Sunday, May 13, 2012


There's an article in The New York Times today about Howard Stern, who's cut back on his radio shock-jockery (he's no longer on radio five days a week) and is now a judge on America's Got Talent. To Bill Carter of the Times, Stern said this about dialing down the nastiness:

"It would be really pathetic if I was still in the same space as when I was 20 or 30, when I felt threatened by everyone, and there was no room for anyone else on the radio," he said. "I've come to appreciate other people's talents."

That would include competitors Mr. Stern once eviscerated. "I've actually apologized to some people I was a real jerk to, because I feel ashamed," he said. "I didn't need to be that hungry. There was something going on inside me when I was angry and feeling very threatened and not feeling good about myself."

Is Stern being self-serving, as he shifts gears in his career? I'm sure he is to some extent. But he at least seems to have grasped that people were hurt by things he said. It seems quite possible that he's got sincere regrets. He doesn't just say, as Mitt Romney did when asked about teenage bullying, that he did "stupid things," some of which may have been hurtful or offensive (who can possibly remember?) Stern says flat out that he was a jerk. Stern says that it was unhealthy for him to have been that much of a jerk.

I've never been a Stern fan -- he and I may have happened to agree about a few things, and I've always thought he has serious skills as a comic and broadcaster, but in his heyday I found him far too sexist, homophobic, and racist. (Stern on Rodney King: "He should be beaten every time he reaches for his car keys.") But he comes off here as more of a grown-up, more of a human, than Mitt Romney.


Also see Tommy Christopher on the difference between Barack Obama's feelings about a ten-year-old girl he shoved and Romney's feelings about John Lauber.


Bob Blah Blog said...

Hi. I want you to know that I have been a devoted reader of yours for some time and a devoted listener of Stern for quite awhile.

Stern clearly has evolved into a more thoughtful and empathetic broadcaster over the last several years. Your headline demonstrates you have not been listening to his show. He has defined himself very clearly about his appreciation of the freakish nature of society during his time on Sirius. It's actually quite evolved.

He is clearly in touch with his impulse to be a jerk and how it is neither productive or positive. There is no recent desire to reinvent fact what I find quite compelling about Stern is that there is an ongoing, on-air self evaluation. The only real criticism I have about him is his inability to connect to really good current music. But I will give the guy a break. He is after all 58.

Bob Blah Blog said...

You really ought to listen to his show for awhile before you write "Even Howard Stern"...