about me     |      about macondo     |      contact     |   

good morning, macondo

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

some mornings i listen to the local radio station here, sometimes with the intention to feel a part of my new town, sometimes for the same kind of maddening enjoyment i would get from watching reality shows if i had a tv. the radio is - as some of my friends with experience in small towns have assured me is always the case - an incredibly important part of life here. that, and sometimes they give away up to 35 pesos (about US$9) in cell phone credit!!
(this isn't a post about community radio. i am all for local and community radio, and the battle they are waging for legal reform, which is at a crucial stage right now as a new law goes before the senate on friday. the past few weeks here have laid bare just how powerful (and desperate) corporate media interests are. local media are super important for democracy, for struggle, for education... but this is just a silly post about the ridiculously silly radio station i get to listen to here in the mornings if i feel so inclined.)**
the radio station here is actually just one guy who starts broadcasting usually around 9am or so and ends for lunch time - sometimes noon, sometimes 1pm, sometimes later, when he says 'okay, i think that's all for now, oh wait, one more message, okay, now i'm really going, see you tomorrow, don't forget that...' and on and on for a little while longer). his program consists of:
  • important announcements (local sale on winter clothes, scheduled power outage, etc., ladies' night at the bar),
  • reading messages (happy birthday mariano, congratulations carolina, the mayor isn't fumigating enough),
  • music, sometimes accompanied by him singing along,
  • reading websites (ok, let's see, i'm opening the window, click, it's loading, let's see what it says, here we go, wow, she's pretty but i don't recognize her, let's see if there's anyone i know, how about this one, in the green shirt, click),
  • daily tirades, until recently almost entirely devoted to accusing the director of the local hospital of corruption, negligence, idiocy and manslaughter. now that the elections are over and his side won, his rants have shifted - today was all about the imminent visit of one of latin america's masters of cheesiness and bad lyrics, arjona, and speculation about whether his security entourage will include helicopters. apparently after his big show in the city, he will be enjoying some r&r in our little town. (f. and i can't seem to escape arjona, his tours seem planned around our travels and migrations.)
it turns out that the content that isn't (quite amusing) fluff is basically all motivated by local political rivalries and who has either crossed the radio man or paid him to be on their side. not unlike the rest of mainstream politics around here.

one of the first times i turned on the radio here was in the middle of the dengue outbreak last spring. it coincided with elections, which meant that the politicians decided to Do Something. instead of doing many of the very useful things they could have done, they fumigated. people see the fumigation trucks, they see the smoke billow, they smell the fumes, they're satisfied that Something Is Being Done.

so while i was preparing lunch for my then 6-month-old monkey and for the monster when he got home from preschool, i heard the radio man report, block by block, where the fumigation trucks were. listeners would call in to report when they saw the trucks, so we could all be sure that Something Was Actually Being Done. and then i realized: food, eating, small baby, toxic fumes being purposefully pumped into our air... so i scooped up the monkey, took advantage of the miracle that there was a bus heading to the city right then, and took my first solo trip into the city on public transit to meet f. and the monster for lunch. we then came home and diligently wiped all of our surfaces clean.

lesson learned: listen to the radio!
** wow, trying to find english-language links about the super-important media reform process here was like what i imagine being force-fed Fox News or something must be like. almost all crap like this.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails