As I am off the bike a lot these days (due to my current work location having totally sucky bike-friendly roads around it), I have been listening to a lot of podcasts in the car. One of my favourites, as regular readers might have gathered, is the Shire Network News. I am not going to bother trying to describe their show - I suggest that if you are into listening to an iPod, that you download a show and just listen to it. For a bunch of amateurs, they do an excellent job. They also have an interesting take on things, describing themselves as "flag carriers for western civilisation". That produces some utterly hilarious, very non-PC segments at times - the kind of things that you will never, ever hear on the ABC in our lifetime for instance.
I like that viewpoint. I've seen a reasonable amount of the world, and read a fair amount about the rest of it, and spoken to some very well travelled individuals, and I think western civilisation is the bee's knees. Sorry if that offends some Hutu living in a mud hut somewhere in the jungle, but that's just tough. I don't run around deliberately rubbing our civilisation in the face of others - when I am in another country, I respect their culture, values, religions, mores and so on - but I can't stand it when westerners and non-westerners seek to rubbish our culture.
I don't believe our culture is perfect. But I do believe it is like democracy - the worst form of government, except for all others (I think I didn't quite get that right). We have a flawed culture, but it is a culture that is capable of introspection and change. It is a culture open to debate about its flaws and mistakes. It is worth defending.
Further off to the right is Mark Levin, a very conservative US radio host who puts his shows up as free podcasts. He is very tough on some of his callers - brutal would be the best description. He certainly takes no prisoners. I like his monologues and his philosophy. I'm just glad I listen to it as a podcast - one of his recent podcasts left some of the ads in, and US radio ads are, well, just appalling.
The Levin show is fascinating for one thing that really stands out to me - the politeness and patriotism of heartland America. Listening to his callers is an eye-opener for an Australian (and some of the accents are a hoot). Many also have no problems with saying "God bless you" a lot - something that I only hear over here from my very religious aunt (she also says "praise the Lord" at the end of most sentances). The mindset that comes through is so incredibly different from what we normally get via Hollywood, Letterman and all that other guff that they might as well be calling from Germany. I have experienced some of that America, having done a road trip back in the 1990's through places rarely visited by foreign tourists. Listening to Mark Levin took me back to those road side diners on the trails less travelled. His brand of conservatism makes Malcolm Turnbull look like a commie loving pinko.
Even if it is not your thing, it's worth listening to for the window that it provides into the 48% that thought Obama sucks.