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An Open Letter to Kevin and Bean

To: Kevin@kroq.com, bean@kroq.com
Subj: Rotten Song

Hi Kevin and Bean;
I've been listening to KROQ, and specifically your morning show, since I moved to LA about five years ago. I think you guys are the best morning show around, and generally appreciate all your bits. (By "bits" I mean comedy bits, not parts of your physical bodies, which may or may not be appreciable.)

But this morning you ran a really long parody song that basically went "So gay. So gay." (repeat ad nauseam) I hated it, and switched the station because it went on way too long, and was, I felt, a nasty joke not in keeping with your generally abrasive-but-harmless tone. I'm not sure when it became ok to use "gay" as a pejorative on the air. I suppose it's inevitable that, as the last minority that it's acceptable to hate, gay people are going to mocked on elementary schoolyards and at douchebag fraternity parties. But as - and it must pain me as much as it embarrasses you to admit it - you guys are cultural leaders. People listen to you. What you joke about tells people what it's acceptable to joke about. And for some reason, you're making bigoted jokes on your morning radio show.

Guys, can you imagine if you used some other minority group than gay people in that song? "That's so black. So black! So black!" I can only imagine the dungstorm that would conjure, a dungstorm of such epic proportions that animals would be lining up two-by-two to avoid the dungflood.

As a listener who's really put off by your use of the term "gay" to insult people, I'd like to respectfully request that you refrain from bigoted jokes. If not, I suppose I, and others, could find one of the dozens of other radio shows in the LA market to which to listen.

Thanks for your time.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 28th, 2008 10:34 pm (UTC)
I'm fairly certain this letter will merely goad them into making a song containing the words "So black!"....
Oct. 28th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
That would be so gay if they did.
Oct. 28th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
Pascale is right, you know.
Oct. 28th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
So you think it's better to just ignore bigotry, and not say anything?
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
No- it's good of you to try. It's just... a lot like arguing with certain people on the board, you know?

But, at the end of the day, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and know that you did or didn't do the right thing- so good for you. If you are really serious about getting their attention, address that same letter to the parent company and the major advertisers.
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
But see, I want to appeal to them as human beings, not as employees of a corporate entity. If it works, it works. Even if it doesn't, it must raise their consciousness a little - I tried not to strike that tone of shock and umbrage that is WAY too common with people who take offense to anything and everything out of the norm.
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
Good luck with that?

But we seem on the same wavelength today- look to see if my letter to the editor makes the cut this week at the LA Times...
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)
For those who didn't hear it, the show started the segment with news that there's a Guitar Hero compilation coming out called Guitar Praise or something along those lines which features a bunch of Christian bands' works. You can load it up and play along with your favorite Stryker song and such. The schtick was that mainstream bands wanted to get more exposure and "offered" to write Christianized versions of their songs so they would be palatable to the religious right market. I forget what parody it was of, but this song was one of the responses. Another was that new song which features gunshots and reloading the gun as part of the chorus, a Metallica song that said "Creed was cool", etc.

I personally had no issue with it because it wasn't the show's opinion but their interpretation of the religious right's opinion. It demonstrated how narrow-minded the butt of this joke is, not Kevin and Bean. As I see it, anyway.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 29th, 2008 01:08 am (UTC)
But it's still a song that makes it humor by equating gay with bad.
Oct. 29th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
Well said, though I doubt it'll do a lick of good :/
Oct. 29th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
I don't know them, nor do I listen to their show, but I appreciate that you stepped up to do the sensitive thing. So many people think that, because something isn't directly making fun of them, they can or should just ignore it. That's just not the case.
Thank you.
Oct. 29th, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
Henry Rollins did an awesome piece on one of his spoken word albums about drawing a line in your life, that anyone that chooses to cross that line, be it friend or family, get cut out of your life. Specifically he was talking about racism. It was something that has always stayed with me, coming from a bigot rich environment.
Oct. 29th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
"bigot rich environment" is pure genius.
Oct. 29th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
this whole string is so gay :)
Oct. 29th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
When I was teaching in high school, the whole "that's so gay" thing is something that I used to do my best to confront.

I constantly had kids tell me "oh, it's ok. I don't mean anything by it. I have gay friends and stuff and I don't hate them. It's just a word for something that's dumb."

To which, of course, I would say something like "Well then say it's dumb. Because saying it's gay means you're saying gay is bad and that offends me."

It usually didn't help much. But I kept trying anyway.

Kevin and Bean repeatedly refute on air the notion that they have any sort of influence on the behavior of their listeners. Which is patently false. But I think when you're in a job where you're paid to be crass and rude every day, you have to make yourself believe that you're only entertaining people and not really affecting their views, otherwise you won't be able to sleep at night.

But the one time I met Kevin and Bean it was specifically because they did influence listener behavior. It was summer. Probably 1993 or 1994. KIIS did a promotion called the Balls of Summer, where they had Jack in the Box giving away yellow foam balls with KIIS on them to put on your antenna. Kevin or Bean offhandedly mentioned that they thought the promotion was kind of stupid. Listeners picked up on that and started totally harrassing people with them on their cars. Like a lot. "Looser" was the key term screamed at anyone who had the KIIS ball. To the point where the promotion was ended several weeks early. So Kevin and Bean did an on-site where they went to a tree lot by my house, dug a grave, filled a coffin full of the foam balls and buried it. Called it Bury the Balls. I showed up with a rosary I had made of yellow beads with KIIS SUCKS painted on them. My friend Dan, a seminarian, was playing Father Dan for them and prosiding over the burial. He used my rosary and got them to give me a "I'm not a loser" t-shirt. Loved that shirt. Wore it til it fell to pieces.

So yes, their comments can have an influence on the behavior of their audience.
Oct. 30th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC)
What if people who liked using the word gay to mean happy are offended that it now means homosexual?
Oct. 30th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
Those people should definitely write letters of complaint!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


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