Monday, July 13, 2009

571 Graybeard the Pirate

571 Graybeard the Pirate

(MOUNT TANTAMOUNT, PA) -- Graybeard the Pirate has been fired from his job as an announcer on a public radio station here. The station is owned by Mount Tantamount State University, which is only a "state" university when it feels like it. The rest of the time, it's private. Yes, here in Middlanowhere County, PA., they have a school with a really strange state of being. It gets a boatload of money from the state, but it isn't OWNED by the state. So when it wants to play like a private school it does, and when it wants to play like a public school, it also does.

Graybeard was host of the morning show, which means he did the local inserts between segments of "Morning Edition," the second most boring program on national radio. Graybeard was classier than the national hosts. Well, he SOUNDED classier.

He lent a degree of elegance to a program that gets a lot of national exposure and is a living, breathing and automatic "snooze button" on hundreds of thousands of radios. So why was this guy fired? The official reason was "budget," which may be a little legit, since the state is cutting back everywhere in the face of the recession. But that wasn't the real reason.

The real reason was politics. As regular readers of these postings and the author's own radio program know, our position is there's nothing more brutal than the politics of a non-profit, be it a church, a hospital or an institution of higher learning. General Electric or Lockheed's political operatives would look at the non profits and recoil in horror. Or turn envy-green.

No, Graybeard was fired because he's an outspoken conservative.

This is not typically a vehicle for defending conservative politics. But it is a place where first amendment junkies can find companionship. Graybeard got the ax because he's more Ayn Rand than he is Nancy Pelosi. And that ain't right. Those of us on the left of things make a mistake when we can guys like this. It makes us look petty and opens us to charges of censorship, the very things for which we berate our right wing brothers, no matter how sane or nuts they may be.

These days, talent is not enough -- at least not in the world of non-profits. You have to toe the party line or keep your mouth shut. Neither is a good thing.


--The Forward newspaper has moved from its long time office on East 33rd St. to Maiden Lane, way downtown. Somehow this seems right. Midtown was never a place for an outfit like that to put down roots, though the new building looks more like one of those glass brick towers than a lower east side tenement.

--The paper's owner, the Workmen's Circle, remains on 33rd Street. C'mon, fellas. Get with the program. The lower east side is cool. And it's where you too belong.

--David Souter is writing his memoirs. It will run ten, maybe 12 pages. Then, he'll do the talk show circuit where Larry King and Matt Lauer will have to do headstands to pry more than "yep," and "nope" from the guy.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

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