Well it had to happen at some point. I’m actually amazed I managed to hold out until my 53rd blog post before finally surrendering to the temptation to use an “Eagle has landed” pun. Now I’ve done my first one, there’ll be no stopping me. Anyway, I don’t think you can really begrudge me the occasional Eagle pun, especially since in this case the pun has two layers of significance. The significance of the “hot water” reference is due to the fact that my dissection of the
“”London Boat show
interview that I featured in last week’s ‘Southside Podcast’ has seemingly caused offense with the grand total of one person. So because my name is David Eagle, and because boats travel in water, my pun has an extra layer of genius. You see? I’m not just a pretty face – or in this case, (to continue the reference) boat race.
I don’t want to really mention the individual complaint in any real detail, and in some ways my hands are tied on this matter – which would explain any typing mistakes that may be present in this blog post. Sadly however, the result of the complaint has meant that the last Southside Podcast has been taken off the site for review.
I’ve only ever received three complaints in four years of broadcasting, and I don’t deem this as a concern, because I have a broadcasting style that really should elicit a few complaints now and again. I think I’d be a little concerned if I wasn’t getting any complaints at all. Imagine such flagship broadcasters as
without having received a single complaint. I don’t want you to misunderstand my point here. By referring to these presenters, I am not saying that because I’ve received a few complaints in my time, that this obviously proves that I am just as good as them. I am merely expressing the point that in broadcasting, someone somewhere is always going to be offended by an element of a broadcast. This doesn’t solely stand true for broadcasters in the entertainment industry. Journalists get complaints too. People complain about
Who has had a fair number of complaints leveled at him, and he has even been censured by the BBC, but he is still a multi-award-winning journalist and presenter on a flagship radio programme. I could go on naming a multitude of broadcasters who have all had many complaints made about them, who are respected in their field. So I don’t want to be seen as attempting to vindicate myself by using the fact that every quality broadcaster gets complaints, but it’s a vital point to make.
Let’s have a closer look at these complaints. None of the complainants have been under forty. I would go so far as to say under fifty, but I’m treading on dangerous ground. “Well at least I’m out of the hot water.) One complainant wrote:
“Sexual innuendo, coarse jokes are never to be found in the material.”
The structuring of this sentence is slightly confusing, as it kind of gives the impression that the person is complaining that sexual innuendo and coarse jokes can’t be found in the podcasts. I was however able to utilize my skills in deduction to conclude that they were in fact saying that this kind of material “should” never be found, rather than “is” never to be found. Unfortunately, I didn’t come to this conclusion until a few podcasts down the line, and so sadly my attempts to placate the complainant by including a healthy dose of regular sexual innuendo and coarse jokes in the subsequent few podcasts were unsuccessful. When complaining, it’s helpful if you structure your point in accurate English so as to avoid such confusion. If you think I’m being needlessly pedantic, then you might have some sympathy for me when I explain that the one thing complainants seem to like to use against me is any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes that I might write in my reply to their complaint. They then take great pleasure in pointing out that not only am I an incompetent broadcaster, with all the wit of a September the 11th news bulletin, but that I’m also a really bad person for using a split infinitive in my response to them. They also seem to like to use my grammatical errors or misspelt words as a way of proving that their point is obviously more well-developed than mine, simply because they happen to have wasted a few more hours of their life than me, making out with the Microsoft office paperclip. I therefore have learnt to respond to a complaint with an accurately spelt and grammatically perfect email. Not that it makes any difference. They’ll still go to the ends of the earth and bribe
to drudge up some obsolete inaccuracy for them to get back at me with. Until they realise that even Steven Fry has (on occasion) resorted to using sexual innuendo, and so promptly write him a letter of complaint.
Here is how I responded to the complainant’s notion that I should unreservedly avoid the use of sexual innuendo and coarse humor in all broadcasts:
“Recently we featured an item about the world’s oldest joke. The academic who did the research explained that the one subject which was prevalent in jokes from as early as 1900 BC was sex. He also noted that this has been the trend since that point to the modern day. If you really want to make a program that represents reality and our collective-consciousness, then it is my belief that we cannot afford to avoid including a subject that has dominated the thoughts of humankind for millennia. Shakespeare did it, artists, writers, musicians and poets have done it for centuries, but apparently the book stops at me. If I do it, then I’ve gone too far.”
I think it’s the responsibility of a broadcaster to understand his/her audience. Obviously it’s not a good idea to use obvious sexual innuendo and coarse humour in a children’s programme’; although there are many children’s programmes that do include such material to cater for the parent audience, and the references hopefully go over the children’s heads – although nowadays it’s probably the children who have to explain the jokes to the parents. Of course I understand that I can’t swear in a broadcast, and that I should definitely stay clear of the
“”Roy Chubby Brown
joke book, but I don’t think I should be concerned about making a few minor comments that are likely to have been knocked off (forgive the sexual innuendo) the jokes list for a carry on film for being too tame. I therefore believe it is unfair to suggest that sexual innuendo shouldn’t be present in any of my broadcasts. I switch on the radio and am bombarded with a barrage of pop songs (designed for children and the brain-dead) about sex. I switch on the TV and see products being advertised by the inclusion of sexually based material. Even the government sometimes talk about sexing up political documents. But that’s hardly the point is it? One person (with an unhealthy obsession for grammar, and a PHD in pedantry) says that I David Eagle should never make a sexually based joke again, and that’s that (forgive the tautology DR Pedant). Maybe I should take this as a compliment. Perhaps I am being singled out because they believe that if I make a pledge to refrain from mentioning sex in my broadcasts, then the rest of the world will follow suit. So maybe I’m fundamentally responsible for all these adverts, pop songs and government documents. I think I need a lie down. That’s just too much responsibility for one man.
The other complaint that I received once was a big ranting email about how I was completely egotistical and that all my broadcasts were self-indulgent. They also claimed that I spent the vast majority of the podcast telling the listener my name. The ironic thing was that the whole point of their email was about how much I repeated my name, but weirdly they kept referring to me as “David Egle”. Obviously, they could have benefited from me mentioning it a few more times.
I’ve also mentioned (in a
“”previous blog post
about the complainant who was offended by the word homosexuals. They weren’t concerned about the context I used the word in, which was obviously not a derogatory one. Their complaint seemed to be simply that I had said the word “homosexuals”.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a closing sentence from a complainant’s email to me.
“You’re capable of much better”.
And on that consolatory note, I leave you.