Thursday, March 05, 2015

Membership Does NOT Have Its Privileges

Sometimes it is NOT a good thing to be a member of an organization.  Particularly if an organization that you love has a contigent that wants to limit membership instead of expanding it.

Been thinking about that a lot in terms of the Church.  I love the church, but her members get on my nerves sometimes.  What with their bigotry and sexism and classism and just ickyness.  Worried about stuff other than serving and loving and learning and forgiving.  UGH. 

Also been thinking about that in terms of Public Radio.  I love NPR.  I'm a public radio fan and supporter.  I was a financial supporter of my beloved WFYI in Indianapolis and now am a monthly supporter of my new local station, WAMU of DC as well as the magical WBGO of Newark.   To me there is nothing fancy or exclusive about public radio.  It's free, it's accessible and on any given day you can hear stories about everything from the Wu Tang Clan to ways in which people utilize bitcoins around the globe.

Some months ago I participated in a focus group of NPR users.  We were asked our opinions on their story selections, presenters and the insertion of advertising and sponsorship.  Most of the people were like me consumers of public radio, appreciative of its' programming but we didn't necessarily feel our consumption of it said anything special about ourselves.  But, there were a couple of people who continued to speak in language that affirmed their view that as consumers of public radio we were more or better or something than the general public.

This being the DMV, there are always douche bags in any situation like that.  People here are accomplished (although I don't necessarily think they are more accomplished than folk any place else I've lived, but you can't tell them that) and work in all kind of cool fields and professions.  It's the nature of the beast, I guess.  A couple of these people were insistent that because we chose to listen to NPR we were exclusive, chosen, the shit.  Me and a couple of the twenty somethings in the group kept challenging them.  At one point, I even said, it's just radio.  Sometimes I listen to All Things Considered when I'm washing dishes, sometimes I listen to Mary J. Blige - I'm still me in both the listenings.  Miss me, with your exclusion, your membership.  Instead of keeping this great secret to yourself and disparging people who choose not to listen or don't know to listen - how about sharing it?  That way more people can be exclusive, the chosen, the shit, right?

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