While living in Mexico, my sister’s family indulged my liking for mariachi music, which typically seemed to be featured in the downtown parks on Wednesday nights. Actually, I did understand a few words, and never, ever, helped them drink their wine. I have been hooked on brass from the time a friend recommended Rafael Mendez back in 1947. Am I educated, in particular, by it? Not at all. It’s ear candy. Now they tell me that some puritans wanted to “R-rate” the orchestra classic “Eroica” because of its sensually suggestive rhythms.

I’m going to suggest that many of our moral broadcasters are supplying primarily ear candy. Several typically supply us with a repetition, in varying forms, of self-satisfying programs that pick on simple targets that remind of horses dead so long they are on the truck to the soap factory. Often, the offering is on a level that simply serves to comfort a large and hopefully growing target, without much growth. Conversational lullabies is what they are. Others are usually rather incisive, but the pressure to produce a daily half-hour program is a daunting task, maybe unrealistic.

There are times when I reckon Mr. Dobson’s 200 million listeners — did I hear that right? — would be better served to hear the announcer announce: “Mr. Dobson doesn’t have anything today up to his usual high standards; we now present a half hour of mariachi for your listening pleasure.” Or Niagara Falls, Celine Dion, The London Philharmonic, Scottish bagpipes or whatever. Ear candy is ear candy.

Bill Hawkins


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