Monday, March 23, 2009

Obviously Styble suffers from a Medved Complex !

[ initial five paragraphs drafted and posted at 12:41 pm PDT ]
Okay, let's see if we can get this available online before The Michael Medved Show returns from commercial break:

The erudite radio newstalker and Ned Flanders doppelganger, explicating how the Obama political honeymoon has so suddenly ended, just seconds ago promoted his program's next segment—an "audience tease", as they so callously call it in the broadcast biz—and concluded with a patently false statement. Medved claimed, "...The Hundred Days—people don't know where that [term] comes from; I'll tell you about it, comin' up!"

Make that some people, Michael.

That is, I anticipate that when Medved returns, he'll explain that while most folks presume it originated with FDR's first term, the phrase actually dates to Napoleon on his way to Waterloo.

Now I shall post immediately, and then soon enough learn if I've nailed this prediction...

12:46:44 pm PDT
As Flandersian* neighbor Homer Simpson might fist-thrustingly put it, Woo-hoo!

Sure enough, resuming after break, Medved indeed pointed out that this hundred-days thing didn't start with Roosevelt but rather with Napoleon.

It's said that the serially surly, short-statured sovereign has the distinction of being history's most-written-about figure, so let RadioactiveSeattle pile a bit higher the copious corpus of prose probing the provocative potentate. (Lincoln also, by the way, has his partisans on that always-fun most-covered question, as does Christ—but really, why might anyone ever want to read about a President who never even once guested on The Tonight Show, or some eccentric-if-charismatic rabbi of antiquity whose historicity remains unconfirmed anyway?)

For his part, Medved inexcusably provided almost zero detail as to how the guy afflicted with the original Napoleon Complex came to so spectacularly, as the familiar Tin Pan Alley lyric put it, "meet his Waterloo". Yeah, I know, I know: Medved was just "focusing like a laser beam". That's the cloying admonition with which Medved chides those callers who disdain corrupting or diluting their sole shot at a contribution merely to conserve seven or eight seconds of the host's airtime that afternoon.

Fine, so Medved wanted to talk Obama, not Bonaparte. But what Medved surely well knows—and might well have thoughtfully sequestered a couple or three broadcast-seconds to highlight for the benefit of his history-appreciating or misnomer-collecting listeners—is that this now-legendary Hundred Days actually lasted 111 days.

That's counting, as historians invariably do, starting with his Monday, March 20, 1815 triumphant return to Paris three weeks after escaping Elba with his cadre, through to and including Saturday, July 8th, the restoration of Louis XVIII. Waterloo itself occurred on Sunday, June 18th, day 91 of the sequence, incidentally. A doff of the RadioactiveSeattle cap—not to mention posterity's!—is of course due here to the Duke of Wellington's battlefield leadership that long, momentous afternoon.

But don't let history obscure current events here: my point is that Medved—like every good newstalk radio host—needs to strive for habitual scrupulousness about uttered absolutes. You know, NeverSayNever and all that.

In this instance, Medved was just lacking the word "most". Had he instead said, "Most people don't know about the Hundred Days...", he'd have not merely skated exclusively on thick declarative ice, but also avoided annoying we persnickety types who desire neither our intelligence nor our knowledge insulted.

I mean, some of us lowly listener/caller nerds actually paid attention sometimes in class, Michael! And fewer yet still many of us also have been regularly burnishing our historical perspective—American and World, modern and ancient and Middle Ages, Western and Oriental—ever since graduation. In my case, I'd gauge that over 95% of everything I know about Napoleon I—perhaps a magazine piece's worth, should I ever get around to expansively writing about him—was picked up on my own after college, rather than prompted by any coursework imperative.

Mind you, that certified intellectual hero Medved is hardly the most egregious offender in this seldom-considered aspect of the radio newstalker's craft. For instance, The Michael Savage Show, a shameful—and shameless—production, is exponentially worse about cynically underestimating what the informed listener already knows.

That reckless jerk thunders in monologue assertions as arrogant—and ignorant—as, "You don't know who Khalil Gabran was—that's why you have to listen to the Savage Nation!", thus condescendingly treating his ever-suffering listeners like under-educated half-wits.

Something which Savage's ardent fans, whenever they make air, often sound as if they indeed are, granted.


* I realize grammar and parallelism dictate it be "Flemish", rather than Flandersian. But would anyone then still get the joke?

1 comment:

Not Waving But Drowning said...

I admit that I listen to the Savage Nation at times as I enjoy a variety of talk radio. However, there is one thing he does which drives me nuts. I don't mind the difference in opinion and I am certainly not going to call the P.C. police. At times, Savage will place an inflection on his words that has no relation to what he's saying. Then, he will do it for the next several sentences. The words will be random and not related. It's difficult to describe this in writing, but as a listener, you may understand that to which I refer.