likely to amaze British listeners used tornpoliteness rather than politics on “AuntiernBeeb” (the BBC). There is nothingrnquite like it in England, where there arernfew talk radio stations, and what few dornexist are mostly given over to tediousrncockneys maundering on about theirrnarthritis. American talk radio, however,rnhas an angry edge to it that is entertainingrnto the foreigner, if less piquant to thernjaded palate of the native. The first timernI heard Bob Grant scream “Get off myrnphone, you scumbag!” in his best W.C.rnFields accent, I must admit I wasrnhooked.rnMr. Grant’s afternoon show onrnWABG garners a sizable number of whatrnhe describes as “gavones and cacazotcs”rn(Mr. Grant is of Italian heritage), and herngives them short shrift. The rest of thernaudience is made up mainly of uneducatedrnbut well-meaning working stiffsrnfrom New Jersey and Long Island, confusedrnand frustrated by America’s longrndrawn-out suicide. In a four-hour ritual,rnMr. Grant recites his favorite catchphrasesrnlike a priest chanting spells to ward offrnthe devils let loose in the Republic hernloves: “It’s sick out there, folks, and gettingrnsicker,” “We’re slipping and slidingrninto Third Worldism,” “Fake phonyrnfraud,” and “the double-gated crowd.”rnBetes noires of the program are referredrnto by nickname: the feckless ex-MayorrnDinkins as “the men’s room attendant,”rnHillary Clinton as “Evita Peron,” andrnMario Cuomo as “The Sfacim.” Duringrnthe 1994 election campaign, the Democraticrnmachines in the New York andrnNew Jersey area concocted a McCarthystylernplot to brand Grant a racist. Campaignrnworkers with friends at New Yorkrnmagazine suggested an attack upon thernradio host, and the magazine duly camernout with a front cover blaring “BobrnGrant: Why he hates blacks.” Those Republicansrnwho took advantage of his ratingsrnand support were, of course, guiltyrnby association.rnAnother WABC host I listen to regularlyrnis Jay Diamond. I was drawn to hisrnlate-night show because he has an oldfashionedrnmellow radio voice, and hernspeaks in complete sentences. Followmgrnon Mr. Diamond’s heels is the overnightrnshow of Guardian Angel founder CurtisrnSliwa. No one knows the mean streets ofrnthis great and crumbling metropolis betterrnthan Sliwa, and no one is better informedrnas to what’s going on. The Mafiarnattempted to assassinate him in 1992 forrnbeing a little too free with his speech—rnCurtis, after taking a bullet in the gut,rnsurvived serious surgery and was soonrnbroadcasting from his hospital bed.rnMost famous and most representativernof talk radio in America is, of course.rnRush Limbaugh. In England, Limbaugh’srnpolitics would be consideredrnperfectly normal and decent b’ all En-rnPOSTAL POLITICSrn”The United States Postal Service is very alert—sensitive is no doubt the proper v ordrntoday—to the possibility that it might offend someone in our militantly multicultural,rnpluralistic society. Last year it agonized over printing a Christmas stamp at all, andrnaccording to a report in U.S.A. Today, will renounce this icious habit entirely in 1995.rn. . . Somehow it managed to get up the courage to print a Madonna and Child stamprnthis past year, a painting by Elisabeth Sirani from the year 1663, perhaps offering asrnjustification the little line under the artist’s name, ‘National Museum of Women in thernArts,’ suggesting that if the stamp is culturally insensitive, at least it is gendersensitive.”rn—Harold O./. Brown, from the March J 995 issue of The Religion & Society Report,rna pubhcation of The Rockford Institute.rnglishmen except for a few parior socialistsrnliving idle lives in Hampstead. I was gratified,rntherefore, to learn that the merernmention of his name in New York isrnenough to set the teeth of acquaintancesrnmy age and older into a puritan grimace.rn”Rush Limbaugh!” a grunge musicianrngrowled at me in an East Village bar, “Irnhate him! He’s disgusting!” (Ten minutesrnlater he was on-stage, spitting beerrnat the audience and screaming four-letterrnimprecations through a vast anrplifier.)rnOlder acquaintances (some oldrnenough to know better) compare Mr.rnLimbaugh’s program to Father Coughlin’srnbroadcasts in the 30’s. They obviouslyrnnever heard the good Father’s radiornshow, cither first- or secondhand—rnRush is a pussycat compared to EitherrnCoughlin.rnOf all the talk radio hosts I have listenedrnto so far, my favorite has to be G.rnGordon Liddy. Unfortunately, the kindrnof McGoverniks who used to invite thernPanthers over for tea and to talk aboutrn”offing the pigs” now take umbrage atrnsome of Mr. Liddy’s sardonic commentsrnabout intrusive BATE officers, commentsrntaken, of course, entirely out ofrncontext. Mr. Liddy’s assurances that hernwill not divulge how many persons hernhas had to eliminate on his country’srnbehalf are thrilling to the ears of amrnred-blooded young man. Teenage boysrnwho call in for advice are told to studyrnthe classics and look to their weapons.rnFemale listeners send him photographsrnof themselves. The callers are the mostrnarticulate and intelligent on talk radio,rnand many actually know what they arerntalking about.rnWhat is noticeable about thesernAmerican shows is that there are so manvrnof them, and that the majority of callersrnexpress practical common-sense viewsrnutterly unlike the media caricature ofrnMiddle America. In America, the leftinspiredrnmedia indict popular talk showsrnfor their “intolerance,” but the callersrnappear to me to be tolerant almost to thernpoint of being pusillanimous. InrnEngland, America is often portrayed asrnthe broken sewer of political correctnessrnpouring across the Atlantic, the governmentrntaken over by the loony left, yet thernreal democracy taking place on talk radiornpro cs that much of the American populacernremains untouched by 30 years ofrnradicalism.rnMar^ Racho is a freelance writer living inrnManhattan.rn48/CHRONICLESrnrnrn