Howard Stern’s morning radio show has been a must-listen lately, if censorship and bullying of the media is a concern for you. Love or hate him, Stern is in a position to become the next Larry Flint/Lenny Bruce as he happily martyrs himself in the face of the election year/Janet Jackson red scare. Like most controversial figures in free speech debates, Stern is part clown, part defiant Lucifer, part suffering Christ. (I imagine Jesus, in fact, had a pointed sense of humor, contrary to the Gibsonian portrayal of a biblical Steven Seagal, stoic and icy in his conviction.) The father of modern radio angrily told his audience today that he’s a “dead man walking,” but that his dying request would be the ousting of George W. Bush. “Think of me when you go to the ballot.” Contrary to popular opinion, listener polls show that Stern’s audience is mainly professional, high-earning and educated. His influence should not be scoffed at, in fact his support of Pataki helped put the governor in office.
I usually dig my nails into my desk when Stern gets into politics. He’s not always the sharpest 7-foot tall long-haired Jew in the shed. But he’s pointed and unforgiving when it comes to feeding his own ego and riling up the masses in his name. The big problem: his almost paranoid-delusional sense that the world is trying to topple his empire is preventing him from taking any action or (perhaps his biggest folly) talking to outside media. He sits in his tower and hurls stones at the world and expects news anchors and celebrities to fall over themselves in coming to his aid. He won’t even enter the dialogue unless it’s on his mike.
Howard Stern is shocking enough to grab America’s attention (he tricked a retarted caller into agreeing that Bush raped her while shouting “Die Bitch Die!”), funny enough to disarm most reasonable people, and speaks just enough truth in between spanking porn stars that he could really make a difference if he weren’t so busy nailing himself to the cross. Still, it’s a great listen and a refreshing gust of sincere rage in the face of the right-wing hijacking of this country.