Like many white people, I sometimes listen to NPR (that’s National Public Radio for those of you not in the know). White people like NPR because it generally reports things in greater depth and/or with greater perspective than the average sound bytes we get from the “regular” news on TV or radio.
The truth is, most of what is on NPR is unbearable, not unlike much of the British Literature I had to choke down as an English major in college. Most people only endure it so they can turn around and say they did it because it enables a certain sense of superiority and hautiness. It’s just like anything else that people “like” – they generally only like it because they think others like it or that it increases a perception of intelligence to others. They pretent they like it when in fact they think it is crap. But they won’t admit that.
While there are definitely great stories and interesting topics on NPR, there is also a great deal of stuff that I just can’t stand. They do a lot of reporting on Jerusalem and the crap that happens there, which, in my humble opinion, is the same crap that has been happening there for thousands of years. That story is of absolutely no interest to me any more, so I change the channel and listen to hard rock or ANYTHING else. I also can’t bear to listen to the Diane Reams show just because the poor woman’s voice is so labored after her illness that it is simply painful to hear. It takes her so long to say words and sentences that it distracts from the content of her segments. I know that sounds awful to say, but it is uncomfortable for me to hear her talk, so I switch it off.
Other times, they dig into and talk about obscure music and books. Sometimes I will take an interest and I always will listen to whatever, but I quickly find myself NOT interested in most of that stuff. I consider myself pretty well read and genuinely interested in hearing new and interesting things, but sometimes it seems that NPR just pulls stuff out of the Boring Box just to fill the airwaves. I can’t even imagine some of my uber literature coffee house geek friends being interested in some of that stuff.
Anyway, even despite all the things I can’t stand about NPR (and PBS for that matter), there are a great number of pieces that I do enjoy and would therefore love to keep around. So when they do those donation drives, I feel more and more like donating. Unfortunately, the current budget I keep does not permit much generosity. Hopefully one day I will be able to do a good thing and donate to NPR and PBS. After all, I want future generations to have to pretend to like 90% of what they get from the public stations only to feel guilty about the 10% they do like and transform that guilt into a monetary donation.
It’s for the good of the people, and you will like it. The power of NPR compels you! The power of NPR compels you!