Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gordon Gets It Right

I know it's always distressing to the Nation when I stray too far from commentary on The Little One, so you may wish to skip this entry.

I've read many of the Kennedy assassination conspiracy books, a number of the better-known ones.  My bookshelf contains around 15-20 of them.  I've visited numerous conspiracy websites.  Walked Dealey Plaza numerous times and visited the Sixth Floor Museum a couple times.   I've also read the Posner and Bugliosi LHO-did-it-alone books.  Also read the Warren Report, although none of the many published volumes of evidence.

LHO-did-it-alone wins hands down.

What I especially like about Gordon's approach to this is that it recognizes both fronts on the fight against nonsense:  First, he knows a great deal about the facts of the assassination and, within the style and time limitations of a guy-talk format, does a good job of answering conspiricists on the merits.  Second, he recognizes the illogic and flimsiness of the conspiracy investigators' methods and calls attention to the tortured processes by which they spin their very strange and mutually-exclusive scenarios.  Of the couple-dozen or so shooter candidates of the various schools of assassination thought, all but one of them must be wrong.  It's amazing to me that Jim Marrs, who spans both Kennedy conspiracy and UFO conspiracy, is a professor at UT-Arlington where he offers his stuff to the unsuspecting undergraduates.

Today he alluded to another strain of this debate:  It is characterized on the conspiricists side by what historian Richard Hofstadter called, in a book of the same name, "The Paranoid Style of American Politics."  We see it on both sides of the political spectrum, from Joe McCarthy, through the Kennedy conspiricists, to the Area 51 people, to the 9/11 Truthers, to the Obama Birthers.  (I swear to God:  The other night I happened on a YouTube video of a network interview with a Texas A&M professor who was seriously arguing that no jets hit the World Trade Center on 9/11.) 

[By the bye, of this group, the Birthers strike me as the least incredible, mainly owing to POTUS's extremely odd reaction to the entire controversy, and the continuing reluctance to produce an original of that long-form certificate.  But pretty incredible, nonetheless.  For the record -- I think POTUS was almost certainly born where he says he was.]

Might try to tag along on that LHO Trail of Tears if Gordon gets it up and running.

A solemn promise to the faithful Confessor:   More Mike R irresponsible speculation coming right up!

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[Respectful request:  Even though I didn't, let's try to keep comments tied to Gordon's work on this.  Of course, you are always welcome to tell me that I've lost a reader.]

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Follow Your Plainsman on Twitter:  @Plainsman1310


Anonymous said...

I thought Gordo made Lombardi look silly the other day. And he did it in a very non-confrontational, charitable way. Lombardi simply wouldn't or couldn't answer Gordon's questions. I also appreciated Gordon's honesty about his own past conspiracy-infected past. He's right: conspiracy theories do have a way of grabbing hold of your imagination; that is, until you examine them in the light of day, for what they are. Unfortunately, many otherwise intelligent people get sucked up into them and never come back.

Plainsman: I had no idea Marrs teaches at UTA. What department? What a scary thing!

Anonymous said...

"[P]ast conspiracy-infected past."

I'm an idiot!

birq said...

I think Gordon's forté is dealing with serious subjects with his unique blend of childlike curiosity and offbeat humor. You can always tell the subjects for which he has passion, and if he's given the airtime to speak on them, it's almost always good radio, in my opinion.

I love hearing him talk about conspiracy theories (JFK in particular), growing up in Mississippi, his personal tribulations trying to make heads or tails of faith/ethics/morality and his (what others would term) dime-store philosophical ramblings. He makes them entertaining and fun. He could host a few hours of Coast-To-Coast-style broadcasting per week and I'd be in without fail.

The Plainsman said...

From Wikipedia: "Since 1976, Marrs has taught a course on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy at the University of Texas at Arlington. In 1989, his book, Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, was published and reached the New York Times Paperback Non-Fiction Best Seller list in mid-February 1992. It became a basis for the Oliver Stone film JFK. Marrs served as a chief consultant for both the film's screenplay and production. In it, Marrs claims the Illuminati were behind the murder, and indicates the group are keepers of ancient knowledge brought to earth in prehistory by an alien race called the Annunaki." I have also read that he has taught a UFO course at UTA. Finally, I have seen references to his retirement from teaching in 2007, but for some reason I have a recollection of seeing that he still teaches a course there. I may have been inaccurate in characterizing him as a "professor" -- for all I know it's a night adult-education class. If any UTA Confessors can fill us in on his association with the University, we would be grateful.

Birq: Love the "Gordo Coast-to-Coast" idea.

BTS said...

I'd be fascinated with the idea of Gordon hosting an hour here or there where he debunks conspiracy theories, but it would get repetitive. Every one of them boils down to people's need to identify something more powerful than themselves. There is always some secretive group (Illuminati, New World Order, and the like) the conspiracy theorist fingers as the root call of EVERY mystery-that-isn't in their catalog. It's funny how the New World Order is always led by what the theorist fears most.

Come to think of it, I don't think I'd like to hear that. Gordo debating Lombardi is entertaining, but interviewing those poor souls at Dealey Plaza came off as unnecessarily cruel, the equivalent of administering the Wunderlic test on-air to a group of special-needs kids.

birq said...

BTS, I'm just talking about a 2 hour free-form Gordo show where he can talk about whatever he wants. Not like the Rant, something that has substance. Conspiracy theories would just be part of it. Think about the segments when he was talking about his African hunting experience -- serious, but with humor and insight and a minimum of breastfeeding jokes.

East Texas P1 said...

"Back and to the left....."

That's all you need to know, "Back and to the left".

Anonymous said...

birq: I don't think Gordon's capable of such a program. At least not on a regular basis. I think you might be overestimating him a bit. The dime-store philosopher tag that's often applied to him is fairly accurate. I'm afraid that sooner rather than later the show would devolve into the Rant. The thing is, that's what Gordon is, it's what he does. It's the real Gordon. Gordon the public intellectual is who he wants to be; who he tries to be. But he isn't. He can't help himself. Please review the last time he was on the Orphanage. He's a smart guy who likes to think about issues. No doubt about it. But don't confuse him for someone he's not. Even if it's someone that he very much wants to be/be seen as.

birq said...

You may very well be right, Anon, but he is my leader and it's my duty to expect the unrealistic of him.

Anonymous said...

Haha! I hear you, birq.

BTS said...

Call it the Keith Olbermann effect. You shouldn't brag about being the smartest guy in the room if the other guy is Chris Berman. Likewise, it's not that much of an accomplishment to be a better social critic than Georgio and Junior.

Dunham and Miller both seem to be very uncomfortable when the show veers too far off the path, and Gordo's great at keeping things level until his co-hosts can get their bearings. You're looking at two guys who don't really have the skill set for sports talk radio, but who have reached the top of their field through hard work and willpower. Gordon thrives in that environment.

Now, contrast morning-show Gordo with round-table Gordo. Most of the other on-air personnel are better at broadcasting than they are at sports (the entire Hardline), or just have a big old brain like Bob. When people start talking with authority on anything that isn't sports, he starts sabotaging the conversation. As much as I love what he does, he's lucky to be working with such a special and familiar group of people.

The Plainsman said...

Ooo, now there's the beef. Great thoughtful comment, BTS.

I'm curious: Why don't you think D & M have the skill-set for sports-talk radio? True, none of the shows sound like sports-talk in other major markets where the hosts talk fast and loud, but don't we all think it's kind of an ideal thing to listen to? And hasn't it sounded that way for a number of years? I have always thought Junior rivaled Bob for acute sports observations, and sometimes I think his instincts may be a shade more authoritative than Bob's admittedly impressive and entertaining by-the-numbers analyses.

Having said that, I do think you have touched on something true about Gordon's relations with the rest of the station. I'll be exploring that in a future article. I've had a major Gordon piece on the mid-burner for awhile, looks like it may be time to move it up.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who is in a room with Keith Olbermann can rest assured that he or she is not the dumbest person in the room.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gents of this fair blog...

I love Gordon Keith's radio shenanigans. I truly do.

However, Gordon Keith can also be a bully. And from my years of listening, it has come to my attention that he's only a bully to those individuals whom he feels that he can "best." "Best" them by means of either making them feel angry and/or inadequate. The guy likes easy targets. Now I assure you that Gordon doesn't think that this is his modus operandi. However, a quick and honest listen to his work over, say, just the last few days at the Unticket site suffices to show otherwise.

Gordon is a nice man. We've seen his generous spirit come through in his charity work and his on-air assistance of friends and even listeners' families. I truly believe, no, I know that he's a genuinely good guy. But that doesn't excuse his bullying. And what makes his bullying in some regard even more egregious, is that what he believes that he's passing off as sound and valid logical thinking often times, is not. And when it is, it's usually superficial. BTS nailed it (Olbermann Effect). I don't know where to begin, to be honest. From the sophomoric, surface-level, pseudo-Freudian, postmodern, inane Foucauldian worldview of the relationship between power and sex to/and in conjunction with his utterly pop-culture, bar-stool, sociology...Again, where does one begin???? Is he aware of this? Surely I would think not. One here might say "well who the hell are you to point out these so-called intellectual failings of Gordon?" I do so because Gordon has gone out of his way over the years to position himself as The Ticket Intellectual. (Again, props to BTS for the O.Effect analogy.) The funny thing is, if it's actually funny, at all, is that Junior has a much more, sound, analytical mind than Gordon.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the BTS and a couple of the anons about Gordon's bullying or beating others into submission with high school debate tactics. It doesn't mean that what he's saying isn't right, but it's the way he does it. I also agree with the last anon who spoke of Gordon's giving and generous nature. I think it's only fair that it's pointed out. If anyone heard him on the day after he debated Michael Lombardi, he kinda apologized for it. Maybe he does know in retrospect how he can come off or even act and regrets it. Gordon's my leader. Long live Gordon. We all have our shortcomings. But we all don't have any of ours exposed for the world to see like Gordon does. Not saying that he hasn't brought it on himself, but I am saying that he's seems like a good guy with a good heart who gets out of control from time to time and lives to regret it.

The Plainsman said...

One of the best set of comments to any post, ever.

If any other Ticket-related site has any comment that makes reference to Michel Foucault, much less a phrase of this musicality("the sophomoric, surface-level, pseudo-Freudian, postmodern, inane Foucauldian worldview of the relationship between power and sex to/and in conjunction with his utterly pop-culture, bar-stool, sociology"), I'll shut this one down immediately.

Yes, we've heard Gordon bully listeners, interviewees, and, least attractively, colleagues ("wanna shut that mic off?"). I'm not sure that "bullying" is the right word for this tendency, however -- its more like baiting, condescension, something like that.

I wrote about this awhile back in an article titled "Gordon is Bored," and I think that his bad moments reflect this. He has a restless and capacious intellect, and he's kinda stuck on a sports/guy-talk station. He's talented in a number of areas; he can't make a living at any one particular one of them, but he can flex them all at a station that needs an all-purpose smart/funny guy who can do voices. He does his best to suppress his disdain of the yokel, but sometimes it's all just a bit too much, and we see Bad Gordon, as the foregoing observers have noted.

And he's not a kid anymore, either. (None of them is, which has the CTO scratching their beards about what's next for The Ticket.) But he's lost the outlet for his more sophisticated writing with the demise of Quick, which probably hasn't improved his view of his prospects at The Little One.

He's not my leader, but he's got a hellluva gift.

The Plainsman said...


Was that Corby who did the very funny and very accurate T.C. impression on Wednesday? The voice sounded like something Corby could accomplish, although the content sounded more Danny-like. In either case, hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Plainsman, if what Gordon wrote for Quick (and I believe he's writing the same column from time to time for the Morning News) passes as sophisticated, well, all I can say is "um, okay." The columns IMHO seemed thrown together at the last minute, rarely funny, and not a very good representation of how funny and at times insightful Gordon is on The Ticket. I think that's the rub: Gordon is at his best doing imitations and razzing his coworkers. It's not writing (not comedic writing anyways, who knows maybe he has the great American novel in him?). It certainly wasn't that awkward Conan-Letterman style show he had, and it damn sure isn't the Chris Farley SNL celebrity interview knock off he does for channel 8 (now if he'd do them as Microphone Johnson, he'd be onto something). He's good at bits. Good at short, to the quick, almost always reductive of the intended target, radio bits. He excels at making fun of others. He's gifted, if that's what you want to call it, in this regard. He also excels at badgering others to the point of where physical confrontation is possible (and in the past, has actually occurred).

I have to disagree with you, Plainsman. Gordon's not bored. He wishes he was someone else. He's a smart dude with a lot of ever changing interests. So, he's smart enough to know that what he does for a living, while a dream for many of us, is also rather ridiculous and at heart kind of meaningless in the bigger picture. Gordon seems like a bigger picture guy. I'll bet this bothers him greatly. But he still yearns to participate in Algonquinian conversation (to quote a part of the old Hardline intro), so we get dime store philosopher Gordon from time to time. We do so because the morning show is his public platform. Yes he has a philosophical bent inside him, but it doesn't mean he's either a philosopher or a tortured soul artiste genius. So, I don't think he's trapped at The Ticket. He might be restless. We all get restless when we've been doing the same thing for as long as he has. Gordon has the one job that is ideal for him. He's a lucky SOB in this respect. Very lucky. BTS nailed it when he said he's lucky to have such familiar and special group of people. Most would have went out of their way to either ostracize or get rid of him long ago. If you've been listening to The Ticket from its beginning or soon thereafter, you know exactly what I mean. The Gordon we get these days isn't even half as passive aggressive and at times even cruel as he used to be. Actually he's rarely if ever cruel anymore. But boy was ever capable of it in the old days. Don't get me wrong, I used to have tears in my eyes for laughing so hard at some of his meaner endeavors.

I think a lot of people have summed it up nicely by saying Gordon's a good dude who f's up from time to time, seems to know it, and who also wants to be more than what he is. But what he is is pretty damned good when he keeps it in check. He's not my leader either, Plainsman, but I sure do appreciate a lot of what he does, and I hope he stays with The Little One for a long, long time to come.

Shaggy said...

White Elephant draft today at 12:50. WE broadcast day is Dec 7

T4 In Rockwall said...

Thanks Shaggy for letting us know of the WE draft. I usually "Pandora" out when Norm comes on (I know he's not there this week though)and it lasts until the Hardline usually.

T4 In Rockwall said...

BTW, doesn't the pic of LHO look a little like Bob with hair?

The Plainsman said...

I might have missed it in previous installments, but I think Gordon added a new feature to his Fake Jason Garrett -- the occasional voice-break, that slight sub-syllabic break into falsetto that we sometimes get when we have a throat-bubble or something like that. Amazing.