joreth: (Bad Computer!)


I don't usually listen to regular radio, and when I do, I only listen to the music and I channel surf during radio talk.  The only regular exceptions are traffic reports since I only listen to the radio in the car.  But today, as I was channel surfing, I just happened to hit a station right as a DJ said "don't tell anyone you're a polydactylidite or whatever" and that caught my attention.  So I listened and, sure enough, it was a female polyamorous caller getting rudely insulted by a couple of morning DJs.

I was almost at work and they went to commercial and did not return before I had to get out of my car.  So I went to the website and found a recording of the show this morning.  I was appalled.  Please, everyone, we need to inundate this radio station and these DJs with respectful, intelligent letters telling these assholes that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.  Differences of opinions are, and differences in personal choices are, but there is no reason or right to just flat out being an asshole.

Basically, one of these guys, I don't know which one, fancy's himself a "life coach", suitable to give advice on how to live life, or so he says in a segment right before this one.  A woman called in, I think, to ask how to handle people who treat her rudely when they find out about her polyamory.  I'm not entirely sure this was the question because she kept getting interrupted to be called names like whore.

She is married and has 3 kids by her husband.  She has a live-in boyfriend and is pregnant by him.  As far as I could tell, the situation is happy as she mentioned her two partners are friends.  She started out saying that she was polyamorous, and when the DJs stumbled over the term and asked her, she explained that she was married and had a boyfriend.  They responded:

"Oh, so you're a whore"

She giggled and tried to explain in between their insults the situation she found herself in.  I have to admit that she was a much better sport than I would have been.  Here are a selection of quotes from the show:

"You have no respect for either one of these guys"

"the more you talk, the goofier you look"

"the best thing you can do is shut your mouth about it and don't tell anyone you're a polyactyldite.  If you don't want reactions, shut your face"

"quit trying to sound intelligent, it's not working for you"

"you cocky stupid dumb bitch who thinks she's really cool but really isn't"

"you're stupid, basically.  You're starved for attention, that's all you want is attention, you wanna act like you're something different and you're not.  You're like every other lost chick who thinks she's sexy and you're not.  I bet you're pale white, you're fat, you're disgusting"

She claimed that she didn't care that people gave her wierd looks, but she only wished they gave her the same amount of respect as a fellow human that she gave to them in spite of their differences.  The DJ asked why.  She stuttered a bit, clearly not expecting that anyone would disagree, that anyone would think it is acceptable to give differing levels of respect to different people.  She countered by asking if the DJs approved of poor treatment of homosexuals or lesbians for their lifestyle choices.  They responded:
"don't compare yourself to a homosexual or lesbian" and "you weren't born this way, you didn't make this choice at birth, you made that conscious decision"

I very sorely wanted to call in to explain that, much like straight men, poly people can be "born" that way and later "choose" to engage in relationships according to their nature, just as gay men are born gay but choose to engage in gay relationships, and straight men are born straight but choose to engage in straight relationships.  Just as straight men can be born with a healthy, normal libido but still choose to be celibate.  We all choose our actions, but we do not necessarily choose our inclinations.  Anyway, I'm probably preaching to the choir here. I didn't have their number, so I couldn't call.  Next up, he tried to get her to prove his stereotype by asking her a bunch of offensive quesions (not offensive because I think that kind of person is offensive, but offensive because 1) they're assumptions and 2) there's a second assumption that these traits are bad).  However, she answered no to each one:


"Please tell me you weigh more than 180 lbs"
"Please tell me somewhere in your house you have a doorway with beads you have to walk through
"Please tell me you have more than 5 tattoos somewhere"
"Please tell me you have something wierd pierced"

He finally stopped insulting her and just told her that it was all her fault, if she just stopped telling people she was poly, then people would stop insulting her.  She made the mistake (IMO) of saying that it was habit for her because she's very involved in community awareness.  So he ended the conversation with a last parting shot:

"See, I was right, you like the attention, otherwise known now as 'community awareness'"


The website with a link to the audio recording is http://wjrr.com/pages/lexandterry.html and this particular exchange takes place approximately 41 minutes into the show - but I think this might change every day, as I didn't see an archive link or any way to choose which show to listen to.  You can email them directly at theshow@lexandterry.com or you can call them at 866-977-Do Us (3687).  I strongly recommend copying the program director in on your correspondece, at programdirector@realrock1011.com and please post this warning and your own exchanges on any and all personal blogs, websites, etc. to spread the word.  All names and other means of contact can be found on the station's contactus page at http://wjrr.com/pages/contact.html


*EDIT*
I'm posting my half of an IM exchange with someone who chatted with me a bit about this issue and what they're writing because I talked a little bit about some other things they said in other portions of the show and some of my opinions about that.  I'll be posting my email to them later when I've written the final draft:

J0RETH: it's just so frustrating, I mean, not everyone has to become poly, and not everyone even has to believe it's the best choice
J0RETH: but everyone in a so-called "free society" needs to allow everyone else to make their own choices free of condemnation or fear
J0RETH: I don't yell at monogamous people for "flaunting" their monogamous choices when they talk about their wives on the radio show
J0RETH: they're very mysogynistic - earlier in the show they basically told a guy he deserved the shitty treatment he got from his ex because she was a stripper and you can't expect any better bheaviour from a stripper
J0RETH: at one point, the DJ yelled at the woman for giving him as a stranger TMI by talking about her husband and bf
J0RETH: note, she did not give sexual details, she merely identified the type of relationship she had with them
J0RETH: yet, he's mentioned several times later in the show his wife and kids
J0RETH: I didn't want to know about his sex life, but I know he's straight and monogamous because he mentioned a wife

If anyone else wants to post their emails or a link to their own journals/websites about this here in the comments, they'd be welcome!

Date: 2/26/09 07:23 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] terriaminute.livejournal.com
I have composed an email. It's sitting while I walk away. There will be at least one re-write.

Thanks for posting this. There's a reason all my family and friends avoid these clowns like the plague. We have working brains. We don't want to take damage listening to morons.

Date: 2/26/09 08:33 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] terriaminute.livejournal.com
Okay, so here's a thought.

Suppose the woman was an actress. That would explain not only why she remained calm, but why she called these clowns in the first place. It's no less irritating and damaging. In fact that might make it worse.

Date: 2/26/09 08:39 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] phyrra.livejournal.com
Yep, that's why I sent an email calling them misogynists and mentioning their advertisers, because that should get attention.

Date: 2/26/09 09:41 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] aclaro.livejournal.com
Hey, I just want to clarify that this show aired today.. It's not useful to complain if they don't know what show I'm talking about :)

Date: 2/26/09 10:28 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] summer-jackel.livejournal.com
Brief, calm, offended email drafted and sent. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Thanks for the heads-up.

Date: 2/26/09 11:53 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] may-dryad.livejournal.com
Wow. This is why I get annoyed when people act like the patriarchy is something that paranoid feminists made up. I mean, in what other kind of society could entertainers make their living by being misogynist assholes?

Date: 2/27/09 11:20 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rosephase.livejournal.com
My thoughts on this: Freedom of speech, people have a right to be stupid.

http://rosephase.blogspot.com/2009/02/good-things.html#comments

Date: 2/28/09 09:37 pm (UTC)From: (Anonymous)
If this is what they really think and believe, I don’t see any reason to ask them to stop saying it. At least when it’s out in the open we can deal with it, it is when you put so much “pressure” on people that they don’t feel like they can say what they want they start to stop saying out loud and then we don’t know what we are dealing with.

I agree they are a representation of a sickness in our society. But the answer to that sickness is getting people not to talk about it, getting people to cover it up so it can fester under the surface. You don’t really just want to change what they say, you want to change how they feel that makes them say these things, and censorship and threats are not the way to do it.

I don’t know if there is a way to do it with people like that, and by all means do what you feel like you should. But we are not a big enough out group to really threaten anything. So you are yelling into the wind.

How we change the world is in what we say and do. Not what we get other people not to say and do.

Date: 3/1/09 02:05 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] rosephase.livejournal.com
What I’m trying to say is ethically I can’t ask someone to silence themselves just because what they are saying is not to my liking or offensive to me.

People say things I don’t agree with, things that hurt my feelings, things that offend my since of humanity, and using what ever power I might have, of organization, of community, of whatever, I could go about getting them to stop saying these things. But that it doesn’t change anything, except now you are trying to limit there speech.

You can’t get rid of hate, of discrimination, of anything by infringing on rights. All you get is a legitimate excuse to take away someone’s freedom of speech and as someone who practices a lifestyle that many consider morally wrong I would think you would be very careful about saying that it is okay to limit speech of any kind.

Date: 3/2/09 08:20 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] petite-lambda.livejournal.com
I do think that, out of all the obnoxious things these guys said, they had one valid point: polyamory is a choice. Saying shit about poly people is not at all the same as saying shit about blacks or gays.

That doesn't mean to say these guys are not assholes -- I just think that a better analogy is in order. I think I have it: religion. What if a woman called their studio and asked them why she has so many problems with people reacting negatively to her being a Wiccan, and they started to say things like "Because Wiccans are unbelievable idiots" and "You're just seeking attention" and "You think you're so spiritual, but you're the complete opposite of it" and "Better just shut up about it" etc.?
Would that be OK? No -- for the same reasons you cited. Using the right of free speech to behave like an asshole will get us using our right of free speech to call them on it...

Date: 3/2/09 03:52 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] petite-lambda.livejournal.com
I'm not sure you're right. Even before reading "The Myth of Monogamy" I strongly suspected that people in general are not wired for monogamy (evidence such as admitted cheating percentage comes to mind; not to mention other things…) But that book put the last nail in the coffin, for me. People, in general, are not biologically predisposed for monogamy – and neither are almost all other animals, in fact. You don't differ from the majority of people in the world by the fact that you're able to be attracted to more than one person – you differ from them by the fact that you refuse to see it as a problem. And that seemed to be exactly the issue in that radio conversation…

I was born poly, I have no choice, I am not happy in non-poly relationships.

Also: I'm not sure that this is the "line of defense" that we want to use. When someone is attacking poly people, do we really want to go "Sorry, we can't help it, we were born this way?" It just seems beside the point… What if, say, tomorrow someone invents a pill that could permanently change a person's skin color into white. Would that render attacks against black people OK? Because now they would have a choice?
It's just beside the point. The real point is not "We can't help it", but rather "We see nothing wrong with it".

Suppose you could change the fact that you're poly. Suppose there was some "treatment" that would suppress your ability to form romantic connections with other people, once you had a partner. Would you choose to take this treatment?

Date: 3/3/09 08:26 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] petite-lambda.livejournal.com
It might be that poly is like being hetero in the sense that it's the majority, but some are mono like some are gay. But the point still stands that it's not a choice.

No, I think that it changes the situation. If both that poly woman and the asshole DJ are biologically wired the same way (which is most probably true), then their argument becomes exactly about choice. It's like an argument between two gay people: one, a Catholic man who chooses to suppress his desires, marries a woman, and seeks happiness in other sides of life; and another who's happily out, living with a boyfriend. If they're both wired the same, then it's all about choice.

But my more important point was that whether poly is a choice or not, it better be defended as a choice – because the line of defense that starts with "but I can't help it!" tacitly accepts the very wrong assumption that poly is something that needs "help", that it is an undesirable condition, a problem. And then the debate would stir into this whole wrong direction of how could poly be "treated", and such. We don't want that!

Greta Christina, by the way, wrote exactly the same thing here (http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2008/06/loading-the-dice-bisexuality-and-choice.html) about gay rights debates:
The important question in the gay rights debates is not whether being queer is a choice, but whether there’s any reason whatsoever to think that being queer is harmful… Whether it’s a choice or not is irrelevant.

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