- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Radio noise

“If anything kills talk radio, it will be the commercials and station promos: Too many of them going on too long, sometimes seven or eight or nine at a clip.

“And definitely too loud.

“Why are commercials so loud? …

“Commercials are loud because advertising clients, who pay for them, want them loud. It starts there. Clients, advertising agencies, and commercial production houses probably don’t say, ‘Let’s make this one really loud.’ But they do talk about ‘cutting through the clutter’ and ‘making the message stand out.’ …

“I like advertising. I worked in advertising for years. But advertising can cut its own throat. Surely a great many radio commercials are doing just that. If you create a commercial that immediately makes listeners turn down the volume or, worse, turn the radio off, what good does that do?

“So enough, already. Give me good old soothing George Zimmer telling me I’m going to like the way I look, or David Oreck offering me a 30-day money back guarantee, or Neil Clark Warren crooning about ‘troo luhhv.’ But advertisers in the irritation business can forget about my business.”

—Lawrence Henry writing on “Shut Up,” Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Unusual allies

“The passing of Andrea Dworkin — feminist polemicist, anti-porn crusader, and loony extraordinaire — drew strangely admiring obituaries from several feminists who vehemently disagreed with her in life, including the self-identified ‘feminist pornographer’ Susie Bright and the staunchly anti-censorship Nation columnist Katha Pollitt. Even odder were the plaudits from conservatives. In National Review, David Frum described a meeting with Dworkin in almost glowing terms. …

“[T]he romance between social conservatives and the far-left feminist goes a long way back. It started in the 1980s, after Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon emerged as leaders of the feminist war on porn. The religious right saw an opportunity to harness this effort to its own crusade against smut. Some were particularly excited about the MacKinnon-Dworkin solution to that pesky First Amendment: Declare ‘pornography,’ loosely defined, to be a violation of women’s civil rights.”

—Cathy Young, writing on “Bizarre Bedfellows,” in the July issue of Reason

Forever young

“Fifty years ago, James Dean died in a violent car accident on his way to Salinas, Calif. …

“Fans are keener to celebrate the anniversary of his death than his birth, and for the 50th they’ll get to choose from the Porsche, a new book of photography, a new documentary, and his collected works on DVD. [This weekend], 150,000 devotees are expected to make a pilgrimage to Marion, Ind., near Dean’s rural birthplace, for the James Dean Fest. Tour buses will go to Dean’s mortuary, the church that held his funeral, and to his grave, billed as ‘a pink granite headstone often covered in red lipstick from his fans wanting to leave something behind.’

“The unnatural deaths of other popular icons have inspired bizarre conspiracy theories … but Dean’s followers take their obsession in another direction. They consider Dean’s death part of his allure: By dying young, he preserved himself in amber, a Peter Pan in jeans and a red windbreaker. ‘Dean died before he could fail, before he lost his hair or his boyish figure, before he grew up,’ Donald Spoto writes in his admiring biography.”

—John Swansburg, writing on “James Dean,” May 19 in Slate at www.slate.com

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