Polite hosts who patiently listen to a lot of crap, insane theories, calls they have to know are goaded by rightwing talking pointers is their mainstay...not levity.
The hosts also appear to placidly listen to heaps of criticism that C-Span is unfair and unbalanced to the point of tipping over either to the right or left. That in itself means they MUST be fair and balanced...but not funny.
The exception to this joke-free zone was the Father's Day edition of the Washington Journal's call-in segment. As any C-SPAN junkie knows, every Journal opens with the host de jour reading a few headlines, and then he poses a question drawn from one of them and opens the phones for viewer comments.
This particular Sunday there were several stories in major papers about our losing the war in Iraq and the inevitable Bill Krystol opining on how we're winning; how we must stay the course; how devastating it will be for us to "lose"; and every other rightie talking point he could come up with.
As usual the calls were mixed. Some said we won the day Saddam was captured, while others said we won the war, but lost the peace. And, of course, there were the mantra mongers who maintain that if we lose they'll follow us here, and callers who said that losing in Iraq will be a national stain that no amount of Clorox will wash away.
But the winning callers were...TaDa!...the ones who were offended, nay irate, that C-SPAN had the colossal nerve and insensitivity to pose such a question on this, the most hallowed of days: Father's Day.
Next to reading Steve Young's Sunday op-ed column, "All the News that's Fit to Spoof" in the Los Angeles Daily News, these callers were the yuk of the day.
With deadly seriousness [one woman was choked up almost to the point of tears] they bitched and bemoaned C-SPAN's posing the question on Father's Day. What a hoot.
Of course, none of the complainers had an answer for the host when he repeatedly pointed out that the major papers were discussing the issue on Father's Day, so why shouldn't C-SPAN?
It must be very painful to have been born minus the irony gene.
It couldn't have been more fitting than to ask a question about a "fake" war on a "fake" holiday.
It's not like Father's Day is rooted in some deeply held religious belief, even if the Ten Commandments says Honor Thy Father and Mother. The Commandment wasn't meant for one day a year; it was meant for every day of the year, and a day for dads was never celebrated as a holiday in any religion I know of.
No, Father's Day was concocted to get even with that other fake holiday: Mother's Day. Yes, in the beginning, Mother's Day was a sincere invention by Ana Jarvis to honor her mother, and was made a national holiday in 1914 by Woodrow Wilson.
A nice idea that instantly morphed into a retailer's blessing to boost sales during the slowest selling season of the year. If anything, Mother's and Father's Day should be called Retailers' Day, or Sell 'Em Crap They Don't Need or Want Day, or Got Ya To Part With Your Money Again Day.
Most appropriately, maybe we should call it Ma Bell Day, because errant, guilt-ridden children -- mostly males -- pop for lomg distance calls to dear old mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day when they haven't called for months...not even on her birthday.