Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Gender Gap Between The Lobes Of The Brain

Today the New York Times provides us with an unusually giddy report:

Sam Seder, a nighttime host on Air America Radio, the fledgling liberal talk-radio network, had a question about the clientele of his guest, who identified herself as a dominatrix. "More Republicans or more Democrats?" Mr. Seder asked. "Seventy-30," Lady Olivia said. Mr. Seder's broad grin suggested that that was precisely the answer he had hoped for. ... He soon inquired about the identities of those Republicans, displaying a particular interest in learning more about "Jon from Washington," who had written, "I enjoyed the corporal punishment more than I thought I would."

"Does his last name," Mr. Seder asked, "rhyme with Chriscroft?"

The exchange yielded no information about the attorney general of the United States. ... But it did provide some clues to how Air America, which makes its debut at noon today on five stations with Al Franken, the comedian and political satirist, at the microphone, intends to challenge the hegemony of conservatives on commercial talk radio.

"It needs to be entertaining, it needs to be compelling, it needs to be laugh-out-loud funny," said Jon Sinton, a veteran of radio who is a founder of Air America, a subsidiary of Progress Media. "It needs to foster water-cooler conversation. You need people to go to work and say, `Did you hear what Franken said yesterday?' "

"When people begin to say that," he added, "we will have arrived."

Whether this reported Interview With The Dominatrix is laugh-out-loud-funny, or funny at all, is for the listener to decide for herself (the Times reporter helpfully provides some explantion for the big joke). It seems one had to be there and be a certain kind of male in a certain substance-enhanced mood to get Mr. Seder's humor. Is Air America supposed to be the nation's second "Network for Men?"

But whether this is funny or not, one of the hi-priced Democratic political geniuses behind Air America might want to point out to Mr. Sinton that these days, as a result of laws favored especially by liberal activists just like them, people who go to work and make water-cooler conversation about a dominatrix and kinky sex can end up fired or disciplined or sued for creating a hostile work environment. I wonder if Mr. Sinton has a photo-calendar from Ms. Olivia's shop hanging in his office? The Times also describes Mr. Seder's broad grin ... [as] he shuffled through a sheaf of testimonials downloaded from Lady Olivia's Web site. Has either of Messrs. Seder or Sinton considered the likelihood that allowing access to such websites in the work environment itself constitutes creation of a "hostile work environment?"

One of those geniuses, Al Franken, says "My first priority is to get sued by a right-wing jerk in order to generate interest in my new show." But from the Times report it looks as though Mr. Franken's first lawsuit is likely to come from quite a different quarter.

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