Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kentucky Radio

Tim Murphy listens to the radio as he drives across Kentucky:
On one end of the dial, an evangelist is crusading against, of all things, the WE show Bridezillas. Turn the knob a bit, and there's country, more country, some Top 40, and Glenn Beck, talking up the New Black Panther Party and Goldline (remember, kids: gold isn't an investment; it's an "insurance policy.") And then, just like that, we hit "The General Store." "The General Store" is Craigslist, if Craigslist were just one giant free-for-all hosted by a middle-aged woman named Renee. . . .

The progression of callers transcends the conventional limits of diversity: One man calls up with a 350-pound whole-blood boar for sale—and an electric guitar. Someone else has a two-bedroom mobile home for sale, and a golden retriever named Rusty. Or rather, he had a golden retriever named Rusty, before he went missing around the Fourth of July—has anyone seen him? Dogs tend to get loose around the holiday, what with the fireworks and all, volunteers Renee, helpfully trying to make sense of the tragedy.

There are Bushmaster rifles, used pickup trucks, two pieces of wood that might work well for a chicken coop or something like that, eight pairs of children's pants and eight pairs of shirts. One woman calls in to ask about a living room set that another woman mentioned last week. She doesn't remember the phone number that was given, and the host isn't much help—it was last week, after all—but our caller leaves her number anyway, "in case she's listening." It's just like Craigslist, right on down to the missed connections.

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