Monday, July 10

amplitude modulation

Crackpot radio has been an occasional preoccupation of mine for years. When I was in highschool, I always felt a kind of horrified fascination at the work of James Dobson and his spiritual kinfolk. Even when the closest things I had to a political philosophy were contempt for authority and a certainty that the Communications Decency Act was a bad idea, Christian radio seemed like a channel of pure unreason and singular viciousness.

In college, I used to spend the drive home listening to things like Coast to Coast. Psychic vampires and spirit photography just have more depth and emotional resonance when you're driving county road blacktop at 1:00 in the morning in Nebraska, I guess.

The last month or so, bored on the way to work, I've come back to horrified fascination. Like the explicitly Christian segment of the market, "secular" talk radio has been a cesspool for as long as I can remember, but I think that some sort of threshold has been crossed. The Colorado AM dial is a thriving, cross-pollinating, constantly mutating ecosystem of evil thought.

It's like the relatively mainstream nexii of Dobson-Robertson-Wildmon-Kennedy and FOX-Limbaugh-Savage-Ingram are poles between which some dark current now flows through the rotting shit-heap of America's quasi-independent backchannel media, re-animating thousands of zombie ideologues and spawning more with each passing instant.

For much of this stuff to qualify as crypto-fascist, it would have to make a serious pretense at being anything else. The rest (Randroid Bible-thumping New World Order conspiracy theorists who hate the IRS? Can I get a what-the-fuck?) is too weird to pin down, but no less frightening for the jarring dissimilarity of its superficial elements.