The principle for this book is simple: for a year the radio becomes the conduit for a young woman's diary. It shows itself to be a kind of conscience wallpaper, a nervous background noise. With a radio in every home, car, office building, mall space and waiting room, we are surrounded by its many voices, "Radio On" examines these voices, making ...
The principle for this book is simple: for a year the radio becomes the conduit for a young woman's diary. It shows itself to be a kind of conscience wallpaper, a nervous background noise. With a radio in every home, car, office building, mall space and waiting room, we are surrounded by its many voices, "Radio On" examines these voices, making them "truly" audible, clarifying and refining until we truly understand that democracy is alive and well in America--at least on the radio.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-12-09 In 1995, Vowell decided to evaluate everyday radio, switching stations from talk to rock to NPR. What emerges is a self-consciously hip look at America through its radio programs. Vowell is deeply affected by the death of Kurt Cobain in 1995 and bashes those who bash him (e.g., Andy Rooney, whom she labels "one boring grouchy jerk"), sometimes oversentimentalizing Cobain with inane sentences: "While his music led so many young people to freedom, his habit has induced others into the prison of addiction." She delights in taking on Rush Limbaugh and Gordon Liddy and is appalled at the level of "Hate Radio" in the U.S., blaming it for inciting the bombing in Oklahoma City. While in the Southeast, she listens to radio in Spanish (although she doesn't understand the language) and laments how the homeless are treated in San Francisco (one was jailed for "eating a banana on the sidewalk"). And while she loves Cobain, she despises the Grateful Dead ("the worst kind of cultural posturing and fraud"); can't stand I.M. Pei's design for Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and reminds us that "[a]ny woman is well aware that a group of more than three men you don't know convened in any configuration is, whether real or imagined, a threat." On December 31 Vowell, who writes a music column for San Francisco Weekly, is "Free at last from this radio hell" and so, thankfully, is the reader. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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