Time Flying, Apology, and Preemptive Explanation
My hour in the the spotlight of Matt Allen’s Violent Roundtable tonight was one of the most fun that I’ve spent in awhile, although I suppose one can only hope that listeners were that engaged. (Streaming audio available here). Really, conversation from commercial break to commercial break felt not unlike a seaplane touching down on the water for a few moments at a time. As the one non-radio guy there, however, I fear that I should take some responsibility in the face of complaints that this edition wasn’t sufficiently “violent.”
In keeping with my mitigated personality, I’d like to offer a preemptive explanation of something that I said: While discussing gambling in Rhode Island, I joked that the government ought to begin supplementing decreases in the public assistance that people receive with lottery tickets. (Hey, match it dollar for dollar!) Before RI Futurites get out their fire-dance costumes and add this clump of hair to the effigy of my evil opinions, I’d like to clarify that I wasn’t promoting a system of giving people in precarious situations an unsecured rope to grab. To the contrary, my intention was to lampoon the practice of using gambling revenue to support the government. Statistically, it’s a very regressive form of taxation, and further soaking the poor and working class into further debt with the dubious promise of unlikely riches is tantamount to giving them a turn at the roulette wheel in exchange for money or public investments that might actually improve their lives.
But I could go on. Such roundtables are like rapid-fire brainstorming sessions for more contemplative writing, and the breadth of the topics are evidenced by the conversation that continues during the commercial breaks. For example:
- How the storyline will go if Obama wins the nomination but loses the election. My thought was that there’s plenty of time for the American people to forget the primaries and for Democrats to construct the much more comfortable storyline that it was the angry old white man who kept Barack down — not the storied woman. Matt, I believe, took the position that the next few years will see Hillary building on that impulse with a ready-made retrospective “if only” of her candidacy. Jason Martins seemed to believe that Hillary’s done after this.
- I got looks from the other panelists when I responded to a caller’s question about Israel taking out Iranian nukes by suggesting that the Jewish nation would swing in with a last-ditch strike, that the world would be outraged for a day, but then everybody would go back to business as usual, knowing deep down that Israel had done not only what it needed to do to survive, but the right thing. Everybody else thought the radical Muslims wouldn’t possibly tolerate Israeli military strikes inside Iran. My response was that these regimes are centrally concerned with maintaining their own fragile rule and realize that they cannot win an all-stakes battle with the United States and Israel. I’d add, now, that there isn’t much amperage that they can add to their anti-Israel hate rhetoric.
- Although we didn’t get into it, the whole concept of the state’s profiting from gambling is excellent fodder for some ruminations about church and state — to wit, that the state is committing us, via our representatives, to be in the position of profiting from others’ misfortunes to so direct a degree that we’re expanding the hours during which those people can lose their hard-earned money with the explicit intention of raising more to support our detrimentally large government. A theist might be tempted to suggest that thus do we pull ourselves further into darkness.
- I was going to say that the comic book conversation should have come first, as a warm up, but then again, it did: before we were even on the air, we were discussing the likely plot setting of a forthcoming Captain America movie. I swore I’d read somewhere that rumors are of a Captain America who’s part of a U.N. mission of some sort (which was the missing context behind Jason’s on-air comment about Captain United Nations), but I can’t find the article that gave me that impression.
The audio quality of the above-linked stream has been increased to a more comfortable level.