Last week I mentioned that a couple of standard-issue right-wing bluster machines, Andrew “Gribbit” Richardson and Kender MacGowan, would be staging a two-hour Internet radio show on Saturday night. I listened in, and I couldn’t have enjoyed myself more in the 25 or so minutes I followed along before being booted from the virtual premises.
You can listen to the two-hour crapcast here. If you choose to listen using iTunes or another media player, you may be able to fast forward to the comparatively salient points.
When I loaded up the page about five minutes before the start of the program, I discovered to my delight that there was a “chat room” visible alongside the inline audio player, and that I could participate if I registered. I signed up as “kemibe,” a handle that would allow Gribbit to immediately identify me as a contributor to this blog, and settled in for the ‘cast.
My reaction to these guys’ initial exchange was a mixture of pity, revulsion, and cheap amusement, little different from what I expected except for not anticipating just how unpolished and, well, dumb the two would sound. After the how-dos were over, Gribbit launched into a salvo that he was obviously reading from a script (and a glance at his blog confirms this) in which he repeatedly mentioned “what isn’t being talked about,” and emphasized the role of the mainstream media in picking Obama as its candidate of choice and brainwashing the public into electing him. He took a cheap shot at Ted Kennedy. He threw out some numbers that neither supported his own ongoing contentions nor demonstrated anything besides rank lack of misunderstanding of math. He blamed Democrats for the levee failures that turned Katrina into a catastrophic storm and the Minneapolis freeway bridge collapse in 2007. More than anything else, he was as boring and loud as he was unoriginal, as one would expect of someone whose only reason for this kind of endeavor is literally listening to himself talk.
Kender, the shrill Rocky to Gribbit’s pungent and atonal Bullwinkle, then started in with a diatribe of his own which, if nothing else, sounded off the cuff. He noted that his nine-year-old son was responsible for some noise in the background, thereby tipping listeners to the fact that a young kid was being afforded the privilege of listening to his father wax loud, moronic, and profane at an hour when most kids that age are asleep. When Kender–by this time sounding like a pumpkin-sized zit dangerously close to popping–started yelling about how people earning minimum wage were lazy and unmotivated and didn’t deserve this and that and whatnot, I started typing into the chat box. Specifically, I asked what Kender and Gribbit do for work. After all, this seems like a reasonable inquiry to make of a couple of fiscally conservative fellows manifestly concerned with handing too much over to the government while various lowbrow convenience-store and fast-food clerks slide through life on a carpet of entitlements.
Here’s what you should know, at a minimum, about these two pundits. Gribbit is on social-security disability for a psychiatric condition and has a young daughter with a very grave and expensive disease (spina bifida). Kender, as his autobiography indicates, has a more flavorful history–divorced with a kid, various gigs involving horses and unspecified bands here and there, a deep conviction that everyone is the master of his or her own destiny, an acidic attitude toward ethnic minorities, and strong reassurances that he is, above all, a Manly Man’s Real “Get Me A Beer, Bitch!” Man. (Funniest of all is his proclamation that “adherence to Christian principles of charity, justice and love are part of what made this country great.”)
In other words, what you have here is a couple of jobless guys bitching about the incompetent handling of money by the liberals in government. One of them may well get by on his own resources, but the other one–not surprisingly, the one who kept mostly quiet about me throughout this exchange–does not. It’s so genuinely bizarre that it’s almost quaint.
The point isn’t to rip on these two for having human problems or drag their families into it–there’s no shame in being ill and pursuing help through available channels–but to highlight how plain weird it is for people to rave unabated about exactly the things they are guilty of themselves. Do they really not know this? Or do they at some level think, as many do, that their woes are the result of bad luck and that Uncle Sam should take care of them, while the problems of others stem from laziness, stupidity, or too much melanin? It’s truly hard to tell.
Anyway, about 17 minutes into the crapcast, someone named Nick–a buddy of these two–tried to call in, but it didn’t work. 18 minutes in, Gribbit said, “I see Kevin the Chimp is here, talking in the chat room like he knows us.” This didn’t resonate with Kender because the handle “kemibe” didn’t mean anything to him. But very soon, Kender started responding to my comments (which I wish I had saved for posterity). First, of course, he demanded that if I was going to “sit in the chat room” that I had better have the balls to call in, thereby affirming his status as a wonderfully easy mark. (I, of course, never had any intention of calling in just to be hung up on and berated, but never counted on having an alternative means of needling the pair.) Kender repeated his statements about minimum-wage workers and then, naturally, asked me what I do for work. After he spewed a bunch of stuff about writing professionally (the condition of his blog renders this highly unlikely), having a book due out and a stage show in Hollywood next month (I found no evidence of either undertaking online, but who knows), and training horses, I was tempted to respond by telling him a had a full-time writing and editing job as well as a book already in print myself, but suspected he’d think I was further mocking him by claiming dibs on one of his private fantasies. When he claimed to have “like five or six jobs right now” and said that he’s been known to take on writing jobs for college students, I responded with the observation that he shouldn’t help people cheat and should go back to shoveling horseshit. This, in Kender’s assessment, did not make my stock rise.
It wasn’t long, of course, before my chatty ways had distracted these two (especially Kender) to the point at which their entire “show” became, for a solid five or more minutes, nothing but bitching about “keh-MEE-bee” and his lack of balls for not calling in. I reminded them with my fingers that everyone listening–all ten or so of us–could see exactly what I was typing, rendering the sound of my voice a non-issue, and that the two of them were free to respond to whatever I said, however they liked.
At one point Kender made some kind of accusation about me having a boyfriend, and when I typed in return that using this as a slur against a straight guy was not likely to be effective, he threatened to ban me (I saw a little dialog box pop up onscreen to tell me I was “warned.” I pointed out that there was no reason at all to call in just to be cursed out and hung up on when I could plainly get under their skin and say what I needed to say in the chat window. Knowing my seconds were numbered anyway, I asked them why they had let me hijack their whole mini-circus without even trying. Finally, in a triumphant, appropriate, and eminently predictable display of hypocrisy, Kender punished me for my “cowardice” by courageously banning me from the chat window. I could have kept listening, but didn’t. At some point not long after that, Gribbit banned my IP address (one of them, anyway) from viewing his blog.
All in all this was precisely what I expected: A couple of angry, brainless hacks reinforcing each other’s ignorance in the manner of a couple of drunks perched on the same bar stool night after night and declaring that women and jobs are for losers anyway. Kender blames his present circumstances on the minorities who overran what was–in his mind, anyway–otherwise an upscale apartment complex and turned it into a Section 8 shithole for darkies and wetbacks and possibly gay homosexers as well. There would be nothing unruly or offensive about a guy who has lived as he has, especially given his medical problems, with or without steady employment or strong opinions. What he and those like him have not figured out is how to override their emotions to a degree that allows them to do anything other than scream, assuming they care to reach beyond that lowest of common denominators. Like a lot of people, these guys have taken half-measures to deal with their resentments against the world: They are “brave” enough to yell “Fuck y’all! Here’s my non-PC opinions!” but too weak to listen to, and too ignorant and addled to engage, the opposition. When you can only play half the verbal intercourse game, of course you’ll wind up deleting, banning, and shouting–it’s the only way to maintain the illusion of control that lets you get out of bed every day.
The interesting thing is that I would feel bad for these guys if they weren’t so aggressively, acidically wrong. Both live in dream worlds, but Gribbit in particular is a swine. He has a youngster with a horrible medical condition and boasts of his and his wife’s decision to carry the fetus to term in spite of knowing what the results would be, yet makes light of Ted Kennedy’s infirmities, which in all likelihood will kill him. And with regard to both of these clowns, the fact that they take shots at people for their sexual orientation–real or perceived–discharges what little respect I could sprinkle their way. Start letting fly with racist and other bigoted bile and you cede your nominal right to gentle treatment (and I haven’t relayed anything here that these guys haven’t posted or crapcasted on the Web themselves).
If either of these men lived in a country where their own supposed vision were in effect and all people truly had to fend for themselves, he’d have been found dead and forgotten in a ditch long ago. I don’t know why it’s so easy for people to forget that virtually everyone has been lifted up, however grudgingly, at some point or another by a power outside themselves, and a decidedly earthly one.