Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio - February 22, 2015

Brian Gongol

Podcast: Updated weekly in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. Subscribe on Stitcher, Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or iHeartRadio

Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.

Don't make fun of the McDonald's Valentine's dinner

Yes, a lot of people had a lot of fun on social media at the expense of the McDonald's "reservations" for Valentine's Day dinner. But there are families who can't afford babysitters who might still want to do something special and that could involve the kids. There are others who simply can't afford anything different, or who don't want to spend the money. Yes, it might seem silly to think of McDonald's as a romantic date night, but that's only valid for people who have the means and interest to spend more. There are many others for whom McDonald's is "enough", and there's nothing wrong with that.

Don't blame Jimmy Fallon for not being funny

The system that produces mass-market television hosts isn't designed to produce another Johnny Carson. It's designed to produce inoffensive hosts like Carson Daly and Ryan Seacrest. Fortunately, though, the system also produces great specialty actors and hosts who find niche formats and programs that appeal to every taste. I find Key and Peele side-splittingly funny, but their material isn't even remotely suitable for the public as a whole. Craig Ferguson was a riot, too, and I am heartbroken that he no longer hosts a nightly show...but his schtick was never going to work for the middle of the bell curve of taste.

Safety in tribes

The power went out in part of West Des Moines the other day while I was at a small family get-together, and I noticed that I wasn't as anxious as I'd normally be under the circumstances. No, I wouldn't be in a panic had the lights gone out while I was at home alone, but there's also no escaping the fact that an unexpected change in circumstances (like a power outage) is enough to heighten the senses and put one in a higher state of alert than usual. But since there were several adults all in the room together, each with a high level of trust in the others, nobody got especially alarmed. Anthropologically, we "knew" deep down in the animal parts of our brains, that we each only had to pay partial attention to the environment around us. The others, doing the same, would contribute to a higher level of alertness than we could perform on our own. Again, it's not as though we were in a threatening environment -- this was West Des Moines on a Saturday night, after all -- but we each had natural curiosity about why the power had gone out, when it would come back, and whether we needed to do anything in response. In essence, we were among our tribe, and as a result, we could each lower our individual state of alertness. Thinking about that experience got me to considering how important it is for people like us, those voices on the radio, to make sure we're supplying reassurance to you, the dear listener. I am disappointed by my peers in broadcasting generally who choose to put their audiences on a heightened state of alert all the time. Radio hosts and listeners form a sort of tribe, and it's our job as the hosts to reassure (when appropriate) so that you can take us seriously when we need to warn you about an actual situation of danger or potential harm. Those hucksters who spend their time perpetually trying to get their listeners worked up aren't doing the right thing by their radio tribes.

This week

Science and Technology Robotic exoskeletons are already helping paralyzed people to walk

News Greece convinces rest of Europe to stretch out the financial aid package
They otherwise would have run out of money next month

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