In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb beautiful boy image

Beautiful Boy

There might have been more power—and beauty—in a more understated approach all around.

Thumb first man

First Man

If you want to get an almost first-person sense of what it felt like to ride a rocket into orbit and beyond, "First Man" is…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Why cabbies listen to NPR

From Colby Cosh, Edmonton, Alberta:

This is concerning a comment you made in a recent thread on your site: "I have NEVER had an immigrant taxi driver in Chicago (invariably African, Indian, Middle Eastern) who was not tuned to NPR. Make of it what you choose."

A while back I noticed a similar phenomenon here (in Edmonton, Canada): most of the time, the immigrant cabbies (which is to say, 95% of them) have CBC radio--which has pretty much the same texture, programming mix, and values as NPR; the mutual influence is fairly obvious--when they have the radio on at all. Eventually I worked up the nerve to ask a Chinese-Canadian cabbie about this. He gave me to understand that he was trying to learn good Canadian English from the radio, so it was only natural that he would listen to the pan-(English-)Canadian state broadcaster. And, indeed, it struck me immediately that this was a perfectly appropriate choice.

Advertisement

Virtually every country outside the United States, including mine, has a BBC-style state broadcaster with a hypothetical mandate to deliver the news neutrally, and another mandate, stated or unstated, to promote a relatively "pure" or at least portable educated-speaker version of the national language. (The BBC of course operates alternative Gaelic and Welsh networks, but in these cases the mandate to teach learners a "good" standard version of Gaelic or Welsh is probably more important, not less.) NPR is not in any official sense an American government network anymore, but self-evidently it thinks of itself as "national", as quasi-official and authoritative, and as speaking in a politically "neutral" way to all Americans; many immigrants may not even know that it has no formal status. Basically, when they arrive in the U.S.A., I would assume they probably recognize (or are directed to) NPR as the language-learning aid and pronunciation authority they are looking for. It is not, according to this hypothesis, preferred because it is particularly intelligent or liberal or eclectic, but mostly because of the N in NPR.

This is pretty much just a guess, though.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Why The Godfather, Part II is the Best of the Trilogy

A look back at one of the best films of all time.

Netflix’s Terrifying, Moving The Haunting of Hill House is Essential Viewing

A review of Mike Flanagan's new horror series based on the Shirley Jackson novel, The Haunting of Hill House.

Once Upon a Time in Haddonfield: Revisiting John Carpenter's Halloween

Far Flung Correspondent Seongyong Cho revisits John Carpenter's classic Halloween.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus