Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Open Letter to Peter Sagal and National Public Radio By King Daevid MacKenzie

Dear Peter and Company:

Hi, guys. How are you? I are fine, remarkably enough. In Tucson, we don’t have to put up with The Hawk* during the winters.

But I do have a complaint about some ill wind coming from Peter’s mouth this weekend, unfunnily enough.

Peter, I’ve noticed that “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” has become NPR’s bastion of the bodily function joke. I myself had a hearty laugh the weekend that Roy Blount, Jr. was on the panel and marvelled that you could say the word “turd” on Public Radio. Or was the word “fart”? It was one or the other, and considering the source of the material involved in both terms is the same – well, you know which incident I mean.

Stephanie Miller is duly proud to be your trailblazer in this regard, I’m sure.

However, now y’all seem to think that social slurs are just as tolerable. I refer here to Peter’s opening gag on the “Wait, Wait” broadcast of the 9th of May, as heard at 11:06 AM local time over Tucson’s KUAZ-AM/1550 and FM/89.1. The gag about how Gays and Lesbians feel that President Obama hasn’t done enough for them, but, by ordering a cheeseburger with Dijon mustard, the President did something “that’s really gay.”

Now, I’m sure either GLAAD or GLSEN have already lodged their complaints with you, as well they should. From the audience end of things, I just have one primary question.


Y’all obviously haven’t seen Wanda Sykes’ TV PSAs calling for y’all to “knock off” using the phrase “that’s gay” when discussing hideous lapses of taste. And, although I’ve myself taken President Obama to task over a few LesBiGay-related things on my own news commentary podcast – it’s at kingdaevid.podbean.com every weekday afternoon, thank you very much for asking – I wish to be the first within my hearing range to proclaim that President Obama can put whatever he damned well wants to on his cheeseburger. It’s part of being an American. Hell, I put wasabi on a couple of “Tofu Pups” that I ate last night. I can still taste it. And I like it. Tonight, I just might have some soy chorizo, and it’ll suit me just fine.

And if it doesn’t suit your taste, that’s fine, too. That isn’t what’s pissed me off.

Using the word “gay” to describe something as hideously distasteful ain’t cuttin’ it, Pete. Whoever the producers were at Chicago Public Radio that gave you an okeh to crack that gag on dozens of NPR affiliates has got to go. As for you, I think the best way to rectify matters is to (a) issue an apology PDQ, and (b) have Chicago Public Radio fly or Amtrak me up to Chicago to take over from you as host one week in the very near future, with the transportation and lodging costs coming out of your paycheck. Trying to become the Don Imus of Non-Commercial Radio is a damned stupid goal to set for your life, Peter.

Oh, and as for Arizona Public Media, the local NPR member which operates KUAZ-FM and AM, this incident has permanently taken y’all off my list of consideration of giving ANY money out of my pocket. And I hope a few readers of these pages demand back the money they gave you during your last pledge drive. There’s no excuse for allowing such social slurs to go out over your signals, especially PUBLICLY-OWNED signals. There’s a difference between a Quentin Tarantino movie and 1550 kHz on the AM radio dial, and someone in your chain of command needs to learn that difference.

Most Sincerely, One listener in Tucson you’ve hurt, King Daevid MacKenzie

[*The Hawk: that terrible wintertime wind off the Northern Illinois farmlands that make Chicago temperatures feel even worse than usual come Valentine’s Day.]

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