November 05, 2004

People Who Call in to

People Who Call in to C-Span

Oftentimes, dear reader, members of the chattering classes dilate on the rhetorical deficiencies of our current Commander-in-Chief. Mr. Bush’s speech, say his manifold detractors, is replete with malapropisms and grammatical lapses.

To be sure, George W. Bush isn’t the most eloquent of characters. Those in the smart set would like to think that this proves our President’s idiocy; as far as we’re concerned, his brazen stupidity has not hindered him from trouncing any of his political opponents. The dunce.

Anyway, a senior editor here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—reflected on our newly re-elected President’s verbal dexterity as he was catching a few short hours of C-Span.

C-Span, for those of our readership unacquainted with it, is kind of like PBS—only it’s not miserably tilted toward the political Left, and never features Yanni concerts. In between hours of broadcasting Dennis Kucinich eating French toast with three superannuated ne’er-do-wells, C-Span offers a variety of programming for those who like to keep up with political and intellectual matters. And are very, very bored.

Although we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” do not watch the network with sufficient regularity to be certain, we have a hunch that C-Span features a morning current affairs program. In the course of this show, the anchorman offers his viewer(s) newsclips, and demonstrates that his network has such a colossal budget that it can splurge on highlighters.

In addition, dear reader, this morning program features various guests, from the high end (e.g., Peter Beinart) to the low end (e.g., a desiccated hippie from the non-profit organization Let’s All Hug the Trees) of the intellectual totem pole.

And this, dear reader, leads us to the focus of today’s humble post: The people who call this morning program and ask its guests questions.

Anyone who believes that George W. Bush hasn’t the firmest grasp on the English language ought to take in a few minutes of these calls. Without fail, each and every one of them is mumbled by a guy who can barely speak a word of our nation’s lingua franca. It’s as if they’re all AT&T customer service representatives.

Somehow, C-Span has managed to exhort the entire country’s stuttering buffoons to call in with torturously rambling queries. After a few false starts, the caller in question ineluctably “ums” and “ahs” his way to a ridiculously insipid comment. Naturally, the only fun involved in this horror is watching the televised guest, who puts on his best poker face, and attempts to offer the impression that the fellow on the ‘phone isn’t a drooling moron.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” don’t have any idea how to run a television network, but we still think we could make some improvements to C-Span’s forays into audience participation. Who screens C-Span’s calls? It’s as if they have a direct line to every loony bin in the continental United States.

And just when you think you’ve heard the most poorly delivered question in the history of humankind, inevitably the next caller offers an even more impressive Helen Keller impersonation.

So, dear reader, the next time you bemoan the poor oratorical skills of contemporary politicians, head on over to C-Span. That network makes Mike Tyson seem like Alan Keyes.

Posted at November 5, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack