Portrait of a Fictional Radio Station

I

There’s a freshly-painted-yet-still-dilapidated brick abode near Rose Hill, right past the Lola City turnoff, just outside Birmingham.

It seems to be squatting in a grassy indentation in the earth, little green shack taking a dump. Then you see the chanky radio tower (some dead vines from last winter still attached) tapering up out of the evergreen trees and then you see, on yet closer inspection, that the front windows of the place are slanted weirdly backwards and – hey, it’s a radio station!

WDYC-FM, former WQOH and before that WLPH and even before that — in AM radio wavelength prehistory  — it possessed another four-letter name.

Investigations are underway. Apathy Radio is on the air.

II

ANNOUNCER:

…and so, to reiterate, the central ethical term for the Cynics and Stoics was apatheia, the lack of a passionate response to events beyond one’s control, and while there are a couple of interesting terms these philosophers used, i.e., aphasia – lack of passionate involvement in linguistic category projections and arrepsia, lack of inclination (neither hot nor cold, tilting to no side, neutrality parfait) – well, we don’t much care about these latter terms today, do we Barbara?

BARBARA:

[brightly]

No, Tim, we don’t!

 

COMMENTARY

 

[Note: the following editorial commentary reflects only the opinion of various individual members of the WDYC/WDIC radio community, not the Stations themselves.]
To be without passion, is that apathy? How deep do we have to buy into apathy in order to get the full effect (or would it be the full “lack of affect”)?

The aim of such a dispassionate state, it appears, was then and now remains a lot like the aim of yoga — a deep stilling of the mind’s movement, or (in Buddhist terminology) “blowing out”: nirvana. Compassionate indifference, some say, while others disagree. Join us tonight at 9 to hear some dissenting opinions

 

IN LOCAL NEWS…

Reports of packs of feral chiweenies, repeat, packs numbering up to more than a dozen chiweenies ‘gone wild’ were sighted in western Addison County. More details as they become available. Local residents should be alert and keep their chickens protected. A live report, now, from Wanda Tinasky.

REPORTER:

You name is….?

INTERVIEWEE: Kimberly Marie.

REPORTER:

Can you tell us what you saw this morning?

KIMBERLY:

We were waiting for the school bus looking at our phones when my sister said, Look! and there was, uh, a bunch of these little dogs running across the street.

REPORTER:

Were you frightened?

KIMBERLY:

No, they were just . . . little dogs.

REPORTER:

What did it look like?

KIMBERLY:

Like . . . like  . . . little brown dogs running together across the road.

III

ANNOUNCER:

We here at WDIC, What Do I Care radio always like to hear opposing philosophical views, and welcome letters or audio mail from listeners. Tonight we have as our guest the eminent consolationist … whose name I have some dificulty pronouncing. Narr–

NARDELINI:

Nar-de-LEE-ni.

ANNOUNCER

And from what we understand, you feel apatheia is not a good thing.

NARDELINI

Of course it’s not a good thing! Widespread apathy leads to —

ANNOUNCER

— to a calm, accepting, equanimious state of mind, unruffled, unfluttered —

NARDELINI

— to people simply no longer caring what happens to other people! We should accept that? The retreat into apathy can be a reaction to long-lasting anxieties — how else to deal with a painful situation except by being defensively unattached? Yet this is misguided and may even, yes, be psychologically crippling in the end.

ANNOUNCER

Let’s take political races as an example.

NARDELINI

Why politics?

ANNOUNCER:

Why not? We can see in our future, here in these disunited States of America, a post-convention presidential election that could set records in unpleasant ways. You will probably say that the large percentage of nonvoting registered voters indicates the power of that evil thing you think apatheia is composed of…but…

 

[…]

 

 

 

 

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