NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell me is a weekly comedic treatment of what they call “news,” NPR’s regular fare – what people here know as “fake news.” The host, Peter Sagal, is the visible promoter of the show’s content. He is prim and proper about current events, never questioning anything, always accepting official news as official truth. He’s a good doggy.
Now and then he will sneak something in – I distinctly remember one show where he promoted the use of LSD (in light doses) as beneficial. In last week’s episode, during the “Not my Job” segment, he allowed guest Alan Cumming to go into intimate detail about his intimate relations with other men. He described how he and a former boyfriend were so taken with each other that they each had tattoos placed on their genitals as a memorial. Then they broke up, and oh the problems with new boyfriends!
NPR’s listening audience is generally older, and generally imagine themselves a cut above for getting their fake news from NPR instead of Fox. Sagal is taking them down! I shook my head in disbelief as I listened to the details of Cummings’ sex life. Good grief. I don’t want to know that about him. I don’t want to know that about anyone.
I am no prude. I am only a normally sensible adult who respects boundaries.
To: Colorado Public Radio
From: Mark Tokarski
I listened to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me last week, with guest Alan Cumming. It made me extremely uncomfortable, and was perhaps offensive to people of good taste. Cummings in the interview talked about how he and a boyfriend each had tattoos referring to each other placed on their genitals, and how he later had to warn new men he dated about what they would find before traveling “down there.”
I get that NPR wants to be out front in tolerance and acceptance of gays. I am not broaching that topic. But this was out of bounds, in my view, for any orientation. Imagine if the relationship was heterosexual and he talked of him and a girlfriend doing the same thing. It is private! It need not be aired! It makes people of ordinary taste and sensibility extremely uncomfortable. Is that the goal – to push the limits?
I hope that NPR got wide and vigorous condemnation for this episode. I doubt it , but hope so.