"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
When good PR happens to good people, it's like an emergency flare sent
up into the sky above Suck World Headquarters, and we scramble to
investigate or, at least, to fatten up the sordid underbelly of
success. Such is the case with Ira Glass, public radio's prodigal son,
whose public hipness factor is finally catching up with him. After Joe
Frank (the true dark
genius of broadcasting) unceremoniously left the airwaves for good
last year, Glass inherited the mantle as public radio's token
experimentalist. But rather than being an obvious control freak and
self-involved artiste the way Frank was, Glass showed his genius
in serving an overlooked demographic - stylish hipsters who secretly
enjoy hearing "Most interesting character I ever met" stories, but
wouldn't be caught dead with Readers Digest. Like all the
best innovations, this one provides the innovator more leisure time,
allowing Glass to make his smarmy introductions, then step aside and
really concentrate on that lozenge, while hired goons like former
Harper's editor Paul Tough and the overexposed, undertalented Sarah
Vowell (herself an EGG semifinalist) do the dirty work. Although Glass
occasionally conducts interviews and rewords the show's mission
statement, the only real work he seems to do anymore is give interviews
to fawning journalists and fight off the attentions of love-struck
soccer-mom groupies - both being, we'd like to remind our local NPR
affiliates, tasks for which we ourselves are eminently qualified.
Glass takes it as his mandate to stand out from the rest of public radio programming, which is hardly a challenge, considering NPR's steady move in the past decade toward big money, pocketbook politics, and the arthritic musings of Bailey White. David Isay's recent and brilliant "Sunshine Hotel" is a Glass-influenced exception that proves the rule. Still, there was a time when "public radio" meant you could show up at the local college station and volunteer to spin some Tito Puente and tell fart jokes. Today, the best you can do is volunteer to fork over some tax-deductible cash, leaving the hands-on duties to professionals like Ira.
More than any other factor, though, the case for a Glass EGG is made by the celebrated couch dance the candidate performs every time some feckless mug artist tries to take his picture. We appreciate the disingenuous stab at modesty, but Ira's coy peek-a-boo comes off less as a mysterious Pynchonian flourish than a camera-shy perp walk, with a particularly vain suspect. We know that he knows that we know he's a handsome devil, so we're pleased to award Ira Glass this EGG, to pay for the cost of a cover shot and full-photo spread in Martha Stewart Living and to publish his personal phone number and email address in Yellow Silk.
Place of Residence: Chicago, IL
courtesy of the Sucksters