Tag Archives: Radio

Does NPR have a hiring impediment?

Louisa Lim National Public RadioNATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO- I can laugh at speech impediments with the best of them. But I’m less comfortable if there’s no laugh track. Specifically, when it’s a speech-challenged news reporter, I utterly object to being made to decipher from mispronunciation. On the radio, poor diction is as unacceptable as inaudible recording, and disabled- enunciation is as appropriate as a paraplegic delivering your piano. Take NPR’s Louisa Lim.

Give someone a job they can handle, but don’t celebrate equal opportunity without consideration for the task required.

Louisa Lim can’t pronounce her Rs. Might not someone have thought to counsel Lim fwom puhsuing a caweeuh on the wadio? Dropped Rs represent an alphabet 1/26th deficient. More, if you adjust inversely by Scrabble point value.

Monte Python’s Pontius Pilate of Life of Brian was mocked by the chorus for not being able to say his R’s. And yes, his Roman audience found the hilarity unending. It’s why he was urged to release Bawabas and not Jesus. Gilda Radner similarly mocked Barbara Walters. Mispwonouncing her Rs didn’t keep Bahbwa Wahwah from a lengthy career, but that’s the point I’m coming to.

If speech impediments were congenital, it would still be no reason to exhibit them center-stage like cultural accents.

Aren’t most speaking disorders remedied in the primary grades, given extra attention from speech therapists? Why do the exceptions seem to become Communications Majors? It’s as if students who have reason to work on their locution, end up becoming the professionals.

But choirs don’t tolerate tone-deafness, why would broadcasters burden themselves with mis-speakers?

Louisa Lim can’t say R, but she’s only one of a majority of female voices on NPR hobbled by flawed presentation. Don’t you find that strange? Considering that Amy Goodman’s delivery is criticized for being shrill. It’s as if NPR thinks strong feminine voices would come across as too authoritative, unless a physical weakness is empirically discernible. Would this explain why most the female voices on NPR are nasal, or supported by the weakest lung capacity? Their tiny voices sound like they could extinguish themselves without the next breath. Audiences like it too obviously.

Accents too, foreign and domestic, work to temper the projection of authority. Male presenters traditionally have sported commanding voices. Today, those who don’t moderate for sporting events most often have voices in the higher registers, or modulate their voices with rises in pitch which communicates timidity.

Canadian Palin prank call over our heads

ckoi-montreal-radio
American media outlets are distributing an expurgated transcript of the CKOI prank call to Governor Sarah Palin. Lots of the jokes made for International listeners were apparently lost on American reporters, as obviously on Palin. Prank caller assistant “Frank the Worker” introduces French President “Sarkozy” who then refers to French faux-ex-pat pop icon Johnny Hallyday as his American adviser, and the Quebec pop country buffoon Stef Carse as the Prime Minister of Canada, not Stephan Harper, the single Canadian we might know, in particular if we were governor of Alaska. Then the Masked Avenger tells Palin that his wife Carla Bruni wrote a song for her, “De rouge a levre sur un cochon” which means “lipstick on a pig!”

To be sure he speaks the phrase quickly, as if disbelieving himself that anyone would not recognize the joke.

The Masked Avengers, comedians Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, often make fun of the typical American’s complete ignorance of Canadian politics. This prank call refers to the Prime Minister of Quebec Jean Charest, whom the caller assumes Palin would know, being “so next to him.” But they pretend his name is Richard Z. Sirois, who Canadian listeners would recognize is their CKOI cohost of “Les Cerveaux de l’info” (their radio show “The Info Brains”). It might be noted that the duo pulled an identical prank call on George W. Bush in 2000.

Here’s the full unexpurgated transcript of the CKOI prank call made to Governor Sarah Palin. Corrections are in bold. Notes and translations are in brackets.

HANDLER: This is Betsy.

RADIO HOST: Hello, Betsy.

HANDLER: Hi

RADIO HOST: Hi, this is Franc L’ouvrier, [trans. Frank the factory worker, a pun on Joe the Plumber] I am with president Sarkozy, on the line for Gov. Palin

HANDLER: Yes, one second please. Can you hold on one second, please?

RADIO HOST: Yeah, no problem.

HANDLER: Alright, thanks.

HANDLER 2: Hi, I’m gonna hand the phone over to her.

RADIO HOST: OK, thank you very much, I’m gonna put the president on the line

GOV. SARAH PALIN: This is Sarah.

RADIO HOST: Uh yeah, Gov. Palin?

GOV. PALIN: Hello.

RADIO HOST: Just hold on for President Sarkozy, one moment.

GOV. PALIN: [off line] Oh, it’s not him yet. I always do that.

FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, hello, Gov. Palin.

GOV. PALIN: [off line] I’ll just have people hand it to me right when it’s him.

FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, hello, Mrs. Governor?

GOV. PALIN: Hello, this is Sarah. How are you?

FAKE SARKOZY: Fine, and you? This is Nikolas Sarkozy speaking. How are you?

GOV. PALIN: Oh, so good, it’s so good to hear you. Thank you for calling us.

FAKE SARKOZY: Oh, it’s a pleasure.

GOV. PALIN: Thank you sir. We have such great respect for you, John McCain and I. We love you, and thank you for taking a few minutes to talk to me.

FAKE SARKOZY: I followed your campaigns very closely with my special American advisor, Johnny Hallyday.

GOV. PALIN: Yes, good.

FAKE SARKOZY: Excellent, are you confident?

GOV. PALIN: Very confident, and we’re thankful that polls are showing that the race is tightening.

FAKE SARKOZY: Well, I know very well that the campaign can be exhausting. How do you feel right now, my dear?

GOV. PALIN: I feel so good, I feel like we’re in a marathon and at the very end of the marathon you get your second wind and you plow through the finish.

FAKE SARKOZY: You see, I got elected in France because I’m real, and you seem to be someone who’s real as well.

GOV. PALIN: Yes, Nikolas we so appreciate this opportunity.

FAKE SARKOZY: You know, I see you as a president one day too.

GOV. PALIN: Haha, maybe in eight years.

FAKE SARKOZY: Well, I hope for you, you know we have a lot on common because personally, one of my favorite activities is to hunt, too.

GOV. PALIN: Oh, very good, we should go hunting together.

FAKE SARKOZY: Exactly, we could go try hunting by helicopter like you did. I never did that. Like we say in France, “on pourrait tuer des bebe phoques aussi.” [trans. “We could kill some baby seals too.”]

GOV. PALIN: Well, I think we could have a lot of fun together as we’re getting work done. We could kill two birds with one stone that way.

FAKE SARKOZY: I just love killing those animals, mm mm, take away a life, that is so fun. I’d really love to go as long as we don’t bring vice president Cheney, haha.

GOV. PALIN: No, I’ll be a careful shot, yes.

FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, you know we have a lot in common because except that from my house [note: bad French accent makes this sound like “ass”] I can see Belgium. That’s kind of less interesting than you.

GOV. PALIN: Well, see, we’re right next door to other countries that we all need to be working with, yes.

FAKE SARKOZY: Some people said in the last days, and I thought that was mean, that you weren’t experienced enough in foreign relations and you know, that’s completely false. That’s what I said to my great friend, Prime Minister of Canada, Steph Carse [local Canadian singer who rerecorded Achy Breaky Heart, not Stephen Harper].

GOV. PALIN: Well, you know, he’s doing fine too, when you come into a position underestimated, it gives you an opportunity to prove the pundits and the critics wrong. You work that much harder.

FAKE SARKOZY: I was wondering, because you are SO NEXT TO HIM, one of my good friends the PM of Quebec, Mister Richard Zed Sirois. [Mr. Richard Z. Sirois is their KVOI “Les Cerveaux de l’info” radio co-host, not Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest] Have you met him recently? Has he come to one of your rallies?

GOV. PALIN: I haven’t seen him at one of the rallies, but it’s been great working with the Canadian officials in my role as governor. We have a great cooperative effort there, as we work on all of our resource development projects. You know, I look forward to working with you and getting to meet you personally and your beautiful wife, oh my goodness; you’ve added a lot of energy to your country with that beautiful family of yours.

FAKE SARKOZY: Thank you very much, you know my wife Carla would love to meet you. You know, even though she was a bit jealous that I was supposed to speak to you today.

GOV. PALIN: Well give her a big hug for me.

FAKE SARKOZY: You know my wife is a popular singer and a former HOT TOP MODEL. And she’s so hot in bed, she even wrote a song for you.

GOV. PALIN: Oh my goodness, I didn’t know that.

FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, in French it’s called “de rouge a levre sur une cochonne” [trans. “Lipstick on a pig!” but pig in the feminine can also mean a floozy], or if you prefer in English “Joe the Plumber” (sings:) “It is Life, Joe the Plumber”.

GOV. PALIN: Maybe she understands some of the unfair criticism, but I bet you she’s such a hard worker too and she realizes you just plow through that criticism.

FAKE SARKOZY: I just want to be sure, I don’t quite understand the phenomenon Joe the Plumber, that’s not your husband, right?

GOV. PALIN: That’s not my husband, but he’s a normal American who just works hard and doesn’t want government to take his money.

FAKE SARKOZY: Yes, yes, I understand. We have the equivalent of Joe the Plumber in France, it’s called “Marcel the Guy with Bread Under his Armpit”. Oui.

GOV. PALIN: Right, that’s what it’s all about, the middle class and government needing to work for them. You’re a very good example for us here.

FAKE SARKOZY: I seen a bit, but NBC, even Fox News wasn’t an ally, an ally, sorry about as much as usual.

GOV. PALIN: Yes, that’s what we’re up against.

FAKE SARKOZY: I must say, Gov. Palin, I love the documentary they made on your life – you know, Hustler’s “Nailin’ Palin”.

GOV. PALIN: Oh good, thank you.

FAKE SARKOZY: That was really edgy.

GOV. PALIN: Well good.

FAKE SARKOZY: I really loved you. And I must say something else Governor, [drops French accent] you’ve been pranked by the Masked Avengers, we’re two comedians from Montreal.

GOV. PALIN: Oh, [sic] we’ve been pranked. What radio station is this?

FAKE SARKOZY: This is for CKOY in Montreal.

GOV. PALIN: In Montreal? tell me their radio station call letters.

FAKE SARKOZY: CK… Hello? [to listeners] If one voice can change the world for Obama, one Viagra can change the world for McCain.

PALIN AID: I’m sorry, I have to let you go, thank you.

FAKE SARKOZY: Yay! Woohoo!

Obama said The Ukraine not Ukraine tsk

Old map of Empire Russe with Russia and the UkraineOn the subject of spinning the debates…
 
Did you hear about Barack Obama’s horrible gaffe in the first debate?! According to public radio, Obama referred to “The Ukraine” instead of the less diminutive “Ukraine” sans-the. PRI’s The World trotted out tsk-tsks from a Ukrainian-accented expert who derided Obama for his un-PC insensitivity to her country’s post-Soviet independence.

Self-respecting nations don’t require “the” to distinguish them apparently. “The” is only for provinces or regions, the expert explained. The Balkins, the Riviera –I can’t remember her examples. Certainly you wouldn’t say The France, unless you were referring to the ocean liner. How undiplomatic for Obama to malign poor proud “Ukrayina.” The would-be statesman [in evident need of more experience] should come visit, suggested the expert. But the report revealed [Instead] Obama was campaigning in Ohio.

Shall we look into what the Ukrainian expert didn’t explain: why English speakers unconsciously need to add “the” before Ukraine? Is it simply because we used to, when Ukraine was a part of Russia, and then a member of the USSR. But we didn’t say the Georgia, or the Belorusse…

Unless we meant THE Republic of Belarus. But that rule applies to every formal title. Then also we say the United States, we say the UK, and we say the People’s Republic of China. We say the Netherlands, but not the Finland, nor the Afghanistan. We do not add THE to any of the -stan states, which was a Russian suffix meaning “land.” Perhaps as we don’t use THE for nations ending in -land either.

We say the Philippines. We say the the Maldives. There seems to be a pattern related to territories in the plural. So it’s nothing to do with client states but rather collected lands.

As usual, I’ve entertained myself before doing the research.

1. The Ukraine
Is the Ukraine (I can’t help but say it that way) a reference to plural regions? Or is there some other idiomatic pattern which governs usage for English-speakers? The answer turned out to be the former.

Apparentely, Ukrayina is named after the Old East Slavic for “border region.” The Territories of Ukraine were the old Russian empire’s western edge. Perhaps this suggests why Ukrainians want to be considered their own land, and not part of someone else’s.

There, the expert is right. A historically geographical name does not suggest a sovereign nation. The Transvaal, the Yukon, the Sahara, the Midlands on England’s border to Scotland. I think it’s interesting that no US state needs a “the,” compared to their previous incarnations as the Dakota Territories, the Louisiana Purchase, etc.

But to complicate the matter, in the Ukrainian language the word means “country.” Doesn’t it go against their own tongue to eliminate the definite article? To refer to either concept, country or border, requires “the.” At least I know it is so in English. Which is my point here.

Since their independence from the USSR the Ukraine has asserted an identity minus “the.” The distinction is for diplomatic papers. So I’m not sure that international conventions govern how foreign languages bend to suit another’s domestic decree. Germany for example is known by as many names as it has neighbors, and none of them is Deutschland.

How appropriate is it to try to mock Obama for speaking the King’s English, aka English?

Isn’t your interest piqued about other places to which a “the” wants to cling to an earlier vestige? The Ivory Coast would seem to have become an effortless Ivory Coast, maybe because the plurality of “coast” is ambiguous.

2. The Sudan
What about the Sudan versus Sudan? We know it through the English colonials as “the Sudan,” but now the post-colonial English-speaking diplomatic class asserts it’s just Sudan. I can’t help but wonder if there’s some Globalization edict for nation-state nomenclature compliance. Is it for the sake of easier alphabetization?

That reminds me of how China lined up the Olympic participants in the 2008 Opening Ceremonies. Nations were ranked based on how many strokes were required in their Chinese character. American commentators thought viewers would probably consider the order nonsensical. How much sense does it make to require state names to conform to an anglo-file system?

As an aside, is the French “Sud” for South, related to the Arabic “Sudan” for “Blacks?” Both that direction from the then-known world. Not so further aside, the French say “Le Sud” in the same way we use “the” to differentiate the destination from the direction.

In any event, in Arabic, the language of the population of Sudan, the country calls itself “al-Sudan.” Post-9/11 westerners know “al” translates to “the.” That would be Sudan with the “the.”

KRCC promoting Amy Goodman and DN!

Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio and Democracy Now!I stand corrected. In case you missed it in the comments, Delaney Utterback of KRCC wrote: “Amy Goodman will be at KRCC at about 3pm on Sunday, April 20th. She’ll speak out back–mid-music fest–pitch on air a bit and sign books . . . We’re planning our open house blitz next week, where, naturally, we will announce Amy’s appearance.”

In the meantime, let’s make sure the word does get out across all channels. There will be plenty of room for an audience at the KRCC event, and the pledge drive kick-off will be a great chance for YOU to ask KRCC for a drive-time slot for Democracy Now. HD2 won’t reach the masses. Most people listen to the radio in their car, and for KRCC listeners that is the FM signal. And most people do not change the station. Far too much corporate disinformation is reaching Colorado ears via NPR. It’s not enough to know where you can go for an alternative. Our average Colorado Springs friends and neighbors need to OVERHEAR real news reporting. Then they can figure out for themselves that NPR is only a hoity-toity version of FOX, disguised in familiar voices speaking in lower tones, lacking all but pretend critical analysis.