Posts Tagged ‘Mel Gibson’

An Open Letter to Morning Drive-Time Radio

July 13, 2010

Dear local radio station whose name shall be withheld to protect the less-than-innocent,

I couldn’t call in this morning because I was driving to work, but I was listening to your discussion about Mel Gibson and his taped comments that have been leaked. I had two thoughts that I wanted to share with you.

First, while it’s true that the nature of his comments (and his previous actions) tells us a lot about Mel Gibson as a man, that was supposed to be a private conversation between a husband and a wife (or are they just dating?). It’s none of anyone’s business except theirs. It may have even been recorded illegally – unlike in Canada, as far as I’m aware it’s illegal in most U.S. states for anyone other than law enforcement to record someone without their knowledge and consent. Beyond the fact that it’s salacious, which equals controversy and ratings, why should we care?

Second, and most importantly, it struck me that you followed up your discussion about Mel Gibson’s hateful comments by playing right afterward the song “Love the Way You Lie” by Rihanna and Eminem. Among Eminen’s lyrics are this gem – “If she ever tries to f***ing leave again, I’mma tie her to the bed and set the house on fire.”. I think it was Shakespeare that first wrote those words, wasn’t it?

I’m assuming there’s not really a link between the music you play and the topics you discuss on your morning show, so I’m guessing that you weren’t trying to be ironic. So, I can only say that it takes a special kind of hypocrisy to demonize hurtful speech and domestic violence one second and then turn around and glorify it the next. It’s particularly disappointing when the two artists recording the song with those lyrics each have their own histories with tumultuous or violent relationships, whether perpetrator or victim.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that you’re in the entertainment business and that it’s ultimately about ratings. You’re going to play songs that people want to hear, whether it’s “Love the Way You Lie”, or Pitbull’s “Hotel Room”, with all its bragging about infidelity and sex without respect for the other person.

But your station does a lot of great work, whether through the causes you support or shows like the one you did a while back for teens to call in and ask questions about sex. You had an opportunity here to have a similar impact with regard to the issue of domestic violence, which is enormously important and occurs with alarming frequency among your demographic. I just think it’s really unfortunate that you didn’t take advantage of that opportunity – that, in fact, you decided to use it as the jumping-off point for sophomoric song parodies and unoriginal insults. It’s even more unfortunate that we don’t live in a world where you’d be able to have your playlist reflect the values you otherwise try to model for your listeners.

Hmm, I’m starting to sound like my father here.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I’m not sure I will be for much longer…