Monday, July 06, 2009

In Defense of the Uncommon Man

Talk radio it utterly inane.

I should backtrack.

I hate talk radio. It's all artifice, no content, a ruse designed to maintain the relative interest of listeners whose attention spans would otherwise fail the medium. As such, I find it repetitive and grating. For all the times I am compared to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, I don't listen to them.

Enter the Common Man, aka Dan Cole. Dan is a local sports radio personality on KFAN radio, whose shtick (I gather) is "telling it like it is" about sports. Apparently, his gig extends to "telling it like it is" w/r/t miscellaneous bloggers, one of whom happens not to be so miscellaneous to me.

My friend Adam is a devotee, of sorts, to The Common Man's progrum (they actually call it a "progrum"... How charmingly common). As such, he decided to emulate one of Cole's more popular gags. In his words:

I have become a huge fan of ‘The Common Man’ Dan Cole’s “progrum” on KFAN. He has this bit that collects preposterous statements from sports journalists and others over the year, and then sets them in a March Madness NCAA tournament bracket... From now on, I am going to collect the most preposterous statements I read on blogs and newspapers, and at the end of the year I am going to form a bracket and devise a poll for YOU the readers to vote on.

Adam then proceeds to apply the concept to political and theological quotes that are, empirically for the most part, absurd.

Apparently, Dan Cole caught wind of this from one of his listeners, and decided to contrive an extended bit about how someone had stolen his material. As such, I felt compelled to check out all mind numbing 42 minutes, in podcast form.

The show begins wrist-slittingly, with a funk-themed intro that does for Aaron Copeland what Kubrick did for Ludwig Van. This goes on for more than three minutes, accompanied variously by men mumbling and a singing baby.

(Off topic, but why does every podcast introduced by someone shouting at the top of his lungs? Why, really, is any introduction necessary? I know what your podcast is because I selected it from my menu in iTunes. What if bands did this? We're the Yeah Yeah Yeah's and you're listening to Maps!)

There's an explanation for the baby. It's Cole's kid, it turns out, which prompts the ubiquitous sycophantic sidekick (I'll assume his name is Rocko) to announce "I always laugh when I hear the word loin." Cindy the on-air intern announces that she was aroused and she laughed. Droll.

After the amicable resolution of a dreary discussion about whether gas stations are open 24 hours per day, Dan, Rocko and Intern Cindy pivot to the show's main topic.

Well, not quite. In true talk radio fashion, Cole hems and haws, pausing to consider the etymology of the word "craw", bemoaning the state of the world etc...
After five minutes of this, he announces that some "no-talent hack" has stolen his Preposterous Statements gag.

Rocko the Sycophant giggles and pushes lot's of sound effects buttons. On-air Cindy disappears to unpack KFAN t-shirts to hand out at a nightclub. Cole continues:

"Other people and other shows have guests... They research stories and stuff like that. We just pull stuff out of our heads."

Thanks for clarifying, Dan.

Sycophantic Rocko adds that Adam "doesn't even give us credit", which, apparently, when you are pulling stuff out of your heads, actually researching your topic isn't part of the process. Still, doesn't intern Cindy know how to Google?

This goes on, literally, for ten minutes. Dan Cole stammers and repeats himself. Rocko laughs and hits buttons. Apparently, people DO listen to this crap, because people actually call in to offer their insipid commentary.

Nate from Anoka, or wherever, compares Adam to a guy "who steals a bum's only shoe". Yeah, that's in Common Man's wheelhouse. Nate pulls things from his head, too. Good job, Nate.

It goes on like this. What is depressing to me is that you have a guy in Dan Cole who churns out mediocrity day after day (it's a daily show, yes?), and excuses it with a bit of post-modern jujitsu. He doesn't have to be interesting or entertaining, cause he's common. Just one of the guys.

He preys on the most ignoble stereotypes of Minnesota men in an attempt to garner their listenership. In a pique of, I dunno, self-loathing I guess, the men willingly comply. Ditto's Dan, or whatever.

Under the guise of mutual banality, it's okay to attack the credibility of people like Adam. We're all idiots here. Just listen to the fart noises and singing babies.

It goes without saying, but Adam is a man of strong intellectual integrity. He is thoughtful, articulate, and interesting... Attributes no reasonable person would ever evoke to describe Dan Cole. His one mistake is being a repeat listener of an indefensible show.


Blogger anon said...

Common is probably way over your head. I think hes much more creative and funny than anything I've seem on this electronic rag.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

And I don't have a button that makes a sad trombone noise or anything. You know, for emphasis.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Why does an individual who pokes fun at himself in his own intro care so much about a blog doing a bit?

3:40 PM  
Blogger Adam Omelianchuk said...

To give Common some credit it he did acknowledge my correction on his show today and said that I did have "talent." See the 10:45 mark here:

It took me awhile to get into him as his show really only wanders between 4 or 5 topics and is filled with mostly rambling bits. The thing is, though, if you get in the habit of listening everyday you get addicted. I am not sure how it works, but he becomes more likable and hilarious as time goes on.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

Any idiot becomes more likable and hilarious as time goes on. Ask any single mother.

I missed the part where he said you have talent. He was in the middle of discussing the deal, and it cut to muzak. Is that one of the things that makes talk radio appealing? Randomly cutting to irrelevant music?

This country has gone to hell in a handbasket.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous peter said...

Eh, Common's alright. I used to hate his show, but once I figured out that he's just doing a "bit" 99% of the time, then it started to grow on me. By no means is he my favorite, but I think he's being more knowing and ironic than Kevin's giving him credit for.

I don't know what was up with the music in the podcast version - it didn't sound like that on the air.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

I get that it's a bit. I'm not obtuse.

My blog is a bit most of the time, but I still take pains to make my blog as interesting as I can, and make sure anyone I throw the right people under the bus. I have every confidence that talk radio is difficult. So is blogging. Bloggers and radio hosts remain accountable to what they say.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Adam Omelianchuk said...

I am not sure... the podcast seems messed up. At any rate, thanks for being in my corner.

9:06 PM  

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