I think it is safe to say that by admitting that you listen to commercial talkback radio, you are also confessing that you are somewhat of a dimwit.
To me, listening to talkback is a bit like sticking your tongue on the bottom of a battery, watching a train wreck or trying on a pair of pants at Myer that are too small, but you just want to see by how much. And as you lie there on the floor of the changing room, struggling to do up the fly, you realise that you are ready to admit defeat and accept the fact that you are not a size 14 anymore.
I am addicted to listening to talkback radio. So there.
My addiction began a few years ago, when I was at home with babies and was slowly going insane with a need to hear an adult conversation. There were only so many door-to-door salesmen that I could converse with about the benefits of their particular mobile carrier and/or energy provider, so I turned on the radio in the vain hope of feeling connected again.
Hello World indeed! A new world to me, at least. A world filled with Valvoline and Oral B and Being Kind to Each Other.
On the flip side, it was a world full of raging loonies who would call into complain about absolutely everything. In particular dole bludgers, Boat People, Politicians and my favourite… THE SNIVEL LIBERTARIAN!
I suppose I was a Snivel Libertarian at this point, as I would yell at the radio “RACIST!” followed by “SEXIST ASSHOLE!” and then “Oh what a sweet old lady… John, send her a clock…” and then “MORON!”
But I never, ever rang in. The type of people that rang in where either serial callers that John knew because they had called in everyday for 12 years, or nervous old people that would inevitably begin the conversation with:
“Hi John. Long time listener, first time caller. I am a bit nervous…”
And then John would assure them that they were doing well, before the caller would launch into a long and rambling attack on a minority group. A call that would then spark call, after call of people ringing in to agree. And I would fly into an anonymous and ineffective rage in the confines of my kitchen.
I was listening to this? Yes, I am afraid I was.
I would listen until either Mr Woog would come home and yank the radio from the wall or a mate would pop over and flick it off, telling me that I was far to opinionated as it was. So my talkback addiction had to go underground.
Years later, with the kids both off to school and with me working from home, I still require some company. The landscape has not really changed since Lawsie left, but instead of learning about Valvoline and Oral B, I am now one of our countries foremost experts in pre-paid funerals, erectile dysfunction nasal sprays and innovative paving solutions.
Someone that I have absolutely nothing in common with. (Pic: left, Alan Jones. 2GB, Sydney.)
But I continue to listen to it. I used to think that it made me feel smarter and smug. But ultimately I suspect I am a dimwit for tuning into it in the first place.
And I hate the way that this group of radio presenters has hi-jacked the term “Shock Jock”. Those words should still be used for describing a pair of skid marked undies that you find behind the door. Or maybe I am wrong…
Concerned relatives and friends have often asked me why I continue to torture myself, and why I had not tuned into the more intelligent alternative of ABC Radio? But the truth is, I can mindlessly go about my mundane chores far more easily not having to concentrate on quality content.
And I think this speaks volumes about my IQ level, at the very least.
Fess up. Do you listen to talkback? We are in a safe space here to discuss such things.
MORE BY MRS WOOG
*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.” You can follow me on Twitter @Woogsworld