If you work in the media, and particularly in local talk radio, you have to expect opinions about you and what you've said to run high. It comes with the territory. I think intrinsically, I just want to be loved - we all do - but often for me, Monsieur Extraordinaire De Narcissisme, criticism is not only welcome but positively encouraged. Why? Because the more you criticise me, the better I look. No, really. Unless you're sitting down and objectively picking apart what I say or how I say it and making intelligent points, YOU are the one that looks like a tit. And so I take the ventlines and the WV radio messageboard haters and wear their badly spelled, no-grasp-of-basic-english comments like a badge of honour.
Wilde got it right in "A Picture Of Dorian Gray"; there is only one thing worse than being talked about... and that is not being talked about. With that in mind I decided to Google my name last night to see what came up, for no good reason other than for personal gratification. Chagrinningly, there is nobody talking about the Spikester anymore, but I did re-find some lovely comments from someone on a writers' board being quite depressed about the end of the old talk show and an item from Grafitti (snort) about some halfwit's recollection of where he was and what he was doing on September 11th. Apparently I had some "idiotic comments" about the first plane. I'm standing watching the blazing hole that plane number 1 made on the TV, he's driving around in his car listening and somehow *I* am the idiot for suggesting that it might be an internal explosion. Hey, I've accepted that I was incorrect. I thought a plane would make a bigger hole. I thought it was an explosion. But *I* was the one who was watching the coverage, not driving around listening to someone else's description on fuzzy AM radio. Hindsight may make you look smarter, but your twattyness increases exponentially the more you brag about it.
I shouldn't get upset about it. After all, it was only Grafitti. I don't even think parakeets read that before they take a dump on it in their cage.
I loved what Wheeler and I had built 58 Live into. Despite no support (and often hurdles placed by pure spite) from the company, zero publicity or advertising and little more than a good idea of what we wanted and how we could do it, we made what was, imho, a damn fine local talk show. I'll admit that sometimes we were, to quote Stan Ridgway, a little too smart for a big dumb town, but the combination of smarts and silly, politics and news, opinion and understanding was designed to be welcoming and unelitist. It all ended when Wheeler had had enough and left, finding another non-radio job rather than deal with the company's apparently unstoppable plan to dismantle the show (which was, for the record, in it's penultimate phase the day before he resigned). I'm proud of him, he has found more success and happiness in his new job than he ever did in 12 years there, but I sure miss the daily fun. But our trials and tribulations are a story for another day.
I've made no secret to those in the know that I didn't really want anything to do with the new unashamedly right-leaning show despite my fondness for the guys that run it. And despite that fondness, I've never disguised the fact that I disagreed not only with what the show had become, but what it represented. My poor little award-winning centrist "come one, come all" talk show had become a three-hour daily infomercial for the Bush/Cheney re-election campaign. And so, imagine my squeaks of guilty delight when I discovered this last night: http://wvpoliticalsweatbox.blogspot.com/ [you'll need to cut'n paste, i don't got no html skillz] a political blog which seems to spend every third post picking them apart. I love RJ and Mike, I really do. I have mentioned in public several times that outwith the confines of the show, Agnello is one of the nicest and most pleasant people on the planet. Take away politics and basic morality from any conversation with Mike and you get a genuinely nice, warm and complimentary guy with a wealth of stories and experiences. Hard to believe, I know, but the radio persona is almost diametrically opposed to what he's *really* like when you sit down and talk to him. RJ, too, is a blazing icon of pleasant to whom I awe a great deal professionally.
I wish them no personal ill will, but when someone who clearly has a brain takes pot-shots at what the show has become I can't help but get the warm fuzzies. Take a read of the WV Political Sweatbox and you'll see that it is run by someone who is smart and opinionated, two qualities that rarely work together. Sure the attacks on the show may be a little over the top, but they are - at the very least - rooted in smarts and like I always say, any good argument deserves a good rebuttal.
I have no idea who runs the WV Political Sweatbox... but I like 'em! I don't always agree with what he says, but I know that the opinions are at the very least well-considered. If need be, if it gets too nasty for no good reason, I'll jump in and defend 'The Good Lookin' Boys Of 58 Live' but right now I'll sit back and enjoy it.
I *do* think it's missing some Spike-centric compliments though. ;)