The Idiom

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dead Air

Air America has gone bankrupt after launching a little over two years ago. My only question is what took so long? Only the delusional management and "talent" at Air America could have convinced themselves that the world was waiting for a leftist national radio network and that such a network could be a commercial success. After all, liberals have always been associated with sound fiscal planning. Air America, after nearly imploding before it ever went on the air, has managed in a little over two years to lose over 40 million dollars.

Air America was a bad idea from the start. Liberals dominate, oh, just about all media with the exception of talk radio. And even on radio there is the liberal NPR that exists in the protected sphere of public radio. Air America filled a void that didn't exist. Of course, Air America has vowed to continue:

"[We] do not think this says anything about the viability of progressive talk," said Air America spokeswoman Jaime Horn. "We had a cost structure that did not support the revenue. We are confident that this transition will enable the business to grow."
Riiiiight. So Air America's spin on the bankruptcy essentially translates to "our format is successful because a few hundred folks in Berkeley and New York love it, though they can't understand why we haven't advocated for the violent overthrow of the goverment more. Unfortunately, because we have no business acumen, we spent like drunken sailors on leave and failed to notice we weren't making any money. We're confident we can continue to operate with a new business model that relies on government subsidies and broadcasting with tin cans connected by stings."

Good luck with that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Nork Nukes Redux?

North Korea has apparently conducted another nuclear weapon test according to the A.P. Or it might be an earthquake. In any event, people are edgy. I think bouffant lover and all powerful dicator Kim Jong-Il is perfectly willing to take all of North Korea with him when he passes from this mortal coil like a latter day Egyptian pharoh trying to take it with him. Yonhap, the South Korean news agency even reported that an "unamed North Korean official" had this to say about the current crisis: "We hope the situation will be resolved before an unfortunate incident of us firing a nuclear missile comes." Yeah, nuclear was would be unfortunate I suppose. There may not be any person in the North Korean government able or even willing to try and replace Kim before he plunges his country over the precipice. The longer this situation continues the more I start to feel the unease I felt growing up during the Cold War knowing that nuclear war was a real possibility. I am beginning to wonder if North Korea will be where the next world war will ignite -- a war that the average citizen is not free to ignore like the war in Iraq.

That's not to say there is no humor to be found here. Like the North Korean representative who says with a straight face that North Korea should be congratulated for its nuclear test efforts. Or the atrocious and old file footage of North Korea that Fox News is running featuring thousands of screaming mourners for Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il's dad, circa 1994, the same "North Korean nuclear reactor" footage fom at least 1994, and lots of Kim Jong-Il and then Secretary of State Madeline Albright making nice nice for press photo ops circa 2000. I can't criticize the media too much though, fresh pictures are pretty tough to come by from a state without a free press. I love the seeing the video of the talkswith Albright though, it's a good reminder of just how well Bill Clinton's North Korea policy turned out. Then there's always this:

Kim Jong-Il: Fashion Maverick and Nuclear Proliferator.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Circling the Drain

The venerable CBGB's is closing its doors this week. The only question this raises for me is how something younger than I am became an institution. I suppose we should be grateful to CBGB's for enriching the world of music by nurturing bands like Talking Heads and Blondie among many lesser known though influential bands.

But perhaps the current lack of relavence of the bands produced during CBGB's heyday explains alot about why its closing today. My only experience with CBGB's at all was when I was in college and went to see a now long lost friend sing at CBGB's Gallery -- next door to the club. The punk scene was over in practically the blink of an eye, just few years in the late 70's. I just missed out on the punk scene, and instead grew up on the 80's New Wave, a time period that in my recollection produced far more one-hit wonders (and later, hair bands) than muscians of any lasting influence (R.E.M. and U2 excepted). My favorite artists from the 80's never achieved any kind of success. The current state music reminds me much more of the 80's now than more artisiclly fertile times.

Then again, perhaps it is as simple as the fact the club's lease is up, and cultural significance is just irrevelvant. Maybe its a just case of "lost our lease, everything must go!" the mantra of every shady liquidator. And just like the liquidators, CBGB's may yet return -- in Vegas, where cultural landmarks get recreated, only cleaner, like some monument graveyard.