Tag Archives: Subliminal Messaging

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.

The return of the Bush magic flashing tie

crazy magic necktieMcCain showed up to the OLD MISS debate wearing Dubya’s crazy strobe necktie! Diagonal stripes of particular inconvenient width create signal noise on the interlaced television picture producing mesmerizing patterns of juxtaposed RGB. What might have passed for a Technicolor wardrobe malfunction in earlier days is a deliberate fashion faux-pas today.
In the false, phony, Franglais, trompe d’oeil sense of that f-word.

I doubt it’s beyond anyone’s French to call the mischievous upstaging device a trompe tête.

President Bush has worn that tie when Karl Rove might have judged it more prudent to hypnotize the TV audience sooner than let them focus on what Bush wasn’t saying.

But I’m trying to reconcile what I noticed AFTER the debate. I’m curious about why subsequent replay footage of last night’s debate depicts the errant accessory without the noisy interference. If digital equipment can filter the dissonance, why was it not cleaning up the necktie during the live signal?

Was the flashing tie meant to interrupt the audience’s flow of thought during the debate, but not the viewers’ reception of the pundits’ already vetted after-spin? Would there be a reason to mess with one signal, but make sure another was completely clear?

And if the noisy element is manipulable, might it have been actually carefully crafted? Noise, but shaped noise, with not the chaotic effect of an IED, but a directed disruption like that achieved with a shaped charge.

And not a subliminal message in Morse Code I should think, but visual counterpoint to the audio. In the form of an optic buzzer, pressed if what’s being communicated by the speakers threatens to have an effect that contradicts the programmed message?