and say what a decent guy he is, how he’s not “a racist.” I felt like throwing up when I heard him say that. He thinks he can meet with the Rutgers team and everything will be alright. It’s not surprising that he believes that. It’s not seen as a big deal to say these things. Even shooting down a human being because of his race is not truly a big deal. All you have to do is report — police say it wasn’t a racist crime. I was watching a documentary the other night about jazz and Nat Hentoff told the story about Jimmy Carter having jazz musicians at the White House. Charles Mingus was in a wheelchair by that time. Hentoff said that Carter went over to him and said that it was the first time jazz musicians had been invited to the White House and that that was because most jazz musicians were black and this is a racist country. Hentoff added that not one media outlet reported that story. Imagine what it would be like to hear a President make a statement like that these days. Cornelius Eady, a wonderful poet, told a story about winning the Lamont Poetry Prize for his second book just as he entered a master’s writing program. Someone on the faculty said to him, “You know, don’t you, that the only reason you won this prize is because you’re black.” Eady dropped out of the program at that point, because he felt unsafe. That guy from Seinfeld thought all he had to do was be filmed on David Letterman and say he wasn’t “a racist” after he made disgusting statements repeatedly in public.

    When I heard Al Sharpton interviewed the other day, I loved his clarity, and the fact that he would not be stopped. It was a relief, in a way, to listen to him, because I have so much pent up frustration and rage inside of me all the time about these issues, and I’m not good at arguing with people. I wish I could participate in the demonstrations, because I am so sick of living in a country that is all about white supremacy and misogyny.

  • Potter

    Well I was going to say that if I had to choose between a show on Imus ( who I dearly hope is retired for good) and voter fraud I would pick the latter but KmcS makes a good case.

  • Elephants are keen.

    * Only animal with four knees.

    * All elephants in the circus are girls.

    * Controlling an elephant requires that the beast accept the unlikely proposition that the human – demonstrably weaker and smaller – is actually large and in charge and natural leader of their social circle.

    * I blame writer Barry Longyear for my brief flirtation in high school with veterinary science and the circus. He wrote a series of stories and novels (science fiction) about a circus that travels to alien worlds … and ‘the circus’ sounded so damned cool.

  • hurley

    Robin: Somewhere in my original pitch (not the one from March) I mention Mark Shand, an appealing character with a plummy voice (appropriately enough, being Camilla’s brother) who has worked with and on behalf of the elephants of India for decades now. He’s written books on the subject, and appeared in a National Geographic documentary on the phenomenon of rogue elephants I mentioned earlier. He came across very well on tv — passionate, thoughtful, informed — as I’m sure he would on radio.

    I recently saw another National Geographic documentary, this one about African elephants, that made a connection between the violent loss of a parent in early life (due to poaching or culling) and violent behavior later on, drawing an explicit anthropomorphic parallel with human beings. Auden’s famous lines would seem to hold for elephants, as well. Glad you’re doing the show.