Mara Liasson naked, bound, gagged and in the hands of a slaver. National Public Radio has fallen on hard times, indeed! Those Republicans can be so cruel!
It's beg week on NPR (National Public Radio) and as usual that means that the local NPR affiliate is pretty much useless unless you enjoy being relentlessly guilt-tripped. However I did happen to tune in yesterday and I discovered that Ira Glass, normally one of the most annoying of the guilt-trippers, has actually come up with a pretty good shtick.
Glass calls people who have pledged to NPR in the past and tries to persuade them that they should personally pledge enough money to cover the funds needed to cover the pledge drive's goal.
This is generally a ridiculously high pledge, like $46 million. Then he lets them bargain him down to actual pledge amounts, like 27 cents, a stick of chewing gum and some pocket lint, to show that it's important to pledge so a few people don't have to carry everybody else.
It made me wonder what might happen if Ira Glass were to try that on me. It might go something like this ...
IRA: Hello, this is Ira Glass of National Public Radio. Am I speaking to Pat Powers?
ME: Ira Glass? Really? I guess you're ready to do that Firsts in Bondage History thing I proposed for NPR a while back. Huzzah!
IRA: What? Firsts in Bondage History? I'm not ...
ME: Yeah, you know, a special program for NPR on the first appearances of bondage imagery in mainstream movies and TV shows -- ballgags, bitgags, hogties, shibari bondage -- all the things you never see in STANDARD television histories. Of course, there are a few technical issues to deal with, radio being such a relentlessly not visual medium, but I'm sure we can work things out.
IRA: Mr. Powers ...
ME: Of course, it's been quite a while since I sent in that story proposal. I guess it got misfiled, eh?
IRA: Well the truth is, I'm not ... I don't have anything with evaluating new programming for NPR. I'm calling you about an entirely different matter.
ME (disappointed): Oh. I see. Still misfiled, I guess. Well, why are you calling then?
IRA: I'm calling, Mr. Powers to give you a great opportunity. The opportunity to pledge enough money to end our spring fund drive!
ME: I have to tell you, Ira, when people call me on the phone offering great opportunities, my first instinct is to hide my wallet and change the password on my bank account. How much money do you want me to pledge?
IRA: Just 46 million dollars should do it!
ME: 46 million? Damn, that's got to have one HELL of a premium attached to it. I mean, a monogrammed drink cozy just won't cut it for that much.
IRA: It would be a wonderful premium, certainly!
ME: All righty then, how about this: I pledge $46 million, I get Mara Liasson as my personal slave.
IRA: What? I can't, I don't ...
ME: C'mon, Ira, we're talking 46 million big ones here! Doesn't the prospect of getting a $46 million pledge get that can-do spirit going in you?
IRA: (suddenly realizing that auctioning off people as "slaves" is an old fund raising technique in charities and schools and so forth, and thinking this is probably what is being referred to): Well, for how long would you want her? A day? A week?
ME: Ira! I'm not pledging 46 million smackers for a RENTAL! If I make that pledge, Mara Liasson is MINE! I OWN her! Like I own my cell phone, or my computer. And she'll have just about much say as my computer as far as what I plug into which port, if you know what I mean.
IRA: I'm pretty sure I DON'T know what you mean, and that I don't WANT to know what you mean!
ME: Works for me! As long as I get Mara delivered to my place bound and gagged and ready for use, I don't much care if you know what I mean. So we got a deal?
IRA: Mr. Powers, I just don't think we can accept your pledge under those circumstances.
ME: I see. So first you're pimping Mara out big time but if you get a taker, you're not interested! The old bait and switch! What are you actually peddling? Cokie Roberts in a maid's uniform? Don't expect any 46 million dollar pledges with that kind of goods offered as a premium!
Sorry, just not worth 46 million dollars.
IRA: This is not a bait and switch! I did NOT offer Mara Liasson to you to be your ... anything!
ME: Let's not quibble about who offered who to whom! The fact is that SOMEONE pimped Mara Liasson to me in exchange for a 46 million dollar pledge, and I'm pretty sure it was you! And the only HONORABLE thing you can do now is come through on the deal.
IRA: I am NOT a PIMP!!!!!
ME: Well, obviously, not full time -- you've got that American Experience thingie going as your main gig, which is a good thing, because you are a TERRIBLE pimp. We all know you public radio guys have to wear a lot of hats to make ends meet. Now who do I make the check out to, and how long before Mara shows up at my door all bound and gagged? And don't give me any of that "must wait four to six weeks for delivery" crap! If 46 million doesn't include rush shipping, nothing does!
IRA (trying another tack): Mr. Powers, do you even HAVE 46 million dollars to back your pledge?
ME: Of course I do. I'm a big-time bondage porn blogger and website owner. And everybody knows that Internet porn is a multi-billion dollar business. So, by extension, I must be worth millions, right?
IRA: I ... don't know ...
ME: Well, it's kinda like the actual unemployment figures or the relative value of anything in the federal budget, kinda hard to figure.
IRA: Ah. I know about those numbers. You are saying you are dead broke.
ME: Well, let's just say I am as likely to write a non-bouncy check for $46 million as Mara Liasson is to come through if I DID write such a check.
IRA: I see. Good day, Mr. Powers.
ME: Good day to you, Ira. Say, would a $30 donation get me a blow …