Sunday, August 05, 2012

Corporations are people

My sense of irony is rusted out

I find the pratings of Dennis Prager to be particularly difficult to listen to. While he is not overtly obnoxious like some other right-wing talk-radio hosts (e.g., the ebulliently nasty Limbaugh), Prager exudes a smug pseudo-intellectualism that is quite irksome to those who are not under his spell. Immodestly taking all knowledge as his province, he soothingly offers his expertise on every topic. He labels different segments of his program as such things as the “Ultimate Issues Hour” or the “Male-Female Hour.” His acolytes lap it up with a spoon.

As a non-acolyte, I do not linger when he pops up on my radio. Recently, however, I listened long enough to catch a sample of his wisdom and ended up laughing instead of groaning. (It's difficult to do both at the same time, but it would be convenient if I  listened to Prager regularly.) He was apparently defending the Citizens United decision and arguing that statism was a greater danger than corporatism. He does not fear the prospect that corporations can now spend unlimited amounts of money to complete their takeover of our political system. Prager fears control by the state instead (even if the corporations own it?). He wrapped up a broadcast segment by declaring to his listeners, “I don't fear control by companies as much as I fear control by the state.”

Then the bumper music came on and provided a transition to the next batch of commercial messages. I began to chuckle. Then I began to laugh. The music? Ernie Ford was singing “Sixteen Tons”! Do you know it? It's a protest song that rails against corporate oppression! Did Prager choose this himself in a moment of callous irony? Despite Tennessee Ernie Ford's upbeat delivery of the catchy song, the lyrics carry an unvarnished message of hopeless bondage, referring back to the days when some companies paid their workers in script rather than money. The script could be redeemed only at company-owned stores and markets—where, of course, the company set all the prices. It created a system of debt bondage.
You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go:
I owe my soul to the company store!
If Prager did this deliberately, he was mocking workers everywhere. If he did it accidentally, then he's an idiot. I'm sure his corporate masters are pleased with him in either case.


Tualha said...

Perhaps it was the work of some subversive wit at the studio.

Zeno said...

Hmm. An interesting thought. You might be right!