Imagine a world devoid of political memory.
A world where the soul is sponsored by a corporation as a matter of pride.
A world where upturned collar sports bar machismo meets low level roid abuse narcissism to generate A-grade shallow arsehole syndrome.
You have found The Edge.
Commercial radio is a cultural wasteland of banal mediocrity. In The Hollow Men, the spin Drs boast about how right wing commercial radio is and nothing could be truer. In the radio space where ratings dominate, the easiest to measure most base personality traits are reverberated before and after every song to constantly press buttons to stay relevant.
Using an archaic diary system for ratings, the competition between effectively two duopolies is fierce with radio making vast profits due to the low advertising creation costs. The stations breed unthinking consumerism that has no ideological compass.
Key loves going onto the Edge and often does because the commercial radio listening youth vote have a stunted sense of political history or intellectual instincts due to a culture of excessive consumerism.
Part of Key’s success is that he has depoliticized the role of Prime Minister. He is relaxed about everything, he’s a 30 second youtube clip, a breakfast radio fart noise. It’s hard to debate 25% of children in poverty when the Prime Minister is juggling fish.
This depoliticized haze is commercial radio.
In such isolated spheres as radio land, this type of culture can pass by unnoticed. Educated people don’t listen to The Edge, it’s not something they would consciously seek out, so the thoughts and views of morning Breakfast DJ, Dom Harvey would never be heard by them.
Twitter has changed all of that.
Suddenly the grunting virility of rape jokes was in front of an audience far wider and broader and more intelligently vocal than anything he had faced on the airwaves and bombards him with a ferocity that blows away the macho pretense and exposes an immature self centered egomaniac, which shouldn’t in any way surprise anyone, because that’s commercial radio at it’s high point.
His sneering, ultra defensive comments on his twitter feed is the type of self denial affordable only to heartbroken teenagers.
What is truly depressing however is Dom’s popularity. He has 23 849 twitter followers. His beige ignorance is followed and accepted by a large chunk of young NZers.
One of the great failures of Labour was Helen Clarke’s reluctance to really invest in public broadcasting with an eye to a youth radio station. If all your influential media are profit driven commercial entities, the culture it shapes is just as vapid and insincere.
The Edge is the perfect manifestation of this.
Seeing as I have mentioned Aaron Gilmore in the title, it would only be fair to note how his Utu speech was about as vengeful as a Teddy Bear.
Gilmore has been a very useful distraction, and the involvement of Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater playing him off makes the whole episode smell.
I wish the NZ news media were as focused on the GCSB being able to spy on every NZer as seriously as they took Aaron Gilmore’s text messages.