This is my opinion, based on hearing the program Wait. Wait. Don't Tell Me aired on NPR in July 2018
I am often out driving on Saturday mornings when Wait. Wait Don't Tell Me airs. I flip through the channels searching for music or an interesting program and have caught this program several times. Often portions are funny. Often portions are informative. Sometimes the program is disrespectful and inappropriate, and I understand many listeners appreciate the comedic factor that is intended in the disrespect. I usually turn it off, or down, waiting for the next segment.
BUT, the last show and the show that aired after the Thai boys were rescued from the cave in early July had comedic dialogue that went too far, in my opinion. Here is why I think so.
The teen boys and their twenty-something coach faced a horrific period of time in the underground cave. Alone in absolute darkness. Unsure they would survive. Days without food they managed to find limited water, which they scavenged from the cave. The world watched as experts worked the problem, hoping and praying for the rescue. We were amazed at the results, heralding the rescuers and volunteers. Proud of these young men for daring to dive through murky water, which was their only means to survive before the monsoons came. You know the story. It was epic.
A comedian, and also the host on Wait. Wait. Don't Tell me chose to joke about the situation. Paula Poundstone jokingly said she had made math problems for her children about the rescue like if there were twelve boys and one swam out of the cave how many were left. I thought, okay. That was application. But then she added this: we were sad the boys had been rescued. I mean, couldn't they stretch the whole situation out more? She amplified her comment to say the drama had been so exciting she didn't want it to end. The audience laughed. I did not.
The host, Peter Sagal, chimed in: to the boy who was last in the cave, I know what it's like to be picked last. The audience laughed again. I did not. The boys had voted among themselves, choosing those who were sick, had the greatest need, and other issues to go first. The boy who offered to leave the cave last was every bit a hero. He let his whole team go before him. Only the coach and the doctor remained after this young man. This boy should be honored, not mocked.
I had hoped they wouldn't return to this subject again. Yet, my daughter heard Saturday's program, 7/28, in which she felt the Thai boys had been indirectly mocked in a joke about caves on Mars and the water that has been allegedly discovered.
In advocating for this group of boys who survived a terrifying event. I am calling for emails, a time of boycotting of the show, Wait. Wait. Don't Tell Me, to communicate there are certain topics that are not open to mocking, even in a comedic, lightly intended nature.
Honor these boys, their rescuers, the diver who lost his life trying to save them, the community that provided food, the sleepless nights of volunteers and experts, etc. Think of your most terrifying moment. Would that be comedic material?
Did you know: In 1977, America rose up and boycotted Nestle for their investment in organizations that participated in South Africa's discrimination policies. The boycott became so powerful, Nestle and other companies stopped investing in South African companies resulting in a change for South African.
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