Monday, April 13, 2009

Chartock You!*

Occasionally, to mix it up, I listen to NPR instead of the standard crap-rock station. You know, the one with the ridiculously named DJ's. The other day was one of those days. I was driving back from school (right, the place where they're turning me into a MASTER) and tuned in to hear Alan Chartock in the midst of interviewing some dude named Matthew Penn.

Now, there's a few things I want to get out here, so I'll try to go slowly. There's so much ridiculousness that I'm likely to get carried away. I'm pretty sure I'm going to curse. (Earmuff it, kids.)

You probably need a bit of context. First, let's tackle Alan. Mr. Chartock is some professor slash radio dude slash obnoxious sonofabitch. There's lots of reasons to dislike this guy, especially if you're not a radical liberal (as he seems to be). This part of him doesn't even bother me all that much. People's choice in footwear is likely to irritate me more than their political stance. What bothers me about this guy is his absofreakinglutely smug personality. The guy is so CLEARLY an elitist, pompous prick that it is a great mystery to me that any caller is ever nice to him.

[Full disclosure: I did call once, but only because there was an eye doctor on the air, and since you already have a taste of my eye doctor, then you shouldn't be mad that I didn't want to gamble BLINDNESS in order to tell this guy to eat it. Plus, there's like a 5 second delay or some crap to foil little twerps like me.]

Ok, next let's look briefly at this Mr. Penn character. Alan has this guy on the air because he's some kind of director with awards and shit. But don't get too excited. We're talking about Emmy's, not Grammy's. And we're talking about a director for Law & Order. Yes. LAW & ORDER.

Seriously? A director for Law & Order is worth interviewing?! This show is like the effing plague. I mean, sure you watch it, but it's crap TV, and you know it. Watching Law & Order and acting like you're doing something respectable is the equivalent of leafing through The National Enquirer or something and claiming you're actually looking for the fucking news.

So WHY he has this guy on, I have no idea. But, remember, I don't even know why ANYONE goes on this show with this guy (other than to prevent blindness, of course). So, they're blabbing about some crap. Reminiscing about obscure Chinese food restaurants on the Upper East Side (really?!), telling embarrassing stories about actresses they won't name (lame) and being coy about their ages (I want to say gay, but I won't). For example:

Alan: Well, you've been in this business for a while now...andandand (he does that all the time; it's like a verbal twitch, but I'm pretty sure it's on purpose, like it makes him distinguished or some shit), you're not there yet, but you're almost're almost 50...

Penn: Oh, Alan! Not yet, not yet. Don't do that to me, Alan!

[Laughter. The kind that suggest they're both so self-absorbed that you're pretty sure it'd be worth the drive to Albany or whereverthehell they are just to punch them in the face.]

But the kicker of this whole conversation, this whole "interview," comes a little bit later--after a few more anecdotes about some bullcrap that makes me want to swerve off the Thruway and into a ditch. (And sure, I could change the channel, but the other station is playing that new Cover Song of Careless Whisper and that'd just be even worse, ok? So shut it.)

So this Penn dude is blabbing about how he got his "big break" or something. (Ironically, later, he basically admits that he more or less walked into the industry because of his family name. Privileged fuck.) It goes something like this:

Penn: [After finishing making out with himself.] So, yeah, when I was younger I'd just show up on the set and talk with these guys, these seasoned producers, and I'd just do anything they asked [mmmhm, I'm sure you would]. I would just watch and learn...(blah blah).

Alan: Now, wait just a minute there, because what you're saying is really important. And it's something that the YOUNG PEOPLE of our nation need to hear. I really think that the YOUNG PEOPLE don't know this and these YOUNG PEOPLE really would benefit from hearing this from someone like you. I really think YOUNG PEOPLE need to know a thing or two about work ethic...

Penn: [Repeats himself, maybe starts flexing and showing off his guns, even though it's fucking RADIO.]

Could he be a more stereotypical aging, self-righteous, obnoxious old man? He has a PhD?! This guy's a fucking professor?! Are you sure? Because if my gramps wasn't six feet under, I would've sworn it was his curmudgeoned old ass up there on the radio, bitching about all the YOUNG PEOPLE today.

Who the hell does this guy think he is?! I guess I'm not exactly offended myself, since I'm not so much YOUNG anymore, but I had to speak up because this kind of talk is exactly the kind of shit that gives intelligent people (you know, MASTERS, like me) a bad name.


*This is kind of like that Britney song, If You Seek Amy. Which means, it's profane. Or, contrived and inauthenitc. Either one.


  1. it sounds like a total trainwreck, like you want to turn it off because it's so bad, but you can't because you want to know how much worse can it really get. at the very least you can use this guy as a verbal dart board to lash out any burdgeoning hostilities.

  2. How cool would it have been if at the end of the interview a nuclear warhead detonated in the studio?