Many of you may be fellow fans of shows such as “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and “This American Life,” but for me, this particular habit of mine remains a black mark on my record of entertainment. It’s because I’m a conservative. You know, the kind that makes you turn up your nose and snicker in disbelieving disgust that one could be so very ignorant. The kind that frowns upon the liberal-leaning media and, more often than not, deems such political satire to be “unpatriotic.” My adoration of these radio personalities is certainly not in my political job description, but I simply can’t imagine that my 9 a.m. step would be quite so light without this small morning burst of joy.
It started by accident: I was in search of a pastime to occupy my hours of train rides while studying abroad in Switzerland. Believe it or not, I was hooked from my very first episode of “This American Life,” which characterized the very liberal career of the dynamic, politician-turned-trashy-talk-host, Jerry Springer. From there, it only got worse. Entire podcasts dedicated to bashing everything I stand for, albeit some attempt to poke fun at all parties involved. And now, I am indubitably committed.
I tune in every week, and even find myself anticipating the timing of every episode. Will I finish the “Bluff the Listener” segment before Geology? I’m even driven to the dangerous brink of anti-socialness: the choice looms as to whether I should lengthen my stride to catch up with a friend, or slow down to catch David Sedaris’s candidly-related chronicles of everyday life and the fascinating but useless trivia that peppers the NPR news quiz show.
Through my indulgence I have betrayed not only my political culture, but also the head-down, in-the-zone culture of the iPod listener-walker. I guess Peter Sagal’s wry humor has a different effect than Beyonce’s latest single or some breakout indie rocker. Regardless, I rebel with pride, and only a small bit of shame which rears itself in the form of the occasional gritting of teeth even as I suppress a laugh.
I must consider, though, the merits of such political humor. Am I engaging in some strange form of bipartisan tolerance? Or am I simply wasting time that could be well-spent in song memorization, existential pondering or even more educational podcasts? Maybe one day, I will.
Tags: conservative, republican, the american life