After hearing exactly one of Alex Beam’s installments of ``Hate Mail,’’ I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Beam really wants to do this podcast. Beam writes a column for The Boston Globe, and he gets mail from readers who disagree with him. What a surprise.
Then he does this podcast in which some of the letters are read from, and then he defends himself.
From his column he gets the First Word, and from the podcast he gets the Last Word.
Whether Beam thinks that is a wonderful position to be in makes no difference. He sounds wary and bored.
``A lot of people are worried about the future of my soul,’’ he said. I’m not going to lose sleep. Beam was being facetious.
Alex Beam discusses his column about a book, ``The Art of Column Writing,’’ by his friend Suzette Martinez Standring. Beam informed us that he told Suzette that if she sent him her book, he would ``cruelly mock it’’ in the Globe. She didn’t have a problem with that, according to Beam.
A letter writer wrote,
``If your dog loves you so much, why did she piss in your oatmeal yesterday?’’
The remark was ``aimed to hit me right where it hurts,’’ Beam said with little or no pain in his voice.
But I don’t blame Beam’s tone on Beam. As I said, Beam sounds as though he does not want to be doing this podcast, that it is obligatory.
If I were in Alex Beam’s shoes, I’d start one of my columns like this:
``I’m Dan Miller and you’re not. Even if your objections to what I write in my public platform are serious and well considered, I’m going to respond like you need to find something to do, and then get the freakin’ podcast out of my life for another six weeks. If people have a problem with it, I guess that makes me a turd.’’
But at least Beam is intelligent and urbane. He and his letter writers discuss issues of the day.
He cannot be grouped with the yahoos.
Years ago, I learned that the ultimate phrase of insult is ``What a waste of human flesh!’’ Now you got a waste of air space.
The WEEI Whiner Line is an insult to the intelligence. Somehow those dudes managed to persuade a bunch of other dudes that a good way to spend 30 seconds is to bellow and squawk into some
The hosts guffaw and yuck it up; they and the callers are one big happy family. And it is with reluctance that I say anything negative about the family.
It reminds me of the times I used to get together with a bunch of guys and we’d have a few beers and try to one-up each other (I'm terrible at it.) Except this way they do it by having guys call in, and then the hosts one-up the callers. Takes one-upping to a whole new level.
There is a primal urge for men to one-up. The trouble – maybe – in our society is that men have fewer chances to get together than they did 25 or 30 years ago – about the time I grew out of one-upping. Or they’re so frightened by the prospect of violence that they are less apt to go near each other. So they one-up the WEEI way.
I imagine that media theorists would classify Whiner Line under the talk-radio-as-strictly-entertainment heading.
Compared to Whiner Line, I would find a Partridge Family album much more entertaining and much less embarrassing.