Saturday, July 17, 2010

Louis C.K.'s Disgusting Body (And T-Shirt) Kills Publc Radio Show in Mississippi

I heard earlier this week that Fresh Air, the NPR arts and entertainment magazine, was pulled from Mississippi Public Broadcasting radio stations over "recurring inappropriate content". My first thought was most definitely not "Thank God Mississippi has rid itself of that racy, licentious libertine Terry Gross, lurer of sailors to their deaths with the siren song of pledge drive gifts and low-key author interviews." Actually it was incredulous laughter, followed by the sentence you just read.

At first, everybody assumed the worst, that it was one of the segments on politics or some silly thing. Now there is strong speculation that the root of the situation is a July 7th interview with Louis C.K., who is the writer/producer/star of the new FX series Louie, which is the funniest deep, dark wail of despair you'll find on the air this summer. Well, that explains everything...except no it doesn't, because this is the likely offender (clipped from the Rachel Maddow blog linked above):

Louis CK: But if I'm with a woman and she wants to be with me, she must like me. I definitely have sex with my T-shirt on, always. I haven't had sex without a shirt on, God, since I was about 23."

Terry Gross: Is that true?

Louis CK: Yeah, I just don't think that's fair. I mean, you know, let her think she's with somebody decent, you know? ... I do have sex sometimes on the show, and there's a rule that I have to be on my back.

Terry Gross: Why, because your stomach flattens?

Louis C.K.: Well, no, God, no. I'm not laying back in that bed thinking, "I look awesome right now." It's because I think I should always be the victim of the sex. I don't think anyone wants to see me looming over her. I think that's an upsetting image. And then also, the mother-dog stomach that I get when I'm ... you get the point.

Apparently several Mississippi universities use public radio as their hold music--which is a baffling decision since, like a lot of public radio stations, MPB appears to run a mostly news format on weekdays--and somebody on hold just had to give the poor sap who picked up the line an earful. Whatever the reason, the result was that MPB did the classy thing and pulled the plug without telling anybody exactly why, apart from some vaguely menacing nonsense about their "zero tolerance" policy towards inappropriate conduct. Apparently "inappropriate conduct" equals "saying the word 'sex' when you're not talking about whether someone is a boy or a girl".

In short, the people who run Mississippi Public Broadcasting are out of their minds, but since I'm not in their market it's in the hands of others.

Fresh Air was dropped by MPB last year as part of a string of budget cutbacks, because funding for public radio in America has been a real hand-to-mouth exercise since 1) the government cut the legs out from under their public broadcasting funding and 2) A Prairie Home Companion got so popular that Minnesota started charging a million-billion-trillion dollars for it. Listener complaints brought Fresh Air back that time, and since listener contributions are about all they've got left, they will pay attention if a few thousand of you Mississippians register your displeasure. There aren't a whole lot of places left on the American air where people talk about books and the media in an intelligent and entertaining manner, and if you let one of them get away, I guarantee you'll be sorry.

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