Thursday, January 8, 2009


Billy Ray Barnwell here, I’m convinced it’s not what you don’t know that can hurt you, it’s what you do know that isn’t true, I mean some people are absolutely sure of things that couldn’t be more wrong, for example those people who persecuted Galileo or Copernicus or whoever it was for saying that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe or solar system or something, sometimes it is just a slip of the tongue like when I heard a reporter on CNN say after Pope John Paul II died that he was the first non-Catholic Pope in four hundred and fifty years, I knew she meant non-Italian and not non-Catholic, that would be downright silly, so I have no animosity toward her whatsoever, she just opened her mouth before her brain was engaged, but other times it is not a slip of the tongue at all, for example I was in my car listening to the famous radio talk-show host Sean Hannity the other day, I suppose calling a radio program a talk-show is redundant, unless there’s music it would have to be a talk show if it’s on the radio, otherwise all you would have would be a lot of dead air with nothing in it and nobody is going to listen to that for very long with the possible exception of the 100 members of the U.S. Senate and the 435 members of the House of Representatives plus a woman named Eleanor Holmes Norton who represents Washington D.C. but is not allowed to vote, anyways back to Sean Hannity, he is the guy that another nationally syndicated radio talk-show host named Neal Boortz refers to sometimes as Cutie Pie and sometimes as Baby Jesus depending on his mood, Neal Boortz’s mood I mean, not Sean Hannity’s, which by the way the name Sean does not rhyme with lean, mean, green machine, it rhymes with on the lawn at dawn I saw a fawn, don’t ask me why because I do not know, but I do know that it is one of the many forms of the name John that exist throughout the world, like Juan in Spain and Jean in France and Jan in Holland and Ivan in Russia and Ian in Scotland and Evan in Wales and Johann in Germany and Iohannes in Greece and Giovanni I think it is in Italy to name a few, Sean is the Irish form in case you were wondering, but getting back to what I was saying, Sean, who was talking to some guy who had called in from Memphis Tennessee, said casually, just making conversation I guess, “Memphis is the birthplace of Elvis Presley, right?” and the other guy said, “Yes,” and they went on talking like nothing had happened, well a cataclysm had occurred in my brain, it was like rockets going off, I was so shocked, frustrated, and exasperated all at the same time that I almost drove my car off the road, every true Elvis fan who ever lived knows good and well that Elvis was born in Tupelo Mississippi, not Memphis Tennessee, so not only did this famous radio personality send out misinformation over the airwaves to several million listeners, his erroneous statement was corroborated by this know-nothing who called in, Mama used to say “one lies and another swears by it,” well to be a tad more charitable Elvis’s career did pretty much start in Memphis at a little place called Sun Records and he also died in Memphis at another little place called Graceland, maybe both of them were just confused, Sean and the caller I mean, not Sun Records and Graceland, it blows my mind to realize Mr. Sean Hannity may be wrong about something but Elvis most definitely was not born in Memphis and Mr. Hannity has gone down several notches in my estimation, I mean if he can’t even get a little thing like that right what else might he be telling us that is incorrect, it really makes you stop and think, if the truth sets you free what does falsehood do, maybe he just ought to hang up his microphone or take it off or lay it down or whatever it is one does with a microphone, I guess it depends on the type of microphone, and find another line of work, okay I won’t make him go to that extreme, but you really have to be alert and stay on your toes and not just let everything that comes over the radio or the TV take up residence between your ears, I mean you can’t help hearing things but you need to decide when to let them pass on through and when they’re worth believing, my Dad used to say “use your head for something besides keeping your ears apart” and although I didn’t like to hear him say it and he spent his life in a factory making wings for jet airplanes and never had a nationally syndicated radio program, there was a man who could make real sense sometimes, and this is Billy Ray Barnwell signing off.

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