Friday, February 10, 2006

Yeah Man, I hate NPR too!

There was a time when I use to drive long distances with my former boss and our trips would go late in to the afternoon. He would force me to find random public stations for him to listen to All Things Considered on throughout rural Mississippi. I felt so highbrow and informed. It is so nice to be aware of misery, no matter how distant, small and insignificant. It seemed so much more provocative than talking or disc jockey FM. Of course now with my XMSR, the black 2 gig Nano and a 6 CD box in trunk, I roll reasonably prepared to avoid boredom or silence. Certainly prepared to avoid NPR.

Isn’t it always some accented Cuban holocaust victim gone blind whose new religion's domicile in a dirt village of Ecuador has been burned down by cocaine-growing militia? Telling time of struggling and comparing some beer can to the devastation of the forest and rapid vanishing of the remains of her Mayan culture. I guess life has drained my sensitivity. Some would say I lacked a certain base level to begin with, but so what. I just find myself wanting to absolutely scream with the symbols within symbols and the dramatic pauses mixed within the classical music or some Midi version of an African bamboo flute, which is actually some pizza-faced intern’s creation, who blew on a broken radiator and sampled it. Each story in itself must have value, but it's the incessant day after day parade of struggle that really takes away from each story. How could anything be important when there is so much of it? I mean if there are millions of struggling people with terrible predicaments that seem unsolvable and dramatic, doesn't that kind of make them.... I don't know. Ordinary and everyday. I mean maybe for an interesting newscast we could do a story about a water-skiing squirrel (Ron Burgandy where are you?) Well, before I get on a rant here, let me offer this, a non-NPR story that should have run in April 1981.

It was a rainy day in Trenchtown the first day I saw him in 1954. Him just a teen learning to survive in new surroundings. It had not been long since Nesta had left his rural birthplace in the mountains. His father was a white naval officer who never saw the boy much. His mother brought him to Trenchtown in hopes of a better life. I didn't know Nesta well, but watched him grow up and slowly day by day have a greater and greater influence on my life and all of Jamaica.

After the 1951 hurricane destroyed much of Kingston, Trenchtown was a housing scheme developed to replace the shanty villages. Essentially, it was a series of concrete buildings with communal cooking areas and a water pipe in the center courtyard. Poverty and crime was only out matched by stench since there was no sewerage system. But, there was another fascinating and exciting feeling in the region. The Rastafarians were encamped there, shrouded in Marijuana and the curious belief that Haile Selassie was God. Their movement coupled with the whispers that the British imperialists might soon give the island it's independence made these years exciting, even for a fatherless, musical, moody and introspective boy named Robert Marley.

By 1960, Bob was playing in his first band with Peter and Bunny, their guitars made from bamboo staff, electric cable wire and a large sardine can. And his career happened fast as it has to with tragic figures. I next ran into him after his success was in full bloom at his home at 56 Hope Road in Kingston. The regiment of his life was tremendous. In the mornings, he and his friends would run miles to wash their dreads in waterfalls and collect milk and supplies for green banana porridge. Late at night, Jah would bring peace to the afternoon football matches and Bob and his friends would play music. I became one of the regulars at 56 Hope Road, along with the beggars and local gunmen. Late one night, I woke from where we had laid down to the sound of Bob jumping around trying to contain himself with a muffled yell. He had stepped on a large Ivory Pipe lying about. He rubbed it and told me that he had been given it by a female admirer, who was the daughter of an Ethiopian diplomat, part of the visiting party during the visit of Haile Selassie in 1966. He lamented as he scraped for resin from the artifact and began his religious rite, that his pain from the stepping on the pipe was no different than any other. He saw his pain as limitless and his music just a militant statement for the dreams of the Rasta's inpatient and eager desire for the judgment day. As predicted by Marcus Garvey, a black king from the East would rise and send for them to return from the living hot hell of Jamaica. Until that day, they would wait in peace, refusing to take part in the machinery or commerce of the modern word and simply take the words of the Psalms 104:14 to heart and ingest the “wisdom weed”, the one for the service of man. Wait, alienated and idle, for the day when the last shall become first and first shall become last.

Is this parody the type of dense paraphrase we deserve about New Orleans? Is there an uprising to come from our hurricane? I’ll wait, alienated and idle, for the day when the last shall become first and first shall become last.

{Thanks to for all the help. Happy Birthday Bob!}



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are truly an ungrateful S.O.B. If it wasn't for NPR and their steady coverage of the south devastation after Katrina the marjority of America would've stopped giving a damn about it after anderson cooper was done with it. They're the only ones still doing stories about this day. U keep listening to ur happy go lucky BS. Just keep abiding by ur motto "ignorance is bliss" I sometimes wish I could be as stupid as u r, but God won't let me; so I gotta keep listening to NPR to see how can I help to make this world better, 'cause shitheads like u don't give a fuck, maybe ur worthless children might learn something and not be like u. fuck you shithead.

1:30 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you! You're correct 1000%. NPR listeners are total tyranist a-holes.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As if every other majors news coverage wasn't on Katrina? NPR and the major news stations all play the same game. NPR is just bad at it.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News always puts a conservative twist on stories while liberals fight amonst themselves over who's dumber. NPR is the worst in news. The dramatics, the boring and long-winded garbage (I mean not garbage - news stories).

9:00 AM  

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