Thursday, March 31, 2011

Our work here is about done

Since our last review the Friday before last, we have continued listening to WZBH primarily during the workdays from as early as five-thirty in the morning to as late as midnight.  Most of our listening was sporadic being about a half hour to an hour here and there.  Last week, we skipped the Matt and Crank program altogether.

During this two week period, the inflammatory programming and inciteful rhetoric prevalent during the day a couple of months ago was all but gone.  Promos during the day for the Matt and Crank program remained nuetral in tone and none of the other DJs, particularly JJ and Chris Steele, slipped in their off-hand remarks that added to the White- Christian- heterosexual- male-centric Matt and Crank promos.  That was until Tuesday.

Matt was absent on Tuesday.  Crank filled the show with past prank phone calls that, somehow, they really believe are funny.  For the first time we heard the Holiday Inn call.  The premise of the "prank" and the phony accent was so God-awful that we came to the conclusion that either the call was real and Holiday inn hires people with the intelligence God gave an oyster to run their front desk or the whole call was staged.  We tend to believe it was staged.  Maybe one of Matt or Crank's friends needed five bucks for a bottle of Boones Farm so agreed to play along with Matt.

The other two prank calls we have previously reviewed: Matt and Crank takes aim at gays and ends up shooting the entire military, One racist at his finest and his boy at his finest.  Hearing both of the clips on the replay only made them sound worse than when we first heard them.  Too bad Crank chose to replay the prank calls.  Of the two, we believe Crank is the more intelligent and funny personality, but, unfortunately, lacks the confidence to step out from behind Matt's dark shadow and shine in his own right.

That evening, Chris Steele shocked us with his reference to "chicks."  After giving out the station's number, he made the comment that a "hot chick" could feel free to call him.  In the past, we would have found the use of such derogatory slang as further accentuating the White- Christian- heterosexual- male-centric tone of WZBH's programming.  Now we simply see the slang as an idiot kid using an archaic slang term because he feels it makes him sound more macho.  Maybe some day Chris Steele will mature into a man and drop "chick" from his repertoire of words.  If this last sentence sounds harsh, it was meant to be.  He should've used "chick" a month ago so this critic could've won his beer money.

We were also shocked by another quick blurb on this morning's Matt and Crank show.  The station requested that anyone considering a lawsuit against them should give the station a call.  That blurb was the funniest segment of the whole show, probably because Matt and Crank didn't have anything to do with putting it together.  We're all tempted to call because we really want to know what prank is behind the message.  Would we win free tickets to a concert if we called?  Or would we win a bag of WZBH junk promo items like coffee mugs, beer huggers, and pens?  Concert tickets we would take, but we doubt we could make a buck and a quarter selling the promo items on eBay.  We don't want to risk winning junk so none of us at The Critics Page has the nerve to call.  Maybe someone else could call and fill us in on what the prize really is.

We have decided to occasionally listen to WZBH, but as long as the programming continues as is, we really won't have much of anything to review.  Thank you for everyone who has been using the blog and our companion FaceBook page.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dollars for Gays

Note: Matt and Crank were on vacation this week so we found a clip in our files that we never got around to reviewing.  It follows below.  We did listen to WZBH sporadically this week with nothing new to review.  The overall programming on WZBH seems to have changed.  Matt and Crank promos are still nuetral in tone and none of the other DJs make offhand comments that reinforces the negative stereotypes often used on the Matt and Crank program and, in the past, promoted throughout the day.  Our future reviews will be less frequent, if at all.

We're split in opinion on the review of this segment that aired on Feb 17th.  A caller phoned in asking for tickets to the Three Days Grace concert.  Matt tried to sound flirtatious, but he sounded more like a drug dealer trying to get his addict to do something for him.  He asked what the caller would do to get the tickets.

The conversation naturally flowed into the question of would there be anything the caller wouldn't do for 10 million dollars.  The caller responded that he'd do almost anything, to which Matt automatically jumped to the conclusion that "almost anything" meant the caller wouldn't have sex with another man.  (The caller was a man.)  It would've been funny if the caller were gay and had responded that heck, he'd do that for free.  But the statistical odds were in Matt's favor and the caller claimed to be - or at least played the role of - heterosexual. 

Two of us view the clip as a form of gay bashing.  Matt's message was clear: being gay is disgusting and ranks right up there with murder, the second part of the question scenario.  Pimping oneself out wasn't the moral issue at hand.  The moral issue was engaging in a same sex fling.

The other three of us disagree with the harsh label of "gay bashing", although we do see it has problematic.  The three of us who formed this opinion listened to the clip from the standpoint of having never listened to Matt and Crank before.  If one doesn't know the abhoration Matt holds for gays and lesbians, then the clip held a valuable moral lesson.  The problem is that a gay listener struggling with his sexuality or a listener who holds the same level of dislike for gays as Matt does could easily interpret the message as "gay is wrong" and miss the moral lesson.

The moral lesson, which all five of us applaud, is that while everyone may have their price, if that price allows you to go against your nature, then no amount of money is worth doing the act because one would have to live with himself knowing what he did to get that money.  Do you have a price to kill someone?  Pimp yourself out?  If you're straight, have sex with a same sex partner?  If you're gay, have sex with an opposite sex partner? 

All five of us agree the clip is problematic and sends the wrong message about same sex relationships.  Two of us stand firm that the clip is blatant gay bashing.  Listen to the clip below and you be the judge.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Week in review

We listened to WZBH sporadically this week. Not much to review. Matt and Crank will be on vacation next week so we will review the couple of past clips we never got around to reviewing next week. The big question: Did one of us apply for the intern position? We're not telling. We apologize for a boring week of no reviews, but there wasn't anything to rave or rant about. Not even a glimmer of a shiny gem or the dull blackness of a lump of coal.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The rest of the week in review

While we were tied up writing the review for Tuesday's Matt and Crank show, we did continue to monitor a decent portion of WZBH's programming during the week.  We caught anywheres up to two hours each of Matt and Crank, Chris Steele, JJ, Doug Mckenzie, and Captain Blue.  We haven't ever listened to Captain Blue before, but he filled in for JJ, who filled in for Chris Steele, who was on vacation.  We listened randomly during the time slots of 4:30 pm until midnight and caught Doug McKenzie for most of one afternoon.

These guys over the last month have us convinced that the point of this blog either needs to be changed or the blog no longer serves its purpose.  We originally objected to the overall tone of programming on WZBH.  Sure, WZBH still has the sexist, racist, Islamaphobic, and homophobic hosts on the morning show, but during the day, promos for the morning show are limited to innocuous clips that are actually sometimes funny.  With the exception of JJ's one slip up about man-purses roughly two weeks ago, none of the DJs have uttered anything close to sexist, racist, Islamaphobic, or homophobic commentary that would normally supplement the Matt and Crank promo clips that used to be objectionable. 

Chris Steele still hasn't referred to women as "chicks" and this critic can't be sure, but he may have actually been talking about girls, today, and used "girls" in a non-derogatory way.  It happened so fast, this critic isn't sure what he heard.

JJ continues his nightly dumbass reports, which all five of us get a real kick out of.  We all are now fans of his Wednesday night show where he premieres the new rock coming out.  And this critic was shocked to learn that JJ knows basic math.  In his nightly dumbass report, he talked about a 29-year-old mother who has practically disowned her 14-year-old daughter because her daughter got pregnant and 29 is just too young to be a grandmother.  Computing the complicated math of 29 minus 14 minus 9 months of pregnancy, JJ figured out that the complaining mother was about her daughter's age when she got pregnant.  Way to go, JJ!  Not bad for a man who's main diet is Coors Light supplemented with the occasional meal of ribs and burgers.  Maybe your mathematical whizz is a result of your friends who come over to watch football with you and cook a five course meal during the game.  Gay or not, that added nutrition is doing you good.  Heck, send those friends over here.  This critic hasn't had a good, five course meal since, well, since he left the military.

Captain Blue apparently has this crazy idea that a rock station is supposed to play music, so he played music and spoke very little.  When he did speak, it was something worthwhile, like how to win tickets or something or maybe visit the WZBH website for more information.  For the bit over an hour one of our critics listened, that critic was just happy to hear nothing but good music.

Our one critic, who was thrilled with Doug McKenzie for playing a Primus song about a week ago, was a bit disappointed in not hearing a song from a past group that would jog his memory of a forgotten favorite.  Like Captain Blue, however, Doug McKenzie has the silly notion that a rock station is about the music and he played good music while keeping his commentary to a minimum.  The critic, however, did enjoy the bit of historical tidbits of information Doug McKenzie would occassionally mention before playing a song.  Not many DJs do that today.

We've already covered Matt and Crank's programming for Tuesday.  Our critic, who usually listens and records the segments, sort of took a vacation the rest of the week knowing it would be awhile before we put together Tuesday's review.  She did, however, want us to mention a rather good segment that aired this morning about proper FaceBook eittiquette, particularly the proper ettiquette with someone one may be in a relationship with.  She only caught a couple of segments of the commentary, but wanted to point out that, for a change, Matt and Crank weren't whining about something or spewing their normal sexist, racist, Islamaphobic, or homophobic rhetoric.  She actually enjoyed the discussion.

With all that said and done, all five of us have been texting each other all day about our semi-weekly - ok, weekly and then some if we want to drink beer on other than a Saturday night - get-togethers.  Tomorrow night we'll be discussing the future of The Critics Page.  Originally, we developed this blog to document the sexist, racist, Islamaphobic, and homophobic commentary emanating from the Matt and Crank Show and being carried throughout the day's programming by airing clips of the offensive commentary and being supplemented by off-hand comments made by the other DJs. 

For a couple of months prior to starting this blog, all five of us listened to WZBH as much as we could Monday through Friday and certainly saw the derogatory tone being set.  In the last month, that tone seems to have disappeared.  We would like to think that maybe JJ and Chris Steel, the two biggest "enablers" we have documented, have read our reviews and decided on their own to sharpen their on-air personas.  We would also like to think that maybe the programming director at WZBH took notice of our reviews and decided the inflammatory commentary out of the morning show wasn't appropriate to air throughout the day.

We recognize, however, that really, we're just five drunk rednecks and probably had little, if anything, to do with the changes in the overall programming that we've seen in the last month.  Either a lot of other people have been complaining and the changes were in the works before we got around to creating this blog or maybe what we thought we heard wasn't really there once we started documenting the abuses.

Actually, we reject the latter explanation.  Promo clips for the Matt and Crank show almost always were inflammatory in some way and usually centered around what it means to be a real man, which usually meant keeping women "in their place."  One place where we failed, as critics, is to document, in real numbers, the abuses aired throughout the day compared to what we've heard in the last month.  Those numbers would be telling statistics to confirm what we think we're hearing now.

We are, however, faced with a dilemma.  Since we view the Matt and Crank morning show as nothing more that a lot of adolescent whining laced with serious sexist, racist, homophobic, and not so much now Islamaphobic messages, even though those messages aren't carried throughout the day, should we continue documenting just the Matt and Crank abuses or accept that radio-star-wannabes will say anything to get noticed?

One thing we do know.  The radio clips and reviews will be here twenty years from now.  Perhaps Matt and Crank should ponder this thought as they continue to mature and pursue their future careers.  After all, wasn't it Christine O'Donnell who was haunted by her witchcraft confessions of twenty years ago?  The I-was-just-a-dumb-kid-entertainer excuse didn't work for her....

We're not really sure where to take the blog past this point.  Our critic, who usually records the segments from the Matt and Crank Show, is getting tired of the incessant whining.  To paraphrase Matt and Crank - losers complain the loudest about what they don't like, but no one applauds that which they do like.  We know when they said something along those lines, the comment was an indirect reference to us.  Our critic is still trying to figure out how their four hours of daily complaining is any different from the other "losers" who complain so loudly,  including what they just complained about.  As she text the writer of this review earlier today, "Spring is coming.  I want to start my day on happy notes.  Do I really have to listen to them every day?"

We'll have a few beers tomorrow night at the round table and figure out what, if anything, we'll do next.  We already know that, no, she doesn't haven't to listen to them every day.  Please stay tuned....

Friday, March 4, 2011

One racist at his finest and his boy at his finest

Tuesday's programming (01 Mar) provided the usual adolescent fare with a surprise two segments during the eight o'clock hour. 

Prior to the eight o'clock news with Innae Park, Matt and Crank aired their latest prank call.  The call, made to a hotel, had Matt using a contrived, old man's voice trying to make a reservation.  As any listener has come to expect, the character Matt developed in the old man was a cardboard cutout of stale stereotypes.  At least we know Matt can cut along the dotted lines with precision.

The old man portrayed was a forgetful, sleepy, racist.  During the call, he'd forget what he just said, he fell asleep during the call, and he ended the call with wanting a room where the Blacks, Hispanics, and Koreans couldn't get a room.  The call ended when the clerk on the other end hung up after Matt asked if a hose would be available so he could hose down any Canadians who may be there.

Like typical ninth-grade boys, Matt and Crank thought the segment was hilarious.  There are two ways the segment could've been funny.  The clerk could've reacted with witty counter comments to the banal stereotype he was faced with or Matt and Crank could've created an endearing character with depth to his personality.  Sadly, neither happened.  If it weren't for the two segments that followed, The Critics Page wouldn't even have mentioned this prank call as it was only worthy for the septic system.  Eerily, we believe Matt was giving us a glimpse of his future.

After the news with Innae Park, Matt and Crank launched into a rant about the coming extinction of the Western European Anglo-Saxon race generated from a story out of Texas that predicted White people would be a minority in Texas within a few years.  The first segment starts with a poorly constructed analogy of how we get upset over the impending extinction of a bird - using an eagle, a sparrow, and some made up bird as an example - yet we don't get upset about the impending extinction of the "White culture."  Matt carefully tried to avoid using the phrase, "White culture" and, instead, substituted "West European Angl-Saxon culture", but any half-educated listener knows what he meant. 

It is apparent that either Matt thinks of the races of people as different species or he is a product of a failed education system and really doesn't understand the concept.  An eagle and a sparrow are about as related as a dog and a cat.  And while Matt may like to think of himself as an eagle, the sparrow serves an equally important role in the ecological system.  The disappearance of either one upsets the natural balance of the ecological system and can contribute to extinctions of other animals that directly or indirectly depends on either one for survival.

This may come as a surprise to Matt, but people are people regardless of the color of their skin.  White people aren't the eagles and everyone else aren't the sparrows.  It is clear from the analogy Matt chose to use that his beliefs are founded in the notion of the superiority of the White race.

The two segments warrant no further comment from The Critics Page.  We decided that we didn't want to add any legitimacy to Matt's claims by debating them point-for-point.  We are greatly disappointed in Crank's peerformance, though.  We have deduced that he is married to a non-White woman and he tried feebly to counter Matt's comments.  Yes, Crank is still Matt's little boy.  Crank didn't stand up like a man and call out Matt for his racist comments and end the segment before Matt dug them both neck deep in a quagmire of sludge.

Readers of this review can judge for themselves with the two clips below.  We challenge anyone to listen to what Matt said and compare it to what is plastered over any White supremacist website or the well-known White supremacist discussion board, Stormfront, and explain to us how what they have to say about the extinction of the White race and culture is racist, but Matt's claims are not.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Matt and Crank takes aim at gays and ends up shooting the entire military

Matt and Crank ended the month of February with a double barrel bashing fest.  They set their crosshairs squarely on gays and lesbians, pulled the trigger, and every active duty military person and veteran was caught in their line of fire.

Our critic, who usually listens to and records the morning show, only caught about an hour and a half of the show and missed the airing of the "sensitivity training video", but, fortunately, Matt and Crank boldly posted the clip on the Matt and Crank FaceBook page as a You Tube video.  Based on their past record of posting You Tube videos of only clips they have aired earlier and on the responses received both on their FaceBook page and our FaceBook page, we're fairly certain that they aired the clip on their morning show.  Even if they did not, the clip can be found on the Matt and Crank FaceBook page and a Matt and Crank fan conveniently posted the clip to our FaceBook page boasting it as proof that Matt and Crank aren't "reformed".  Since we perceive the Matt and Crank FaceBook page as an official extension of the Matt and Crank Show as linked through the official WZBH website - and we're fairly certain the clip was aired on the show before being posted as a You Tube video - we feel the clip warrants our review.  (The clip also appears on the official WZBH website under the individual jocks' blog.  We have also discovered that WZBH has its own official FaceBook page and the clip appears there as if it is endorsed by WZBH as appropriate programming.)

The clip has Matt doing a poor voice impression of George C. Scott as General Patton given to a fictitious corporal.  The You Tube clip includes the famous scene from the movie where Scott, as Patton, stands before a huge flag while giving a speech.  The gist of Matt's dubbed speech plays on the stereotypes of gays as being flamboyant fairies tip-toeing through the tulips.  The speech opens with the declaration that fighting terrorists and defending our country is no longer a priority because we (the military) have to be more sensitive and cater to gays and lesbians.  Rifles would no longer be armed with bullets.  Instead, rifles would be armed with petunia seeds and the military's new mission is to plant petunias the world over as we make new friends.  And, of course, the uniform is changed to colorful tanktops and matching orange pants.

To drive home his anti-gay message, Matt posted the video with a short explanation that the video is made up, but the fact that the military is starting sensitivity training "is tragically not made up."  We are not sure why Matt and Crank feel that WZBH is an appropriate venue to push their anti-gay agenda on a consistent basis, but this parody, even if it were meant to be in fun, is an insult to the estimated 6,600 gay and lesbian soldiers currently serving as well as to every military soldier, both active and veteran.  Tragically, we know it wasn't meant to be in fun.

The three veterans associated with The Critics Page, each of whom have served an honorable four years, take particular ojection to this clip.  None of us five associated with The Critics Page can claim to be from the generation that successfully put an end to the draft.  The oldest among us was only a kid when the draft was ended.  The three veterans associated with The Critics Page, however, completely embrace the idea of an all-volunteer force and would much rather share the battlefield with their compatriots who are there because they want to be there rather than because the government told them they had to be there.  The color of their skin, sex, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation makes no difference.  They are there to get a job done and will get the job done.

The three veterans also take great pride in their service and the military history that has made America a strong country with unprecedented freedoms for its citizens.  Despite the doomsday predictions of the time, the military integrated its forces before the civilian world ended segregation and then integrated women into its ranks with equal pay for equal ranks - something not all of the civilian world can claim even today.  There is no doubt in their minds that the young people who have taken over their positions today will easily integrate openly gay and lesbian soldiers into the ranks, be proud to serve side-by-side with them, and, just as in the past, the integration will cause no degradation in our fighting forces.  The exhaustive Pentagon survey of active troops supports this statement.  Over 70% of active duty troops saw little or no problems with serving with openly gay and lesbain personnel.  To use a past military icon of sorts to imply that our active duty members today lack the professionalism, integrity, and strength to embrace the change and remain a strong fighting force shows nothing but a complete lack of respect for our fighting forces.

The three veterans associated with The Critics Page respects every young person's decision not to serve their country despite believing every young person has an obligation to serve, but they do draw a clear line when one who has chosen not to serve turns around and ridicules fellow active duty, veterans and the military in general.  Matt and Crank have decided to shirk their civic responsibilities and chose not to serve, but have the audacity to scream "free speech rights" as they use stale stereotypes to ridicule soldiers who have taken the responsibility to defend Matt and Crank's right to sit behind a microphone to belittle and marginalize what they do. 

Several thousands of our soldiers have come home in body bags.  Several tens of thousands have come home with broken bodies and missing limbs.  Some of these soldiers were probably gay.  We'll never know because that was in the era of "don't ask, don't tell."  The military is finally stepping up to the plate - even if they had to be given a shove, first - to afford gay and lesbian soldiers the due respect they have earned and proven in the battlefield.  Gays and lesbians have served and died for many decades before Matt and Crank were born and for many decades before any of us associated with The Critics Page were born.  Recognition and respect for their service is long over due.

We, at The Critics Page, and particularly our three veterans, challenge Matt and Crank to put their convictions where their mouths are.  You both claim to be patriotic, real men so we'll gladly provide you with contact information and directions to your nearest recruiting office for you to prove it.  After serving, if you then want to parody the over two million active duty and active reserve soldiers and the estimated 6,600 gay soldiers who are currently serving for you, maybe we'd be a bit more receptive towards your lame attempt at humor.  At least you'll have the military experience to back up your parody claims.  In the mean time, try to learn a little respect and show it for the men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation, who are serving so that you can safely sit behind your microphones spewing all the nonsense you want to spew in the name of free speech you so greatly cherish, but our other, more responsible young people, both straight and gay, are actually fighting for.

Below is the You Tube clip as posted by Matt and Crank on the official WZBH FaceBook page and other sites affiliated with WZBH.  We will replace this clip with our own audio recording made from the video should Matt and Crank decide to delete the video from the You Tube site.