You And Me Against The World
Public Radio’s “The Takeaway”, a newsy-talky program I avoid whenever possible, recently hyped an upcoming hour of yet more disembodied expert voices jabbering about the latest bad news by saying that the Somali Terrorist organization Al Shabaab was “thought to be on the ropes” until “they took on the world in a Kenyan Shopping Mall.” Really? They took on the world? I thought they took on a bunch of unsuspecting civilian consumers shopping for underpants. Even I can take on pregnant women and little kids in a mall if I’m well armed (which, I'm told, your average terrorist tends to be). Similarly, I can kick sand in the faces of toddlers at the beach and trip old ladies as they attempt to cross streets. I’m going to convene a panel of experts to delve into whether these rude acts of mine also qualify as taking on the world. (But first, please remember that this website is made possible by you, and the law firm of Haughty, Mindless, and Blowhard, managing all your corporate ligitation needs).
I suppose I should understand the conundrum for The Takeaway: with public radio having eliminated almost all programming that isn’t related to current affairs (like all those pesky hours of jazz), the shows left standing have to distinguish themselves somehow. In this atmosphere, hyperbole becomes the talk show host’s most reliable ally. Thankfully, the noise can be (mostly) elimated with a quick turn of the dial to WMBR, WERS, WZBC, and so forth.
If Al Shabaab is smart, they'll use the Takeaway quote in their promotional literature at recruiting luncheons ("We took on the world!"), forcing someone (you and me?) to air our own PSAs on Somali public radio to set the record straight (maybe during Somalia's version of the Diane Rehm Show).