At first, reading about Mr. John Ziegler made me wonder if you have to be nuts to be a talk radio host? Then, I thought that this article is about "Mr. Ziegler's on air attitude, edginess, and passion." But, after carefully reading Wallace's article, a better title is "Mr. Ziegler's profits." That is why Mr. Ziegler and his radio station use everything that they can as an entertainment product with a conservative spin to draw in conservative listeners as on air entertainment.
I found that it was hard to read a text box within a text box, such as the one on page 212. In fact, I counted eighteen times when Wallace used a text box within a text box, making it much harder to read and to keep track of what I had read and what I have yet to read. In other words, Mr. Wallace's writing style greatly annoyed me. Did it annoy you?
I'm wondering what impression David Wallace wanted to create about Mr. John Ziegler by telling his readers that Mr. Ziegler moved to L.A. alone, pulling his U-Haul trailer, and moved into the old Korean district?
Similar to Chuck Klosterman's article on Val Kilmer, David Wallace wrote many words describing weird things Mr. Z does, such as how Mr. Z rises and lowers his arms, fidgets, bobs, and weaves. Should the reader interpret that Mr. Z is attempting to build up emotional energy, drain off emotional energy, or is he just weird like Val Kilmer?
Mr. Wallace tends to fill up pages with his own opinions, such as the one on page 213. "By the standards of the U.S. radio industry this makes him almost movie star gorgeous." Is this Mr. Wallace's own opinion or that of people in the industry? Wallace wrote such a big article and the details are so small that I find it hard to find a specific comment that I had read a few pages back and decide to write it up.
Wallace goes into detail on the clothing worn by Mr. Ziegler, the expression in his eyes, or how he deals with stress. Wallace describes the eyes of Mr. Hernandez as ". . . placid, grand- motherly eyes common to giant mammals everywhere" and adds Star Trek references such as "prime directives." I wonder if this was intended to give his readers an alternative way to see John Ziegler, display Wallace's knowledge of popular culture, or just make money by using a long-winded way to describe details that he saw that another writer could have described using far fewer words?
How do you determine what is real information from ideological spin? Wallace does not appear to have put much thought into answering that question as he does describing small details such as the source of the banana odor in Mr. Z's studio.
Wallace sometimes refers to Mr. Ziegler as Mr. Z. I'm not sure why Wallace sometimes wrote Mr. Ziegler in some places and Mr. Z in others at random, as this shorter name hardly makes Wallace's article any shorter to read. When Wallace alludes to Mr. Ziegler as Mr. Z, I think of some cartoon character villain instead of a flesh and blood, human being.
For myself, page 224 had the most eye-opening section when Wallace describes talk radio as a business, motivated by revenue. After Hillary Rodham Clinton coined the term, "Vast right-wing conspiracy," I keep thinking about conservative talk radio being part of some conservative organized network. I then remembered that sellers make what people are willing to buy, and in this case the product being made and sold is conservative talk radio.
I never knew just how hard it was to be a talk radio host and compose an emotionally moving speech on the fly, with little time to draft a script or to research a topic. And, I love the comment on page 230 about "You're not really acting on the radio. It's you."
On page 239, I wonder how Wallace knows that Mr. Z is putting on an act to appear "exaggeratedly relaxed" or is he in fact emotionally relaxed during his Wednesday afternoon meetings with program director Robin Bertolucci? On page 263, Wallace wrote an eleven-line sentence, the one that starts off with, "At the other." I had to reread that monster sentence at least three times before I got what Wallace had written. On page 270, Wallace asks his readers what part of our minds is being stimulated by talk radio? Is talk radio stimulating our reptilian part of our brains or the frontal lobes of our brains?