It’s a special feeling to be as close to the center of a specific universe as we were on Gun Appreciation Day. While the Constitution I clutched was only in my mind — and in jibbered-up fragments, since I’m terrible with memorization and can’t even get lines of movie dialogue straight beyond, “New shit has come to light, man” — I did have the company of “Your Gun Talk Radio Station” nearly all the way from Phoenix to Gila Bend, had I been able to endure it longer than its puny AM signal lasted.
Given the moment, post-Sandy Hook, threats/promises of new gun laws in the air and Barack Obama’s second inauguration set for a couple of days down the line, the conversation was pretty much as you’d expect. Tyranny is afoot. As predicted by both Nostradamus and Wayne LaPierre, liberals are coming to “grab your guns”, and the only sane response is to get yourself to the next gun show — which in Arizona will always be tomorrow morning, somewhere — and stockpile up, while you still can.
But for some reason it was the commercials that struck me more as we finally departed the Phoenix sprawl and angled southwest toward I-8, San Diego and La Jolla, (where “Gun Talk” apparently isn’t syndicated, though everyone there looks to have a hell of a lot more to protect).
One three commercial block featured, in order, an ad for some kind of liquid “chelation” therapy, maybe in a 16 oz. can, of a science-y sounding gunk that promises to “clean plaque out of your arteries”, without all that pussy-ass exercizing, rabbit-food eatin’ and yoga mat shit. (“Hell”, I thought, “why not just put that stuff on tap, and serve it to us at two-for-one happy hours”). Next came a spot for “restless leg syndrome” and a local “medical professional” (or at least guy who played one on the radio) who had found a cure-all the pointy heads at Johns Hopkins somehow missed. Finally, we had a spot for a bail bond service, for those times, I assumed, when you’ve been unconstitutionally hassled for exercising your right to swill chelation therapy beer while your restless leg hammers the accelerator to the floor and, imagining one more step, you road hunt with your Bushmaster for terrorist/immigrants coming through the Sonora.
Now, I’ll give the station, and its target audience, the benefit of the doubt that assume that somewhere else in the course of the broadcast day the ad breaks are wall-to-wall Audi-Mercedes-Biltmore weekends and Scottsdale gallerias. But, well hell, knowing a couple of things about what advertisers expect to find in certain radio audiences, artery-clogged bail-jumpers was probably about right for the “Gun Talk” crowd, so I doubt you’ll ever hear a pitch for the Audi S7, even in “Gun Rights” drive-time.
As I say, the callers and conversation were pretty much exactly what you’d expect, with a lot of reiteration of the “tyranny” thing and the currently popular assertion of “expertise”. This “expertise” business is always brought by way of posing a stark contrast to nattering “libtards”, silly know-nothings who get all freaked out and emotional at the sight of 20 shot-up first-graders and start running around breaking down doors and “grabbin’ guns”. The boys — all men calling in, but you already knew that — repeatedly emphasized to the host and each other, how much they knew about arcane firearm performance details. Muzzle velocity. Barrel dynamics. Flux capacitor ratios. It was pretty eye-glazing.
Since they all claimed to be experts I don’t know who they were trying to impress with the “more expert than you” shtick, but it was a prominent feature.
To anyone outside the “Gun Talk” bubble, which is a pretty healthy chunk of the population, this constant self-acclamation of “expertise” is about as impressive and counter-reassuring, in a “they doth acclaim waaay too much” way as the get-a-life football experts calling in to sports talk shows with their obsessively researched battle, excuse me, game plans for the Super Bowl. Both camps really need to find something else to do with their time, although in terms of posing any mortal danger, I can’t recall the last time some football nerd’s obsession nearly killed his granddaughter coming in after curfew.
By the time we reached the ocean — where we later learned Mitt Romney was also chilling, avoiding any pretense of being a good loser by attending the inauguration — local TV was running video of “gun enthusiasts” at some San Diego-area “Gun Appreciation Day” show.
Go ahead, describe for me the demographic make-up.
If there was a black face in the otherwise all white, over-40, but mostly over-60 milling mob of white guys with a curious affinity for fu manchu style facial hair, he was selling Pepsi off in the wings.
Nor did I see a booth for the miracle chelation therapy drink, or bail bonds.
But the bottom line point is this: While Joe Biden and Obama and Diane Feinstein have a long, long way to go to get wobbly-legged Democrats — like Minnesota’s Tim Walz — to repudiate the NRA and get on the right side of history at this moment, the crowd deep in the “Gun Talk” bubble is losing by erosion of support and increased marginalization. Heightened media exposure — which will continue for months, if not years to come (we all know another mass slaughter is only days away) — is a steadily encroaching disaster for their “cause”. The more the broader public hears of the off-putting “expertise”of “Gun Talkers”, and sees of the weirdly homogeneous crowd fondling handguns and stroking rifle barrels in preparation for some imagined Armaggeddon, and reacts to that crowd’s glee at staving off bans on assault rifles and 100-bullet clips, the more the public consigns them and all their sympathizers to the same social compartment, labelled, “Nutty/Creepy — Keep a Distance”.
Good luck returning from that compartment.