Friday, August 23, 2013
Why Michael Savage Rules The World And the Rest Of The SF/National Radio Broadcasters Are Posers; The Inconvenient Truth
I GOT ANOTHER E-MAIL. IT WAS ABOUT MY "SAVAGE FETISH."
"Savage 'fetish--what's that? Was I amused, no. Was I irritated, no. I get a lot of e-mail, no biggie, part of the trade.
It did annoy me that this particular e-mailer said that I had a "fetish" with my various writings about Michael Savage, as if it were against the law here in the high and mighty progressive SF Bay Area to dare opine that Savage ruled the market, which he does; hell, he's the defacto king of the syndicated radio world. How do I know? Have you listened to the current tripe? Are you kidding, it's not even close, but we'll leave it now for the Bay Area.
Savage has always intrigued me as something of a broadcast raconteur; a virtual artist who paints a different tapestry each and every day. He can be irksome, slightly crazy, in a sort of entertaining way but he gets you. He invigorates you, he makes you listen and has you gushing, laughing, commiserating and in full messianic state of mind virtually the entirety of his program. That's a pretty damn-good template.
In far contrast, we have here in the Bay Area a bunch of self-serving, narcissistic, impish posers with a pimple of Savage's talent. That's not a knock necessarily; it's just the gosh-darn truth with a healthy piled-high scoop of reality.
Ronn Owens, the morning audio scribbler long ago checked out and left his KGO show to where it is today: a mishmash of predictable go-to minutiae that is supposedly still the mainstay among his dwindled listeners only Owens, who continues to sell mattresses and offer tired two-bit topics on a daily basis is now simply irrelevant. Those few sycophants who still listen--maybe it's they who have a real fetish. Owens, even in his twilight; even when he checked out a long time ago, could at least do a decent hour of political interviews and a cup full of novelty. Now, having arrived merely to get one last hurrah and a few paychecks is lost in the daily shuffle. He sounds bored, tired, uninspired, like he walked in from a deep sleep. Maybe the mattress affiliation is perfect symmetry--he's just damn tired and uninteresting; makes you want to go to sleep.
Then there's KQED's Michael Krasny over at "Forum." Krasny is celebrating his 20th anniversary. Good for Mike and I congratulated him. But even in spite of a loyal following and a consistently solid, if not spectacular program, Krasny still has the disadvantage of a largely confined, specialized demo. He gets great guests and does a quality program but given his lack of large, commercial appeal will never gather up a large quantitative following.
How ironic in the land of so-called tolerance and perceived, progressive worth do we have such a lack of tolerance , but wads of intellectual dishonesty. That's not an opinion, it's a fact. We like to think, here in the Bay Area, that we're special, that we're above the fray, above the tepid, screaming and yelling polarized climate--bullshit!; we're the biggest hypocrites around; we espouse openness and ask for, insist upon, freedom of thought and opinion even if we don't necessarily agree. Again, totally unmitigated BS to the tenth power.
Truth is this: we're nothing even remotely like which we love to brag and make ourselves out to be special and unique. Like what? Gimme me a break. Really, the only thing special; the only real consistency we can brag about, Bay Area, is our INCONSISTENCY and it is there where the dynamic of a Michael Savage stands out.
Savage, we're told--, don't listen to him, he's an sob. A crazy, bizarre, scary sob. You know what? You're right, which is precisely why I listen; why I've become a regular and decided to buy in; not because I necessarily buy into his politics, (which, for the most part, as I have pointed out many times is the least element of his show); Savage, craziness and all, is consistent. And his program, unlike the wussy sweet- nothings of the local radio glee clubs has a ton of genuine residue, command, performance and pathos. It's like a fine dinner and wine that you sit down to and enjoy even if you quietly worry about the extra carbs you probably didn't need in the middle of the nosh.
Savage is genuine too, for better or worse. He doesn't always come across as warm and fuzzy but at least he's not intellectually or personally dishonest. He doesn't pull you in like the local carps like Owens and portray one thing while doing the other. He is what he is to borrow a trendy phrase but its the truth.
Unlike an Owens, who wouldn't know a smidgen of realness if his life depended on it, Savage enlightens, he entertains, he can tell funny stories and mix in a tale or two about meatballs, Chinese food, his dog Teddy and crank out some good old theatre on the air. His foibles are well-known and at times, make you squirm but at least you know where he's coming from and can put up with it. The other posers, the phonies, the quasi-intellectuals who think their shit doesn't stink, are mere pretenders, morsels, sweet-nothings and they bore the shit out of me; all of us for that matter. Who said that?!! I did, sorry for a reality check.
I'm tired of pretending to apologize that I like Michael Savage. On. the. Air. I'm not going to gather bumper stickers and put his face on a bunch of t-shirts and say he's the messiah. I don't have the time and I'm not interested. He does a radio show, for god's sake, and outside of the third hour that is taped, (wrong), and the occasional ranting and raving; concentrating on diluted topics, I'm a fan. I'm a fan of anything, like Larry King, (of all people), that entertains me, makes me curious, makes me want to tune in; something that is predictably unpredictable.
A few weeks back, Savage was talking about human frailness. It was interesting. He stopped and coughed. He complained that the Indian food he consumed but an hour earlier, had made him uncomfortable. It was a classic. It proceeded to make me belly laugh. I don't know why, maybe it's an acquired taste but I laughed. Later in the hour, he spoke of the Berkeley liberals who eat only gluten-free pizza, praise to the messiah, Obama, and spread sprouts on their limited lawn, boo! As I do frequently, I stopped, I gathered it in, and shook my head with a bit of a squirm. I thought, "Yo, Mike did you have to say, "messiah?" How cruel. How terse. How inflaming ---how true too, dammit.
Now that I've become a part of the talk-radio crowd I have a lot more respect for Savage. Another thing, a major thing King told to me, specifically, is that the first thing in this business that you preach to yourself is to be yourself. Anything else is unproductive and bound to failure. For better or worse. I agree. For all my faults, I'm genuine. It's me; you get what you get, there's not an ounce of phoniness.
Savage is not for everybody and at times, even me but I'm carved in to the mix. My Jewish Mother is from Brooklyn and is a harsh critic. She doesn't laugh at anything. She hated ET and thought he looked a lot like Yoda. She thought the Wizard of Oz was too long. She doesn't like chicken soup.
But she laughs at Michael Savage.
*Follow me on Twitter