Journal: The new intellectuals

Posted by John Stoehr on Wed, Nov 21, 2007 at 4:57 PM

I'm going to attempt another of those free-wheeling posts in which I try to make some connections among articles, ideas and writers I've been reading lately. What I hope to accomplish is the beginning of a proposal, a modest call for attention, to establish a new conversation about intellectuals, those who think and feel something is not right in world of art, literature and creativity.

A menu of possible assertions:

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1. Intellectuals need to talk less with each other and more to everyone else

2. Scientists have taken the traditional place of the public intellectual

3. Intellectuals need to re-establish the self-evident reality of objective truth

4. As newspapers recede, and the traditional hubs of intellectual activity recede with them, a new grassroots movement of intellectuals is needed to take its place.

Act 1: Theoretical bullshit

I'll start with something that I've returned to often (here and here and here, for instance): the disconcerting intellectual phenomenon that asserts that there is no such thing as objective reality, that epistemology is subjective, that facts are conditional.

I suppose I keep writing about it because without an fundamental agreement about what truth is -- and for that matter, what constitutes deception, equivocation, obfuscation, bullshit and outright lies -- how can we as critics, as mere human beings, accomplish much that is constructive, meaningful and significant?

Please don't get me wrong. I lean left, not right. I'm not trying to defend the high walls of Western Civilization. In fact, I argue that intellectuals need to re-establish the self-evident reality of objective truth as someone once ensconced in the Ivory Tower.

During my time at the University of Cincinnati, I became indoctrinated by literary critical theory. I came to believe in the postmodern condition of American culture. I believed in my ability to "read" anything like a "text," even non-semantic things like fashion, architecture and medical procedures. I suspected Enlightenment ideals like Reason and Truth were vestiges of imperial European colonization. Every subject -- whether porn, pulp fiction, romance novels, comic books -- all boiled down cynically to struggles for political and social power.

While I am grateful for postmodernism as a strategy for dismantling, or deconstructing, formerly entrenched ways of thinking, it's no humanist philosophy. There's little concern for people in it; there's little concern for morality in it. While postmodernist readings of, say, advertisements for Marlboro cigarettes (which I smoked) made "logical" sense, I felt that at its heart, postmodernism was a game of rhetoric, an argument over words and their struggle for meaning.

I left class many, many times feeling a kind of existential disorientation, a kind of out-of-body experience caught between a world constructed by language and a language that's always indeterminate. Hence, the world was indeterminate, like an illusion. If the world is indeterminate, possessing no ontological center independent of human consciousness, authoritative truth matters very little. Instead of one truth, there were many truths, with one being just as "good" as the other.

This kind of thinking is not exclusive to universities, or to people interested in and sensitive to intellectual inquiry. This postmodern relativism has trickled down to popular culture as well. Consider the book "Thank You For Smoking," Christopher Buckley's brilliant 1995 parody of Big Tobacco's downfall. The main character, Nick Naylor, is a master of postmodern relativism. No matter how much he was guilty of the sins of spin, by the judgment-free rules of postmodernism (it's a descriptive strategy, not proscriptive), his truth is as valid as any other, even if it's destructive bullshit.

And even if this kind of thinking is becoming passé in academe, which it is, it's influence lingers beyond the hallowed halls. Consider this response to our dearly departed Molly Ivins, who had offered one last cautionary tale about letting the amateur efforts of bloggers be confused with the professional, gritty and pain-in-the-ass tenacity of beat reporters. This reader was responding to Ivins' suggestion that bloggers try their hand at reporting a highway accident, just to see how difficult, challenging and rewarding determining the truth can be.

"If there is no objective truth, but only subjective truth (hence your five-car pile-up analogy) -- then what difference does it make if someone was a reporter or not? I am able to state subjective truth at a moment's notice -- it's always true for me!"

Act 2: The sins of our intellectuals

I don't think that it's overstating the case when I say that this kind of thinking is the result of academics and other intellectuals abandoning objective truth. And this attitude doesn't stop with fiction and the cranky comments of a Molly Ivins fan.

Harry G. Frankfurt, the moral philosopher formerly at Princeton, said the attitude is ubiquitous among a great many writers, artists and intellectuals in his 2005 treatise titled "On Truth," a follow-up to his bestselling book, "On Bullshit." In it, he said that "we live in a time when, strange to say, many quite cultivated individuals consider truth to be unworthy of any particular respect. ... this attitude -- or, indeed, a more extreme version of it -- has become disturbingly widespread even within what might naively have been thought to be a more reliable class of people."

He continued:

"Numerous unabashed skeptics and cynics about the importance of truth ... have been found among best-selling and prize-winning authors, among writers for leading newspapers, and among hitherto respected historians, biographers, memoirists, theorists of literature, novelists -- and even among philosophers ...

And:

"These shameless antagonists of common sense -- members of a certain emblematic subgroup call themselves 'postmodernists' -- rebelliously and self-righteously deny that truth has any genuinely objective reality at all. They therefore go on to deny that truth is worthy of any obligatory deference or respect. ... the postmodernists' view is that in the end the assignment of those entitlements is just up for grabs. It is simply a matter, as they say, of how you look at it."

In other words, it seems the intellectuals have failed us.

How can we talk about issues, debate points of view, engage in any kind of public conversation if there is no agreement on reality independent of human whim, desire, interest, folly, fear and ignorance? The intellectuals are suppose to talk about our country's important issues. Instead, for the past 30 years, they've turned inward, addressed themselves, left the pulpit to the pundits and undermined our ability to talk coherently, objectively and constructively about the things that matter most.

The failure of the intellectuals, some say, has lead to America's cultural and political decline. Dana Gioia, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, noted in a widely read speech to graduates at Stanford University in June that such decline has occurred even as our economy has flourished and renewed itself since the '60s.

" ... surely artists and intellectuals are partly to blame. Most American artists, intellectuals, and academics have lost their ability to converse with the rest of society. We have become wonderfully expert in talking to one another, but we have become almost invisible and inaudible in the general culture."

Gioia continued:

"This mutual estrangement has had enormous cultural, social, and political consequences. America needs its artists and intellectuals, and they need to reestablish their rightful place in the general culture. If we could reopen the conversation between our best minds and the broader public, the results would not only transform society but also artistic and intellectual life."

In 1963, the novelist and chemist C.P. Snow wrote a book that provided a vision of just the kind of intellectual transformation that Gioia talks about. It was called "The Two Cultures: A Second Look," a follow-up to his 1959 book "The Two Cultures." In the first book, Snow talked about the division between literary intellectuals and scientists, how each didn't understand the other. In the second book, he envisioned a middle way, a "third culture" that was a consensus in which intellectuals talked with scientists, scientists to intellectuals, feeding the expertise and creativity of each other.

But that never happened.

Act 3: Being replaced by scientists

"The traditional American intellectuals are, in a sense, increasingly reactionary, and quite often proudly (and perversely) ignorant of many of the truly significant intellectual accomplishments of our time. Their culture, which dismisses science, is often nonempirical. It uses its own jargon and washes its own laundry. It is chiefly characterized by comment on comments, the swelling spiral of commentary eventually reaching the point where the real world gets lost."

Those are the words of John Brockman, author, impresario and book agent for Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker, writing on his website, Edge. Note such words as "reactionary," "nonempirical," "the real world gets lost."

In 1996, Alan Sokal did something that illustrated just how far the real world had gotten lost in the hyper-jargon of literary theory. A physicist at New York University, Sokal submitted a paper to Social Text, an academic journal devoted to the discussion of postmodern literary theory. In it, he argued that quantum gravity is a social construction with profound political implications.

In other words, it was utter nonsense. I'm not really sure I've paraphrased the paper well. But it doesn't matter, because the point is that Social Context thought he was serious, lending credence to suspicions that such things as honesty and truth don't matter. As Sokal wrote in an article in Lingua Franca explaining his "experiment":

In the first paragraph I deride "the dogma imposed by the long post-Enlightenment hegemony over the Western intellectual outlook": that there exists an external world, whose properties are independent of any individual human being and indeed of humanity as a whole; that these properties are encoded in "eternal"' physical laws; and that human beings can obtain reliable, albeit imperfect and tentative, knowledge of these laws by hewing to the "objective'" procedures and epistemological strictures prescribed by the (so-called) scientific method.

Why did Sokal do this? To make a point:

... What concerns me is the proliferation, not just of nonsense and sloppy thinking per se, but of a particular kind of nonsense and sloppy thinking: one that denies the existence of objective realities, or (when challenged) admits their existence but downplays their practical relevance. At its best, a journal like Social Text raises important questions that no scientist should ignore -- questions, for example, about how corporate and government funding influence scientific work. Unfortunately, epistemic relativism does little to further the discussion of these matters.

In short, my concern over the spread of subjectivist thinking is both intellectual and political. Intellectually, the problem with such doctrines is that they are false (when not simply meaningless). There is a real world; its properties are not merely social constructions; facts and evidence do matter. What sane person would contend otherwise? And yet, much contemporary academic theorizing consists precisely of attempts to blur these obvious truths -- the utter absurdity of it all being concealed through obscure and pretentious language.

Social Text's acceptance of my article exemplifies the intellectual arrogance of Theory -- meaning postmodernist literary theory -- carried to its logical extreme. No wonder they didn't bother to consult a physicist. If all is discourse and "text,'' then knowledge of the real world is superfluous; even physics becomes just another branch of Cultural Studies. If, moreover, all is rhetoric and "language games,'" then internal logical consistency is superfluous too: a patina of theoretical sophistication serves equally well. Incomprehensibility becomes a virtue; allusions, metaphors and puns substitute for evidence and logic. My own article is, if anything, an extremely modest example of this well-established genre.

Postmodernism had already been under attack by right-wing jeremiahs like Alan Bloom in "The Closing of the American Mind." What Sokal's experiment showed, however, was that postmodernism is not just a tool for exposing the power structures of the status quo, to be naturally attacked by defenders of that power, but also, at its core, a poor and perhaps even harmful foundation for intellectual inquiry.

While the editors of Social Context, including the luminous scholar Andrew Ross, author of the near-impenetrable tome, "No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture," were busy accepting a hoax as serious scholarship, John Brockman was getting to work communicating with real people about things that really matter.

According to this piece in the London Guardian titled "The new age of ignorance," Brockman has done more than anyone to break down C.P. Snow's divide. But instead of encouraging literary intellectuals to communicate with scientists and then in turn communicate what they find to an engaged, educated reading public, Brockman has devised a "Third Culture" that doesn't need any help thanks.

"'The Third Culture' consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are," he writes on his website, Edge.

He continued:

The role of the intellectual includes communicating. Intellectuals are not just people who know things but people who shape the thoughts of their generation. An intellectual is a synthesizer, a publicist, a communicator. In his 1987 book "The Last Intellectuals," the cultural historian Russell Jacoby bemoaned the passing of a generation of public thinkers and their replacement by bloodless academicians. He was right, but also wrong. The third-culture thinkers are the new public intellectuals.

In short, the scientists don't need the intellectuals anymore.

They're doing it themselves.

The Guardian article also notes that Ian McEwan is one of the few novelists to contribute to the Edge's ongoing debates and that he suggests the project is not so far removed from the "old Enlightenment dream of a unified body of knowledge, when biologists and economists draw on each other's concepts and molecular biologists stray into the poorly defended territory of chemists and physicists."

Why can't literary and aesthetic intellectuals talk like this anymore?

Act 4: The new intellectuals

Brockman, via the Edge and the Edge Reality Club, a kind of scientist's salon, is doing wonders for advancing the national conversation about science and scientific thinking. There are more magazines devoted science than ever more, more hunger for science and more books about science, even some that advance atheism.

But what about the literary and aesthetic intellectuals? What about them? They are around, but their influence seems to be shrinking even more drastically thanks to shrinking exposure given to them by Big Media, especially newspapers.

Book sections have traditionally been the forum for such conversations and we all know where these are going: newspapers in LA, Chicago, Minneapolis, Raleigh and Atlanta have all either sacked their books editors, reduced their book pages, consolidated them or even moved them from their historical place on Sundays.

Newspapers, in short, are not going to cut it. So what to do?

Perhaps an answer can be found in a new grassroots publication in Connecticut. Called the New Haven Review of Books, the publication is the result of numerous writers in that city who believe someone has to pick up where the newspapers have left off.

As Mark Oppenheimer, a former editor of the New Haven Advocate and author of "Knocking on Heaven's Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture," writes, these are times that require innovative thinking by innovative people who live just about everywhere, not just in LA and New York.

In an age of shrinking book-review holes in newspapers, we're going to have to find new ways to get the word out about great books. Some of those ways will be local, and small in scale. We may never publish another issue of the New Haven Review (our motto is "Published Annually at Most"), but by just publishing once, we've made a statement in support of literary culture. Wouldn't it be cool if other small- and medium-sized towns -- Austin, Des Moines, Albany, etc. -- decided they wanted local book reviews, too? [italics mine] Maybe such reviews would feature local writers doing the reviewing, the way ours does, or maybe they would feature reviews of books by local authors. Either way, they would be reminders that major urban publications do not have to be the sole instruments for book reviewing.

And that leads us to the second statement that even one issue of a small, local book review makes: there are writers everywhere. Just here in New Haven and the surrounding towns we managed to round up Alice Mattison, Bruce Shapiro, Debby Applegate, Deirdre Bair, Jim Sleeper, Amy Bloom, and a couple dozen other greats. Many of us have never even met one another. We don't have a literary "scene" in this modest city; there is no cocktail-party circuit. But there are writers.

This model won't replace the big-city, big-time book reviews; we still need them. And unless some angel comes along to fund another issue, this may be the last you hear of the New Haven Review of Books. But we're in an age of renewed attention to localism and regionalism, and book reviews -- like farmers' markets, or even local currencies -- can do their part.

Localism and regionalism: Where to find the new literary and aesthetic intellectuals.

Re-posted from Flyover.

Comments (272)

Showing 1-25 of 272

I heard that it will be going down today at 5PM, no more 96Wave!!!No more live jocks, just some guy named "Chuck", another generic voice,for such a unique city.I bet Chuck records his stuff from some place like New York City,without ever once stepping foot in the, "Holy City". Is this really taking place? How many of us have grown up with Wave? But really, how many of us have not even listened to Wave in the past year? Isn't it kind of funny that over a year ago 96Wave was featured in Rolling Stone magazine? And now they have to switch to an entirely new format of music? Why would you change the format and kill an "iconic" Charleston staple? That just sounds like bad management,but hasn't that been the rumor over at Apex Broadcasting for sometime now? Just about two months ago,they changed their upstart Charleston entertainment publication,Graffiti, to a music magazine-but with no real local articles.Some might consider it's use better fit for packing material. They have made all of their morning shows,syndicated. What was their slogan for some time,"locally owned,locally operated".Do some digging and you will find that Apex Broadcasting's corportae office is in Alabama. That's not local, and I even think Miss Teen SC can tell you that without looking at a map. When somebody asked you,"what radio staions are cool, here", the response was Wave. Wave played in just about every bar and cool hangout around town thru the 90's and even up until about a year ago. They have had some real cool personalities; Stupid Mike,Dick Dale,Critic, Woody, Storm and Kenny. The writing was on the wall when we all woke up one morning to heavy doses of "Free Beer and Hot Wings" ,Lancer, Wendy and Myspace Nick(who could forget Ballards back and forth with those immature kids- if you are in the public eye, you allow yourself to be judged by everyone,if you like it or not)followed up with, what some might say locally, a rip off of 98X. I guess we lost 96Wave to the "man". It sure does suck when those corporate bastards come in and screw things all up. Goodbye 96 Wave.You got me laid-on a few occassions after Wavefests, you got me good and drunk- a few times, you introduced me to some cool new bands(not of late though),we even got high together at the beach - a few times, you helped me through the late night cram sessions before finals- a few times, and you even helped me get some exercise on your "pub crawls" - a few times. This feels like, when your parents get divorced. Hi son, let me introduce you to my new "friend", his name is CHUCK. And all's you really want to say is-" I don't care who you are, you are not my Wave, you are just the station who is on my fucking preset one,now!" Thanks again Apex Broadcasting for bringing so much joy to our lives since you have entered it.Please back up your bags and hop on I-26 west.And don't stop till you hear your cousins mating call back in Bama.

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Posted by Craig O on August 31, 2007 at 2:50 PM

I had my fingers crossed that it was just a joke,but it is a reality. Somebody should for sure lose their job over this decision. Their GM is listed as Chris Johnson. If this guy is responsible for the decisions that Apex Broadcasting has made(and I am sure he is being the GM) he should be forced to walk around downtown, as the people of Charleston tar and feather him. Please,please Apex Broadcasting pack your bags and get out of town and don't leave anything behind. And take the dummie with egg on his face for thinking this was a good move. Well at least the City Paper has found their sponsor for the next Gay issue. "You know how I know you are gay? ... You listen to 96.1 Chuck FM"

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Posted by Craig O on August 31, 2007 at 4:15 PM

This has to be the most dissapointing and outragous stunt a radio staion has ever pulled. There was no warning at all, just got in my truck after work, and come 5pm there was a repeating long version of Charles in Charge. I hate you Apex, what you have done is ruin a legendary Charleston station. I will never listen to your station again, it has been removed from my presets all together. In the long run I know that doesn't matter, but we already have stations in Charleston like "Chuck", but there was no comparison to 96 wave. (other than dirt rock happy 98x). Give me back my Free Beer and Hot Wings, critic, and Wendy. This change in format doesn't even make sense. How many years has this station been 96wave? Dear "Chuck", I hope this station fails miserabaly. R.I.P. 96wave....the only station that came close to playing good music in "chucktown".

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Posted by Rob, long time listener on August 31, 2007 at 4:24 PM

Wow. It seems it really happened. Just tuned in today (Fri. Aug. 31) around 5:15 p.m. and heard Dead or Alive's "You Spin me Right Round," Poison's "Nothin' But a Good Time," and OMC's "How Bizarre" … and an an familiar voice saying "Ninety-six point one: Chuck F.M." How bizarre.

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Posted by T. Ballard Lesemann on August 31, 2007 at 4:25 PM

It appears that this change was in result to the ratings for the station getting severely decimated (check http://www.radioandrecords.com/RRRatings/DefaultSearch.aspx and then type in Charleston in the search box)... from a 2.5 rating to a 1.4 rating... and "variety hits" as the format is called, seems to be all the rage now... so, we'll see how long this lasts...

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Posted by Joseph W. on August 31, 2007 at 4:54 PM
Posted by Ash K on August 31, 2007 at 5:02 PM

R.I.P. Wave...Chuck just lost another long time listener here.

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Posted by SummerGirl on August 31, 2007 at 5:12 PM

Is this all a big joke? What was that crap I just listened to coming home from work. I was expecting Wendy, Lance, the Critic, or even Uncle Miles to come on and have a good laugh telling me it was all a big joke. Reading this thread makes me sad. This can't be true. Even after the last year when wave sounded more like 98x, it still was the best station in Chucktown (sorry bad use of words here). After listening to the filth that was on I changed it to 100.5 which is my third choice in radio and guess what? Cracker's "Low" was on and many memories came ruching back to me. To hear Cracker you go to 96wave and the Windjammer. This is a disgrace! Nobody at the station knew about this? Wendy telling me that Flyleaf was playing at the Jammer in a few weeks, was all false? How long has Wave know about this? I want f'in answers and it better be on the web, b/c there is no way I am tuning into 96.1 Chuck. When friends from out of town used to come and visit me, I would play 96wave. I wouldn't say anything for a few songs and 9 times out of 10 my out of town friends would say something like, "wow what radio station is this?" I was proud to have 96wave as my radio station. Now this Chuck is awful. I guess I should have gone to more 96wave outings. A SAD DAY in Charleston Indeed!

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Posted by Stuart on August 31, 2007 at 6:30 PM

It doesn't surprise me, but makes me sad, nonetheless. Not as a former Wave alumni, but as a Charlestonian. Wave was THE cool station for years, although admittedly, this hasn't been true for some time. When they switched out bands like Drive by Truckers for bands like Flyleaf a few months back, Wave had become a shell of it's former self. Critic was the station's last saving grace (Bryant Stowe kept the old flame alive as well) and represented the last remnant of what Wave used to be. No more. Jack

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Posted by Jack Hunter on August 31, 2007 at 6:47 PM

This is bullcrap. I know Nick from 96 wave from High School, and he said that this isn't a joke. He also said he didn't even know until 10:30 am today. I don't know, but I'll be pissed either way...especially if it's not a joke. What about Free Beer and Hot Wings? Those guys are awesome, and they BETTER not stop being an affiliate for them. What are rock fans going to listen to when F**k FM is playing Madonna...or Elton John?!?! 98x doesn't come in on my radio, so I'm left out in the cold. OMG...the unimaginable horror! This is the worst decision in the history of this city. I've listened for a few minutes, and it's already unbearable. I have not heard one single song that 96 Wave used to play...only old 70s and 80s "hits."....and one Hootie and the Blowfish song. The only reason that I will ever listen to this station again, is if Free Beer and Hot Wings are still on. If not, then goodbye completely. Looks like I'll have to buy an ipod and an ipod ready radio...or XM radio. Thanks a pantload, Chuck FM. Oh...and that's possibly the worst radio station name I've EVER heard.

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Posted by Paul on August 31, 2007 at 6:51 PM

I agree with you Jack. No more Drive by Truckers, Widespread, Drivin and Cryin, etc. but what they wre currently palying is way better than 96.1 Chuck. You still got some occasioannal Beastie Boys, and Uncle Miles still has good stuff on the nineties at noon. Not to mentions Critics Choice on Sunday. A disgrace.

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Posted by Stuart on August 31, 2007 at 6:52 PM

Lancer does the nineties at noon. My mistake.

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Posted by Stuart on August 31, 2007 at 6:54 PM

It all started when Storm and Kenny were fired.

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Posted by Zachariah on August 31, 2007 at 6:57 PM

Amen Zachariah.

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Posted by Paul on August 31, 2007 at 7:04 PM

Don't blame the crew, Nick. First they got rid of the morning show without a note, then they phased out stupid Mike, then changed the format of the station from our favorite alt music to "rock", thus removing some of the sweeter sounds we were accustomed to. To do this to the public with nary a word to the masses who rely on 96 Wave to entertain them during the morning commute, the evening commute, and those of us who listen from work and at home is a tragedy. I honestly don't know what to listen to. Certainly not another Apex station. The least they can do now is issue an explanation or apology. I thought that when they got rid of the morning show, and noone will publicly say what happened there, only that it was "unfortunate".

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Posted by Charles on August 31, 2007 at 7:23 PM

When I was growing up I used to go play basketball at the school down the street from my house. This was always an interesting exercise as it combined the neighborhood populace of rednecks, frat boys, professional wiggers and other assorted suburban white teens in a united front against the hordes of the surperior black kids and middle aged gym rats that would swoop in nightly to show the kids how to properly "ball". Eventually I would be partially responsible for the tearing down of this court, when I attacked Trey Demory with a baseball bat after he threatened my little brother, but that was many moons after this court became the first place I ever remember hearing 96wave. In those days (I'm talking early 90s here) most mainstream music was atrocius. This of course is no different from now, excluding the fact that at the time the "kids" were convinced they were riding the "wave" of an emerging high art form known as "alternative", which to be honest was less a genre, than it was an anti-genre, namely the alleged opposite of the previously mundane, quasi-pop, prog rock (is anything progressive good?) scene that had made Phil Collins an international superstar (for the time I will leave aside cock rock/hair metal, which was for the most part excellent and also had far more influence on "alternative" than the Cobains and Corgans of the world would ever willfully admit). At the forefront of this "wave" locally was..well..96wave. As one of the younger amateur bball sensations, who for the most part was only interested in country, folk and a couple of punk bands I had stumbled upon by virtue of knowing the appropriate freaks in school, I was relatively unfarmilar with this grunge/alternative uprising...96wave changed this for me and forever changed music in my eyes. From the first time I heard the station I had found an apt enemy for my adolescent angst and contrived non-conformist nonsense. 96wave became my musical heresey..and God bless them for it. Of course like all the best blasphemies, this was partially based on self denial. I loved Green River and Mudhoney from the first time I heard them. I hated Pearl Jam, but always thought it was neat that the Wave claimed they had played tracks from Ten before any other major station in the country (of course this was likely bullshit). When my evil comrade somehow used his connections at Cats Music to score a "select set" I just happened to be tuned into the hated station and enjoyed the Jim Carroll Band with approxiamately 500,000 other Charlestonians curious as to who David Gobert was. There were antics galore. One time David and I called up 96wave and he threatened to torch himself on the frontsteps of his ex-girlfriends home if she didn't take him back. Another time I called up to talk to The Critic and when the person working the phone asked me to hold I promised to burn down the building. Things like this seemed funny at the time (hell they still do). We were picking on the "alternative" station because we were too punk for our own good. Years later this same station would host in house shows dedicated to local music and genres I was more receptive to. About ten years ago I tuned in one night and heard my friends in Unjust chatting with a dj. Though I missed the meat of it, the station also hosted my pal The Southern Avenger for nearly nine years, an unthinkable activity for most rock stations in the country. Even after the Avenger was let go and The Critic was purged, they had the bad fortune of hosting my old band The Cancer for an in studio event. In sum 96wave was a great anti-hero for a little punk rock asshole. It was a worthwhile piece of garbage, on a shitstained campus of local media, that now has few fecal free locales. Raped by corporate nonsense, and foolish business decisions, the "local" of the station has been effectively stabbed to death in its bed..as of today it is literally not 96wave anymore..it is 96chuck, ironic because it is a totally unauthentic expression of Charleston at this point. It makes me sad to think that other emerging punkers will not have such a fun target to blame for all of the towns musical ills, but what can be done? We won David...the king is dead..long live the technocratic, automative, soulless King.

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Posted by dylanwaco on August 31, 2007 at 7:46 PM

8 months wiping chris j's ball sweat....yea...you let Charleston down nick.....awesome that you didn't see it coming....Wave has been dying a slow death for four years....and if you didn't get it...you were the only one. Ballard, wasn't he the kid that tried to take you to task (unsuccesfully) a few months ago??? Interest of full disclosure, I worked for WAVE and now work for the compitition.

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Posted by Joel on August 31, 2007 at 7:50 PM

You have to be kidding. Chuck 96.1! WTF Chuck!! 96 Wave has been a part of Charleston as long as I can remember. I associate it with a lot of good times. It WAS Charleston for a long time and the source for some great music and events. Sorry to see it go. If it's ratings that killed the Wave then Chuck should be gone in about 2 weeks. Who's going to listen to that crap. Guess I'll keep listening to my Sirius. Very dissapointed and sad.

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Posted by Jason on August 31, 2007 at 7:55 PM

Joel, Nick didn't let anyone down. The wheels were in motion long before he got there. Yes, Ballard was ultimately right during their little spat (today proved it) but there's nothing dishonorable about loyalty for something you believe in, even in defeat. I've got an office full of Confederate flags to prove it. Nick threw his heart into making Wave work, and took the criticism personally. Haven't we all done this at some point? We all believed in Wave ourselves, back in the day, didn't we? Glad to see your doing well Joel, as well as Bam Bam, Don and the other Wave alumni over your way. Keep up the good work. Jack

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Posted by Jack Hunter on August 31, 2007 at 8:05 PM

I wonder if there will be any local jocks on the air at all — or will it all be piped-in/pre-recorded. That's the econo way, for sure. What will become of the syndicated morning show? And the Sunday morning and evening specialty shows? And the live remotes from the local bars and clubs? This is all pretty damn weird. What a bummer. I think I'll put another early-era R.E.M. album on the home turntable and crack open another microbrew…

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Posted by ballard on August 31, 2007 at 8:08 PM

Ballard, No DJs, other than the occasional chiming in by "Chuck," (some voice-over guy, somewhere). No more morning show. No more remotes. No more Sunday specialty shows (Critic and Cutting Edge). Enjoy your beer. Jack

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Posted by Jack Hunter on August 31, 2007 at 8:11 PM

So much for an icon. When my husband was transferred w/his job, one of the things that upset me was that I had to leave 96 Wave, the station I have listened to since I was old enough to set the dial myself. Sure, I found other stations at our other homes, but none had the same feeling to me as the Wave. I've always just felt like 96 was a little more casual, grass-roots, comfortable than the other stations. Even lately, as they have kind of lost that, they have still seemed more laid back than other stations overall. As soon as my husband was able, he passed up a major promotion so that we could move back home. Sure, it wasn't just for the radio station, but the first thing I did as we hit Charleston on 26 as we came home was reset my radio to 96 Wave. It just felt like home, it felt "right". I have three small children now, and I always just kind of assumed that they, too, would be listening to 96 Wave one day. It's the only station they know, and we regularly rock out in the car and dance (at the command of my two-year-old) to the songs. My husband will occasionally try to change it to talk radio (YUCK!), but he is met with strong resistance, as we all yell out "NOOOOOOOO!" Now, when he tries to change it, I guess we'll have to let him. What else is there to listen to? I guess I'm just glad I got a Zune for Mother's Day. Looks like it will be getting more use than I thought it would! I work in my car in the mornings, though, and I will seriously miss Free Beer and Hot Wings. I love those guys! This is crap. Apex, you SUCK!

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Posted by Christi on August 31, 2007 at 8:11 PM

WOW! What a friggin kick to the groin section. I just thought they were slowly getting things back to normal, guess not. That was one thing I used to always brag about too. "Yea man, we got a great radio station in Charleston, they play The Replacements and turn around to play Zeppelin! Dammit! Well, thanks to everybody who has supported LESLIE there! Sadler

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Posted by Sadler Vaden on August 31, 2007 at 8:24 PM

The people in charge obviously had no idea how to format the music. I was just telling my wife last night after coming back from Greenville how I got to hear rock again while I was up there. I miss the old wave, but even the most recent wave was better than listening to obscure hard rock on 98. This truly sucks. 96 had gone through lulls in music quality in the past, but they always came around. The new 'be all things to everyone' station sucks. Have the guts to pick a format. Of course I still won't listen unless they bring back the wave.

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Posted by Aron on August 31, 2007 at 8:26 PM

Obscure hard rock on 98X? Yeah, like that obscure band, Disturbed... They're just like the Maltese underground metal scene but American.

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Posted by Ron on August 31, 2007 at 8:37 PM
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