I don't get it, man.
First, I must say that I remain a big Hardline fan even when they're doing their typical show from Victory or Scruffy Duffies or Sol's Meat Shop in Wylie.
Second, I will further affirm that I have loved the Chicago visit and thought our lads have done a first-rate job, a success in every way. Jeez, some guy was griping near the end of the last post about the account of the visit to the Old Town Ale House and Mike's encounter with Chicago legend, the profane, colorful leftist Bruce Elliott. What exactly do you want them to do on the Chicago trip? Would you think it was a good trip if they had gone to the Sears Tower (I know, it's not called that anymore)? The Art Institute? The Field Museum? Hell, I expect and want The Hardline to go to local bars and find their own. And Christ, they weren't only local-intensive, they were baseball-intensive. Their accounts of the Wrigley Field tour, their elbow-rubbing with the honchi. Mike changing his mind about Cubs fans and falling in love with a new city? Come on -- this is nothing, nothing whatsoever like the New York trip. Maybe they were stung by the yawns that greeted them on their return from New York, and maybe they're making an effort on that account, and some readers have complained about that.
Something's going on here. I have a thought to share on what it is.
|Michael Having the Time of His Life at Wrigley Today,|
Courtesy Alexi Ogando
But right now I'm thinking about the more run-of-the-mill complaints about the show. The complaints about doing the same stuff over and over, the staleness, the show being so much worse than the old days. I don't go back to the old, old days, but I heard the last three years of the Greggo regime, part of it before Greggo shrunk before our very ears, and my notion is that the show is a lot better now than it was at its best with Greggo, but I'll respect those who say that the real old days were better. What else. Lots of stuff, many complaints.
And I'll also concede that these complaints are all entirely sincere. I believe every complaining commenter is being completely truthful about his or her feelings.
But here's what I've been puzzling over, what makes me think something more fundamental is at work. It prompts my New Hardline Theory.
In what respect is The Hardline stale that any of the others shows is not? What show doesn't experience the bored host? (God, I've been resisting writing about this forever, and I may never mention it again, but there was a period not so long ago, and not a short period, when George seemed to me to have lost interest, noticeably checked out.) Okay, maybe not Norm. Why does The Hardline get smacked for plowing old ground when the others shows do exactly the same thing? Why does Corby get absolutely scorched, when other abrasive hosts don't get nearly that obloquy heaped on them? Are the weaknesses of The Hardline so much deeper than that of any other show that it explains the fury we sometimes see among our fine Confessors?
Maybe something else. Something I've tossed out a half dozen times over the last few years but haven't really pursued.
I have thought that things like the poor show prep, but more than that, the pride they seem to take in it; the endless and not very interesting Stones segments that they frankly acknowledged on-air were excessive and dull; Mike's sometimes irascible references to listeners; Corby's occasionally tone-deaf accounts of his kickass life. I've said in passing ya know, this kind of attitude might be interpreted as a lack of respect to the listener.
Now let me hasten to add that I don't personally feel that way. I look at these things as bits -- but I can see how others might take this apparent attitude more personally. Maybe those folks are right and I'm wrong, maybe THL has overplayed the bit, and maybe it's not a bit. Plainsman error has been known to happen on this site.
So my theory is that The Hardline doesn't get a pass because quite aside from the commission of the sins people list, our lads have sometimes behaved in a way that can be interpreted as disrespecting the P1. Other shows, whatever weaknesses they may exhibit, do not convey that impression. Hence, with The Hardline seeming sometimes to thumb its nose at criticism, displeasure morphs into fury.
Another possible theory is that I'm a sucker.
In the meantime, I think The Hardline deserves praise for a real effort, a successful effort, to infuse the show with the good feelings they felt during their trip and providing the P1 with as much of a Chicago baseball experience as you can do outside of WGN. (I guarantee you some decades-long WGN viewers don't know some of the stuff our guys learned and told us about.) I enjoyed every minute of it and I'm hoping maybe it will prove to have been an epiphanal voyage for our guys; I'm looking forward to a new attitude toward their hometown surroundings, including their fans.