Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Monday, December 10, 2007

Teen Pregnancy Cringe Radio

I was listening to NPR's Tell Me More just now. I don't normally listen to the show, it just happened to be on. They're doing a segment on the recent rise in the teen pregnancy rate, which reverses a 15 year decline. (You can hear the whole thing here.)

Some folks theorize that the rise in teen pregnancy rates is linked to the rise in abstinence-only programs, on the crazy idea that you can't fight a biological imperative that's designed to let people make babies after they hit puberty (whether you believe in evolution or the "be fruitful and multiply" model of human development), with just a pledge and a promise ring.

However, you also have to look at the challenge. They followed up the public policy stuff with a Behind Closed Doors segment (where they talk about "sensitive and sometimes uncomfortable issues"), where host Michel Martin (who blogs here) interviews "Makaiya," a 17-year old DC-area teen who's 4 months pregnant.

And look, I'm sorry, I'm going to beat up on the unwed DC public school system-educated non-Hispanic Black teen mother-to-be, but Makaiya's also apparently a brain donor.

She says she knows about birth control, but she thought she couldn't get pregnant. Why? Because, "We had an oops."

When asked what an oops was, "He forgot to put on a condom." (Well, he didn't really forget...)

It's a little hard to understand because she whispers a lot (though it adds to the cringeworthiness of the interview, since it draws you in) -- apparently, in an earlier "oops" encounter, she had unprotected sex, went to the doctor and found she wasn't pregnant, which made her think she couldn't get pregnant.


But it's okay, because it's a blessing, because she knows she can have kids now. Proof of concept. Even though neither really wanted to have a baby. And he didn't even really want to have sex -- she had to throw herself at him to make him give in.

Why? "Hormones." (At first, I thought she said "Homo," which would have been perversely better.)

Why couldn't she try the pill or a patch? Because she had insurance, so she couldn't go to the hospital. (Wait, what?)

As to her family situation -- her dad is uninvolved, her mom had her first child at 13, and has "up to 10 kids." (Up to? Same father, though.) Her older sisters are both single moms, and one's babydaddy tried to kill her with a homemade abortion.

She says, "I'm not going to say that I didn't protect myself" from getting pregnant (well, you don't really have to), but it's a blessing anyway.

The interview is about 10 minutes long. It feels like it lasts forever.

What makes this interview especially cringeworthy is that, unless you're some sort of arch-conservative reveling in the wrongness of this, is that even though you know it's just one person, in this one interview, this poor girl has just reinforced every negative stereotype of the undereducated, oversexed, superficially and hypocritically religious (Abstain from premarital sex? No. Get an abortion? No, it was a blessing and God's will. Get married? No.), multigenerationally dependent, urban Black experience.

In the face of these challenges, how do you reduce teen pregnancy? I have no idea, other than maybe some draconian economic disincentives; mandatory reversible sterilization (for all races and both genders, implemented immediately at puberty and lifted at age 18, after legal emancipation, or with a signed waiver of public assistance); or at the very least, an indelible glow-in-the-dark tattoo (on your location of choice) that says, "Any time you do sex -- even the first time -- could make a baby" (multilingual, of course, with little icons for the reading impaired).

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Dr. Thaddeus Venture Pitches for Shell Oil

Driving in on the toll road this afternoon, I had the radio on and was half-listening to a commercial for some Shell credit card, when I realized (with a start -- which is probably the anti-cliche for the NYT Metropolitan Diary's overused saw "without skipping a beat") that the voice-over was coming from none other than Dr. Thaddeus Venture, the ineffectual, developmentally-arrested, amphetamine-addicted scientist-patriarch of The Venture Brothers cartoon series.

Although the odds of me getting a Shell credit card were already approaching non-existence to begin with, hearing the voice of Dr. Venture as pitchman effectively bumped that down to zero.

As it happens, James Urbaniak, the voice of Doc Venture and others, mentions the Shell gig in his blog.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scary Occurances in DC Radio

I heard the "...from the Ledo Pizza Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center" tagline for the first time tonight on WTOP. It frightened me.

More scarily, I swear I also heard a promo/commercial for the "Carrier air-conditioned broadcast something or other" on 94.7 The Globe.

I guess that's one way to fight global warming (which is part of their eco-friendly positioning). It ranks right up there with Bush's Call for Development of National Air Conditioner.

I also scared myself this evening. I couldn't remember the tune to Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend (the hook of which may or may not be stolen from the Rubinoos' I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend), so I actually sought out the video so I could listen to the tune.

I guess I was more scurred of not being able to recall the tune than I was afraid it would get stuck in my head. Again.

Lastly, in a non-scary thing, it's too bad that Unzipped got the axe from 106.7's 7-10pm lineup.

However, it's bad-bad that they're exclusively doing reruns (as far as I can tell, which isn't very), and not labeling them as such.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

The Pizza Dough-Encrusted Nerve Center and National Farker Radio

Saw this on DCRTV today:
WTOP Sells "Nerve Center" Name To Ledo - 5/7 - Ledo Pizza has just purchased the "naming rights" to all-news WTOP's "Glass Enclosed Nerve Center." That's according to Ledo Marketing Director Will Robinson. Check out the audio clip supplied by Ledo: ledo.mp3....
If there's something more annoying than hearing "from the glass-enclosed nerve center" every 10 minutes on the 8s, it would have to be that.

While I'm on the subject of local radio:

* Unzipped on 106.7 (their sex talk show from 7-10pm) -- I dunno, I kind of like it. Then again, I don't listen to more of a few minutes of it as I'm driving home.

* Bill Redlin -- The guy may be Brent Musberger for all I know (heck, he could be Bo Jackson), but listening to him read the morning sports briefs, I don't get the sense that he's quite comfortable with it, which starts to make me feel uncomfortable

* Fark on NPR -- Back in March was a Fark Party at RFD. I never did get around to blogging about it. Drew Curtis was there. I met him:

Nice guy.

There was also a really big tab, of which I think I put in more than my fair share. But that's okay.

I'd forgotten there was an NPR reporter there (I'd arrived late and didn't talk to him). But there was. And they did a story about it. So there.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The World (er, The Globe) Will End in 2007

I'd been planning on talking about this, and DCist did an item yesterday about radio station 94.7 The Globe, which recently flipped from classic rock to a kind of classic-alternative-mix -- with an environmentally friendly, crunchy granola theme.

I like the music. I should: I'm in the sweet spot of their target demographic.

Plus, as far as I can tell, their motto should be "At least one Talking Heads song per hour."

However, I don't think the enviro-friendly green gimmick is going to finish out the year.

It's because their "101 Ways You Can Save the Earth (Without Really Doing Anything)"-schtick is already getting tedious.

I mean, there's only so many promos you can do about reusable grocery bags and turning out the lights when you leave a room.

Now, the only question in my mind is whether the coattails of July's Live Earth concerts are going to be enough to get them through the summer.

After that, who knows? I hear Spanish language stations are pretty hot.

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