Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NPR can still go F*&^ itself

JustFiveGrins doesn't understand what I object to in NPRs use of a local handyman as the intro story to their multipart story on airline repairs. He also suggests I didn't listen closely enough and provided a helpful link to the written transcript.

Here's the intro:

ZWERDLING: We'll start our visit around the central plaza. There are hundreds of market stalls under flimsy awnings, and they give you a quick sense of why more and more American airlines are sending their planes to El Salvador to be fixed: labor is cheap. A haircut: a dollar. Avocados: two for 25 cents. My interpreter and I stop at a booth where the man's fixing appliances.

What is the typical income here?

Unidentified Man (Appliance repair man): (Through translator) I would say, between $200 to $250 a month.

ZWERDLING: Part of you might be wondering: Do I want mechanics in El Salvador to fix our planes? And these market stalls provide one possible answer; mechanics here can fix anything. This guy's taking the motor apart on a kitchen blender. He says a new blender would cost $20, but he's going to fix this one for 10.

You know, if I took a broken blender like that to a repair shop in the United States, they would say: We don't fix that; buy a new one.

Unidentified Man: (Through interpreter): Yes but here, we always find a way to repair it. All of us are poor.
emphasis mine

I object to the following:

1. The idea that repairing a toaster or other gadget is somehow indicative of the ability to repair or maintain a plane.

2. The implication that failing or damaged airplane parts or mechanisms should be repaired and not replaced (which, I will grant is a lot clearer in the audio than in the written version)

3. The fetishistic need of NPR to provide these stupid ass analogies/anecdotes at the start of their stories that don't prove anything but add flavor.


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