Friday, June 10, 2011

Jock Scrap

I was really hoping she and Salon would stay out of it because anything they said was always guaranteed to provide the textbook definition of a really bad cliché but, well -- Mary Elizabeth Williams is kind of taking on Opie and Anthony. Really, you could scour the media landscape and I'm not sure you'd find two more traditionally polarized factions than the hyper-cultured Upper West Side liberals whom Mary Elizabeth Williams speaks for and the Bridge and Tunnel scatologistic man-child demographic represented by guys like Opie and Anthony. That battle -- the one pitting, as the trailer for Caddyshack said decades ago, "the snobs against the slobs" -- is as old as time itself.

Basically, in a column in today's Salon, M-Liz asserts that this week's Anthony Weiner prick-slip -- the one brought to you by Andrew Breitbart, during an appearance on the Opie and Anthony show -- was surprising for the most part because it revealed that shock jocks are still on the air in 2011. If you believe the column, guys like Opie and Anthony are well past their moment as a tolerable cultural anomaly and a desperate grab for relevancy like the one we supposedly witnessed earlier this week proves it in spades.

That O & A's core audience won't care one bit what someone like Mary Elizabeth Williams thinks is so obvious that it isn't even worth expounding on. Likewise, that most Salon regulars probably don't wake up every morning and catch the latest O & A gags is also not something worthy of discussion. Not to single myself out as special or anything, but I've gotta be one of the few who actually does really like both M-Liz's high-minded wit and O & A's low-brow stupidity; there's a place, and an audience, for both in this world and I think it's ridiculous for anyone to make the argument that one side of the equation somehow isn't fit for public consumption. In other words, I'm taking the slobs' side on this one -- because while M-Liz is right in saying that a radio show that occasionally pulls juvenile on-air pranks and which caters to America's overgrown adolescent guy community shouldn't survive if it doesn't, ironically, evolve, she's wrong when she says that shows like that haven't evolved. Many of them have, quite a bit. Just because she doesn't "get it" doesn't mean others don't, or that their opinions don't count, or that the overall joke isn't funny.

Opie and Anthony aren't everyone's brand of vodka, but they're not trying to be. You don't like what they do? The solution is as old as indignation itself: don't listen. Complaining about it from on-high is as tired and pathetic as the genre you're ineffectually railing against.


Mart said...

I fit the liberal snob category, but being a guy there will always be a place for Beavis and Butthead humor. Maybe she does not get it 'cause she is a woman. Wonder what the demographics are for O&A and Stern, etc. I would guess mostly men.

Chez said...

O & A have a running gag about radio shows that feature two men and a woman. They call the woman "The Hole." Yeah, it's really sexist and tasteless but their point is actually brilliant: that program directors often force male-oriented shows to add a female voice so that they don't get too raunchy (also so that a portion of the audience isn't ostensibly alienated). The joke, and it's not really a joke because it's true, is that listen to any crappy terrestrial morning show featuring this kind of lineup and it always sounds exactly the same: the guys will say something crude and the woman will immediately jump in and go, "Hey, guys, now come on," and immediately say something that sucks all the humor out of the room (which isn't to say that women can't be hilarious; in this context they just generally aren't). It's such predictable garbage, and they're right to mock it.

Bottom line: yes, Opie and Anthony is a show for guys. It features really, really tasteless humor, a lot of ball-busting and a lot of outlets for terrific comics -- some up-and-coming, some very well established. I'm not kidding when I say that I used to laugh out loud in the middle of my living room listening to them when they were doing WNEW afternoon drive. And now that the gloves are off because they don't have to worry about the FCC, it's even funnier.

Anonymous said...

I can laugh at raunchy humor with the best of them. I don't like PC shit. And you're right, the boys aren't everyone's cup of tea. But if we're going to make fun of shit, let's go all the way. Nothing is sacred. Not my female bits, not your male bits. And that's how we get the the politically correct crowd to back off. Let's make it gross across the board. Otherwise, you're appealing to some segment of the audience..and that's what trips you up. And this sounds incredibly bloviated. But it's been a long day at work, and I've had a few drinks.