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March 02, 2006



I'll bite. I agree with you that it's stupid and crass - but aren't radio deejays kind of known for being stupid and crass? Honestly, even though I'm no longer Catholic, I would have been equally disgusted - but I also would have immediately changed the radio station. Because that's our right - they can spout off as offensively as they want, but we can choose not to listen.


Well, I live in L.A., so yeah, I'm skewing liberal. (Although here I'm considered somewhat conservative.) And I'm not Christian, so there's that.

I agree that "Ass Wednesday" is rude, and the whole show sounds obnoxious and stupid, but it doesn't seem like something to get too up in arms about. I can see that it's totally offensive, but DJs being stupid on the radio... just change the dial, you know?

Wendy Shalit

I think the problem with saying "just change the dial" is that if you can't articulate--especially to others--what's wrong with something, then before you know it, there aren't so many non-crass choices available. TV, radio, it all seems to be "Ass Wednesday" these days.

I think Lily's right and it's important to discuss what's problematic here.


In my opinion, Verbify and Lizriz are just desensitized. The whole show lacks class--and Lily's comments are great. Thanks Lily, you're right on track with your remarks. Also, if someone slammed another religion in such a derogatory way, we'd have riots in other parts of the world. It's all about respecting the faith and decency of others. Clearly the radio announcer is ready and willing to bash a Holy day. I'd like him to try to do the same for other religions and see where he lands.


I wonder if the station's advertisers are aware of this. Lily, you can click on their weblinks on the station's site and send a message to them - or link them to this blog. They might not know about the DJ's comments - upsetting to them when someone complains. Since the advertisers pay the bills, they wield considerable influence. And before people start hollering about censorship - that's not censorship. That's capitalism.


I'm a liberal-skewing libertarian. What those DJs did is crass, disrespectful, and sexist to boot.

I had enough of commercial DJs and obnoxious morning shows a long time ago. I don't listen to commercial radio anymore....my preset stations are all public radio, college radio, or tiny independent stations.


I will absolutely acknowledge that I have been desensitized to most of what it put on the airwaves. However, I disagree that choosing not to listen is, essentially, handing the media to the crassest of society. If this were an issue about which I felt more than passing disgust, then yes, I would certainly follow Debbie's advice - contact the sponsors. That *is* capitalism. But so is turning it off and seeking alternative forms of news, entertainment, and music. Just as FoxNews has no obligation to avoid offending people, radio deejays have no obligation to hold true to the holy days. Moreover, I think that the comments like "man, if this were any other religion there'd be riots" are patently false and likely racist. When was the last time you saw a Buddhist or a Wiccan rioting? Considering this country's long history of belittling and criminalizing Judaism, following quaman's reasoning, we'd have a hundred-year history of Jewish rioting. And? Not so much.


What the radio station did is not surprising and the fact that women were calling in to talk about their behinds is even less surprising. The station was just showing how widespread the commodification of women has become and that many women take part in it. These same women shouldn't be surprised that there are men that only see them as an assortment of body parts and not a real person with real feelings.


Lily I think you're right to be disturbed. I don't think the answer is just to change the channel. I think the answer is to stand up for what you believe in and don't think it's not worth it THIS TIME, because when does it become worth it? Usually when it's too late.

I was also disturbed by a radio DJ putting down a Jewish holiday once, I couldn't call it "racism" because she was Jewish. I guess she thought it was funny to be ridiculing and belittling the most sanctified day of the Jewish calendar because it was her own religion. I didn't find it funny though.

Maybe I should have started rioting?


Being both a Catholic and a liberal, I find the comment offensive. Surprising, no. But then I don't need to be surprised to be offended. When we get only offended about things that shock us, we will continually have to lower our treshhold until we find everything acceptable. We have indeed two options: just change the station and hope everybody else does the same thing and the ratings will plummet, or protest in some form, wether this is by writing the station or contacting the sponsor.
We are at an odd moment, compared to the last few decades. More and more people are stepping back from the culture of 'everything should be allowed and only highstrung people take offense to anything', which is definitely a good thing. But at the same time that puts us at risk to being intolerant to anything that offends our own sensibilities. And yet... tolerance is not or should not be the new holy cow that some are making of it. The question is: what do we tolerate and pass off as 'just tasteless' but nothing to get fired up over, and what do we chose as a cause to try and do something about it or at least to signal our disaproval.

Erin P

I like Debbie's idea of contacting the radio station, Lily. I can imagine getting into the car after Mass on Ash Wednesday, turning that on, and feeling like I was punched in the gut. When we don't speak up that kind of religious intolerance multiplies. Will it be an annual event to mark the season of Lent? Do we want the next generation of DJs carrying on that crass tradition?


I agree about taking action when something offends you. We all have our own buttons and issues that are particularly important to us. This, obviously, isn't an example of something I find worth the effort. We all have limited time and resources and have to choose to respond to those things that are most important to us.

I would also say that I am not desensitized. I find the description of this show offensive, and I would indeed change the station. It's just that stupid radio DJs are not something I care about all that much personally.

Further, it is my primary choice to concentrate more on creating positive examples, rather than paying attention or going after the things I find negative. I don't think that the existence of this particular radio show means at all that eventually all other radio choices will be gone. You just have to create the market, create the product that you want.

For example, this very site. By sharing your voices, and accepting discussion (thank you!), you strengthen your market and your message in a positive way.

As opposed to that ridiculous discourse on that other site that I read that was all picking on this site and the cow shirts. Criticism is frequently so ineffective and only brings attention to that which you are opposing.

Not to say we shouldn't talk about these things, because of course discourse is also important and has its place. But just to say that we live in a country of free speech, so, yes, exercise yours and complain to the station, but then move on, and spend your wonderful energy on creating things the support your message in a positive, creative way.

Wendy Shalit

Lizriz, you have made a very valid point.

Thanks for explaining your position and also for your support!

The other sites wouldn't be picking on us if they didn't feel threatened, so I see it as a positive sign.


I think it's obvious to all of us that this comment is offensive. Anyone who is sensitive to the body would be disturbed by the DJ's remark. Lily-- I too identify as a liberal, and I certainly would have felt marred by that statement. And I am not even Christian. So you are not alone. You have many empathizers across the spectrum from liberal to conservative, from religious to non-religious, from Christian to Jewish, who would have felt surprised and saddened by such a stupid comment. I say "stupid" because I believe that there is a clever way to joke about the body and religion in a smart but wholesome way or at least in a way that reflects some sense of awe for divinity and our physical selves. "Stupid" is the best word to describe that DJ's comment!


I just wanted to add that the "Ass Wednesday" comments and nature of the program that the original poster described is simply so indicative of things that are going on in society today. It's a very lame and stupid joke, right on a par with junior high school. It's labored. It's one tiny step above potty jokes - yet it now is accepted in the media and by a lot of the general public.

I encounter similar things in young women, who think it's cute to refer to Starbucks as "Starf**ks" - EVERY time they mention it. Once might have been sort of funny in a prurient way, but again and again? It gets old. When a four year old keeps referring to poo-poo and giggling, someone eventually does something to distract him and let him know that this isn't appropriate, but it seems that society is becoming more and more full of people who, it seems, were never given the hint that this kind of humor is very, very short-lived.

I think I would contact the station in addition to turning off the program, and let the station manager (don't bother with the DJ) know why I will not be listening to the program any longer. It may be just a drop in the bucket, but for all you know, other people have called in and complained about the program as well, and your drop might be the one that makes the bucket overflow. Radio stations survive by the advertising that goes on during their programming, and if they get the message that enough people are being repelled by their DJ's remarks, they'll do something. They can't know unless people speak up.

Meghan Grizzle

Not sure if anyone has had a similar experience, but every Ash Wednesday I've been through at Harvard, multiple people have either asked me what's on my head or told me I have something on my face, as if it was dirt or something. Growing up in Episcopalian and Catholic schools (even though I'm a non-denominational evangelical), I never encountered people who didn't know what Lent and its various holy days are. So stepping onto campus at Harvard and discovering that there were people here who didn't know a thing about Christianity was a shock. I'd also never really interacted much with Muslims and Jews either, so I'm learning a lot myself!

I can't imagine, though, if this DJ had made fun of one of another religion's holy days. He would have been called out and, who knows, maybe even slapped with a lawsuit! I think people feel like they can take potshots at Christianity because it is a majority religion in the US. I could go on and on about this, but I'll spare you at the moment. Just wanted to give you something to think about . . .


I just wanted to agree with Meghan and Quaman that if a different religion had been insulted in such a manner, there would have been much more of an ourburst. Verbify, I have to disagree with you. There have been insults to other religions (I include atheism and humanism in the category of "religions") and when those insults happen, there is almost always more of an uproar. Not necessarily a violent uproar, but the group insulted definatly makes sure that their disapproval is known. If you want an example of a violent reaction to insult, try the Islamic reaction to cartoons. By the way, I would like to make clear that I know that not all Muslims reacted violently but the violent reaction was still present. (And personally I would like to know what it was all about. Since no one will publish the cartoons, I cannot have a basis for judging whenther the reaction is justified).

D K Jones

They do not believe in creating images of Muhammad...so the very nature of cartoons(images)is the outrage...Maybe we need to be more outraged(although not violent) when our faith is disparaged - by media, the press, government sponsored "art"...


Just to qualify my remarks. I did not state that there would be no uproar if the situation had been geared toward another religion. I was taking particular umbrage to the claim that, were the target any other religion, there would be *rioting*. I have found that this statement is a thinly veiled reference to the Danish cartoon incident, and that is why I noted a racist theme - the statement itself smacks of a (white?) Christian superiority.


I'm not a fan of the liberal/conservative map in the U.S., but since I have Marxist and pluralist sympathies, I guess you'd describe me as a leftist. Anyway, the DJ is being a jerk. ("Jerk" is not really the first word that comes to mind, but since I'm in the company of ladies, I guess I should tone my language down.) And mainstream radio in the U.S. is mostly commercialized trash. I don't really think there's much to be done about it except for not listening.


Someone is taking himself waaay too seriously.


I'd lighten up or you'll turn into a humorless old Catholic spinster like my aunt C who died alone and miserable because she was unbearable to be with.

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