Thursday 19 September 2019

Radio: A toast to changing wasteful ways of a disposable culture

Henry McKean
Henry McKean
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

In a case of art (or at least radio) imitating life, Moncrieff (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 2pm) ran a piece on broken toasters - a day after my own went kaput. Henry McKean looked at our disposable culture: when something relatively cheap like toasters or radios are damaged, we tend to throw it out rather than get it fixed.

A vox pop showed most people behave like this. Designer/maker Louise Nolan pointed out there's "almost a pressure to upscale your life", and cheap new products are constantly available to serve this.

But we shouldn't, because McKean also discovered that there are places around the country, and online, where you can get all sorts of items repaired. Even his creaky old radio.

Two killer whales, we heard on News at One (Radio 1, Mon-Fri), were spotted "six miles east of Rockabill" in Dublin. Audio footage captured by the fishermen who saw them showed a lovely surprise, even delight, at how massive these animals are, up close.

Killer whales aren't often seen around our coasts, although Pádraig Whooley of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group reckons this pair last visited as recently as March. Back then, they featured on the TV news - clearly not shy about being in the limelight.

The Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 9am) had an interesting, albeit depressing and worrying, piece on a new book, The Coddling of the American Mind. Co-writer Jonathan Haidt, a social and cultural psychologist, argues that the current fad for cosseting students in American colleges - safe spaces, trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, putting emotions above thoughts, seeing words as having the power to literally cause harm - are "setting up that generation for failure".

It's a swirl of "good intentions but bad ideas"; ultimately, "a therapeutic state can end up disempowering individuals".

Haidt's argument was persuasive; the listener was left hoping that all of this is merely a temporary blip of collective derangement in American (and soon here, presumably) campus life.

On Liveline (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 1.45pm), the wonderfully named Zeno Kelly told Joe Duffy his story (we might, channelling Italo Svevo, label this "The Confessions of Zeno") of being stopped entering the Ireland-Denmark soccer match by security.

Why? His flag carried an anti-John Delaney message. He, of course, is the FAI boss. Fans are angry with the team's dismal form. The flag didn't appear to be offensive.

Zeno was annoyed. Joe was sympathetic - a classic Liveline moment.

It might have even had an effect - by midday on Wednesday, Lunchtime Live (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 12 noon) was leading the coverage of Martin O'Neill's resignation.

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