August 21, 2014

Freudian Radio

To my utter astonishment and joy, the car only cost 288 Sacagaweas to be resurrected after rolling an 18 on its "save versus ants" skill. 


As I drove around performing all the errands I had needed to do this week, I listened to NPR's All Things Considered and one of their segments was a special on the 200th anniversary of the burning of Washington DC. Instead of just having some historians come and talk, they did a mock new report...as if NPR was covering it at the time. 


"Boy howdy! Did they ever! "


The NPR reporter was embedded with the advancing British troops . They seemed to imply that the Madisons were having marital problems (not mentioning WHY they left the capital separately). To my surprise. they seemed to give fairly short shrift to Dolly Madison's heroics in getting certain national treasures out of DC .There was no mention of the one other bright spot in the debacle ( The President taking charge and turning what was a rout into an organized fighting retreat, as well as changing the direction of the shattered army towards Baltimore and away from the hinterlands).  One of the embedded reporters noted a Redcoat carrying a decorative pillow as he applied gunpowder paste to the White House. Robert Siegel asked if she meant that they were looting and she said that was not the case, but rather, the British troops were just taking souvenirs. 

An NPR reporter in a tavern tried to interview the American general who had just been defeated, but said officer was too inebriated to say much. 

There was actually some credit given to Madison, though it was for the empty but quite inspirational gesture of having Congress re-convene in the burned out ruins of DC.

Finally, a pair of commentators (actually Historians) discussed what they thought was likely to follow and argued a bit before making different predictions, that, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight were nevertheless, both highly prescient. 

Not able to be captured in this run-down is the palpable glee with which the whole catastrophe was reported. 

At one point I was actually wondering if this was a parody, but no, it was completely straight, just not terribly self aware. At the end of the broadcast, they were happy and I was perversely amused, so a good time was had by all. 

I guess that counts as some quality radio. 

UPDATE: Duh...It's NPR so the actual broadcast is archived here. The whole episode, most of which lacked the spectacular levels of self parody is here

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