No Answers, but Lots of Questions
Radio 'Shock Jock' Howard Stern
It's been such a busy week that the usual grueling research it takes to fill this space must be cut back drastically. So, I'm sure you understand, something has to give.
I had planned to present a number of startling, puzzling, insightful questions on a wide variety of topics followed by some studied, reasoned, enlightening answers.
Alas, time and space permits only the questions; if I had the time and space I would offer some possible answers, but, unfortunately, I do not. Perhaps you have the answers.
* * * Why do we go all-out to save stranded dolphins or whales -- often accompanied by wails of our own over the plight of these hapless mammals while simultaneously hooking bass, boiling lobsters and canning tuna?
* * * Is it so all-fired important to save a few dollars on heating bills that homeowners and businesses have to seal up their buildings to the point that the insulation virtually stops outside air from seeping in . . . leaving occupants at risk?
Storm of the Century?
* * * Can't radio and TV weather reporters follow the same rules as other reporters and present the unbiased facts instead of giving the worst-case-scenario in the hope of picking up a point or two in their ratings?
* * * Does everyone have to go along with abbreviations devised by the U.S. Postal Service despite the fact that the traditional abbreviations of states are much better (unless you're in the post office business)?
* * * Isn't it nice that one can stand firmly against censorship and, at the same time, thoroughly enjoy decent people giving Howard Stern a hard time?
* * * Doesn't it make you wonder -- and shudder -- every time the management of nuclear power plants and members of their regulatory commission try to downplay safety problems brought on, obviously, by incompetence and lack of supervision?
* * * Doesn't it seem that judges in our criminal justice system go far beyond the Constitution when they follow "judicial guidelines" that allow them to sentence convicted criminals by other than a prison term prescribed by law (such as when they make drunken drivers or drug dealers take various treatments in lieu of jail time)?
* * * Do insurance companies only pay off on policies when it would cost them too much to fight the award or when they can get a settlement beneficial to them?
* * * Did you ever want to give a radio reporter a slap on his microphone after tuning in to find out the time . . . only to hear: "It's 20 past the hour"?
* * * Why is it becoming more frequent and more acceptable for radio and television guests to speak profanely; doesn't profanity and gutter language -- which we hear more often lately on the electronic media -- reflect poorly on the speaker and serve as a bad example of the proper use of our language?
* * * Hasn't the government learned what we all were taught in Economics 101: The law of diminishing returns, which dictates that, at some point, increases in taxes actually will lead to a reduction in revenues?
* * * Why do we always read of authorities announcing their intention to review their policies -- as in the case of the boy who recently attacked a woman while on furlough from prison -- after the fact, when it's too late; can't we anticipate anything?
I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Feb. 12, 1994. I'm still looking for answers!