Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My 5 minutes of fame...Still got 10 to go!

This morning I received a call from "Dani S.," a BBC employee who invited me to be a participant on today's "Have Your Say" live radio show.  The topic was to be Obama and Sarkozy's off-the-record catty exchange about Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, and how it was revealed that neither particularly cares for him.

Dani had found me on Twitter after I posted in response to an NPR report about the incident.  She asked me to be the sole American caller on the show, weighing in on this event's impact event on domestic affairs in the US.

Despite my greed for fame, I was wary of participating on this program.  I feared it was the sort of show common in US media, one that provides a platform for smarmy hosts to provoke misinformed people into saying something inflammatory.  Indeed, when I told Dani I'm not an expert on US-France-Israel relations, she told me that "We don't like experts."

However, the show turned out to be slightly different than I expected.  True enough, the staff don't seem to care who you are, what you do, nor how much you know or don't know about the given subject.  Yet it's a little more intelligent an operation than most American caller-based shows, in that they do pre-screening to make sure you're not a crazy jackass trying to bring back the Confederacy.  Or at least if you are a crazy jackass trying to bring back the Confederacy, at least they'll know that before they let you on their radio show.

In my pre-screening interview, the only eyebrow-raising question Dani asked was if I thought it was a conspiracy that the mics were left on for reporters to witness the exchange.  I told her no, but that's probably done sometimes to either humanize or embarrass powerful people.  She also asked me if Obama would be hurt by the revelation of his disdain for Netanyahu, to which I responded that he probably would be if rabid Zionist Republicans went on the attack like they probably will.

My reservations in check, I decided to go on the show because I thought it would be funny - after all, why would British people care what a shmo like me thinks about anything? - and also an opportunity to address a broader audience on the issue of global imperialism, as represented by the G20 summit where the conversation took place.

When the show called me for a live interview, I was given about one minute total to address the issue at hand.  Asked about "the American response" to Obama's comments, I said something to the effect of:

Nobody likes seeing their country's figurehead do something foolish, especially on an international stage.  I don't know how this particular event will affect Obama.  It does seem like an unprofessional misstep.  Yet relations between world leaders are sometimes notoriously strained, as in the one between Sarkozy and Merkele.  If we are lucky enough to be employed, we all have a coworker we can't stand.  But it is a problem that so much global focus is on this one gaffe and we aren't examining who these 20 powers are that convened in the first place to make political and economic decisions that impact the rest of the world.

The BBC disconnected me from the conversation shortly after I made my comments, telling me "thank you, that's enough."  How very succinctly British.

I was glad I got in my points about Obama being a "figurehead" (as opposed to a leader), the existence of massive unemployment, and the global dominance engineered by the G20 to suit their own interests.

In the end, Dear Readers, even though I am now very famous from my token presence on British radio, I will still talk to you and be your friend.  And as far as my more detailed prepared remarks on US militaristic incursion in Palestine, there's always next week's show.

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