Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dear Diary: I inhabit M*A*S*H . . .
as told to O'Connor . . . by Fellini

EDITOR'S NOTE: Revolution 21's Blog for the People continues an occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago in the trenches of Catholic radio. The names aren't real, nor are the places, but the stories are -- and it's a snapshot picture of what happens when "Their zeal consumes them" meets "Sinners sacrifice for the institution, not vice versa."

In other words, there has to be a better way.


Dear Diary,

Sometimes I think I inhabit a Midwestern sequel to A Confederacy of Dunces. Other times, I think it's Walker Percy's Love in the Ruins.

Today, I'm pretty sure I inhabit a revival of M*A*S*H. I am Hawkeye Pierce, and my new program director at Pope FM is a fat Frank Burns.

Manic Don is 35, ex-Coast Guard and has never gotten over it. He doesn't know jack excrement about radio but tries to act like he's God's gift to the airwaves.

He writes everything in military lingo, puts all times on the 24-hour clock, asks everyone whether everything's "5-by-5," and organizes (to use the term loosely) a tiny station staff like it's the Pacific Command.

He also specializes in trying to downplay his own glaring failures by trying to make others look worse.

And today he ordered me to reduce the time I spend on production work by 75 percent. All the while he desperately tries to foist the more tedious and mundane parts of his job description off on others (read: "me") . . . by fiat.

I called him on that once, in a very Southern manner (despite the fact that he has 100 pounds on me). Within two days, I got a new job description allowing him to do just that.

Two words: Captain Queeg. Furthermore, I refuse to tell the SOB what I did with his @#$!* strawberries.

I've been trying to hold on until he crashes and burns, but I don't know whether that will be possible. OK, Pope FM is M*A*S*H as written by Flannery O'Connor based on a storyline by Fellini.

I keep trying to remember that I once loved my job, and that it was supposed to be about Jesus. It sure as hell doesn't look like Jesus now. Egos, money and the general dysfunction in every aspect of Catholic life today have seen to that.

I'm damned good at what I do. Damned good. I thought I had found my calling in Catholic radio.

I guess I was wrong. Again.

-- Hawkeye Pierce

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