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  • Paul Davidson

NPR’s <i>All Things Considered</i>

NPR is an interesting beast. All at once it’s corporate, independent, timely, a time-waster and a highly-intelligent machine that provides news, opinion and humor to all the country, and parts of the World.

I guess I can be currently considered a commentator for the NPR program All Things Considered as I recently had a piece air in November on the show called Whither the Jingle. It was my so-called commentary on how we no longer have cool jingles in society and in the media; that all those classic jingles (Connect Four, Slinky, Pepsi, et al) have been tossed aside instead, for licensed music.

Well, the key in cracking that first commentary piece on NPR is to continue pitching; to work yourself into a position where you’re a regular commentator. And that means, continual pitching in the hopes that something whets the appetite of your “contact”.

Something a lot of people don’t know about NPR is the fact that after they edit your piece with you and you go in and record it at a local NPR studio, it sits on the shelves until NPR deems it timely. That’s how NPR sounds so current, always. You record a piece about jingles, then they wait until something hits the news about commerce or advertising or whatever — then it magically airs on that date. Everyone listening thinks to themselves, “Wow, that is so perfect for what’s going on in the world today.”

It’s like magic.

What’s not like magic is actually finding a followup piece that NPR deems newsworthy, especially when you’re like me — a guy who can’t be serious about anything, let alone the news. But you gotta be true to your personality and angle on the World, so you gotta pitch things that you really think about and enjoy. And so, I give you my December 2003 List of Pitches for NPR’s All Things Considered That Most Likely Will Be Rejected Because They Don’t Involve Politics, Human Suffering or Eclectic Music of Some Kind. As always, working to shorten that for the t-shirts.

Friendster A comical look at the website, which has now become the IT-site on the internet, where people and 400,000 of their closest friends do nothing more than obsess over having 200,000 more friends than they did yesterday. At its heart, it says a lot about Americans, so obsessed with being liked and having friends, that obsession is only one of the results.

Making Your Parents Proud Why is it, that no matter how old you get or no matter how old THEY get, you still want to make your parents proud? While the answer seems obvious on the surface (they raised you, they nurtured you, you want to show them they did a good job) in fact it isn’t.

Extreme Makeovers The trend is finally a huge monster that no one can stop. From Queer Eye to the horrific and gruesome Extreme Makeover on ABC, the American public’s new idea of winning a lottery, is having a tube shoved into their stomach so their fat can be sucked out. It says less about people and more about how “the perfect image” as put out there by the media, has now driven people to the extreme. And everyone LOVES to watch it unfold.

How To Make Politics More Fun Let’s face it — voter turnout (and ratings on CSPAN) are lower than they’ve ever been (except for Arnie’s latest recall numbers). The reason? Politics just isn’t fun anymore. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Ten ways to make politics more fun, entertaining and the subject of water-cooler talk on a daily basis.

Breakfast Cereal It has replaced well-balanced meals for professionals with little time on their hands, to huge families with all the time in the world. Breakfast cereal is no longer for breakfast — it is the most common meal for the common man.

The United States Postal Service Isn’t it time we finally did away with the one remnant of our colonial past in favor of real, official electronic mail? Wasn’t Kevin Costner’s involvement in a movie about the origins of the US Postal Service enough to convince us it’s time has come and gone?

The Fact That I’m A Hypochondriac Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Dying From Modern Technology… A personal look into all the things around me, that could possibly be killing me. From cell phones to PDAs to those pesky little Segways, not to mention microwave ovens, mysterious fumes and household mold and my wireless internet connection. The danger signs are everywhere, and conveniently INVISIBLE.

People Who Don’t Listen It’s everywhere around us. People are no longer listening. Whether it’s the people who answer your “How you doing today?” question with “Not much” or someone on the other end of the phone — it’s obvious that everyone around us is no longer interested in anything, anyone has to say.

How convenient that as I was putting this whole list together, I actually received word from the Gods at NPR. So here’s the ultimate tip for all those NPR wannabe commentators. The above ideas are all…

Drum Roll Please

…half ideas.

Let me mull over that for a day or so.

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