Options Aerial View: Playlist from May 26, 2015 Options

Aerial View was WFMU’s first regularly-scheduled phone-in talk show. Hosted by Chris T. and on the air since 1989, the show features topical conversation, interviews and many trips down the rabbit hole. Until further notice, Aerial View is only available as a podcast, available every Tuesday morning. Subscribe to the newsletter “See You Next Tuesday!” and find tons of archives at aerialview.me. (Visit homepage.)

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Options May 26, 2015: You're (Not) Welcome!

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Tonight: You're (Not) Welcome!
A recent story from my hometown - Lindenhurst, on Long Island - is the kind of thing you can't believe still goes on. Ronica Copes was checking her mailbox when she found a note from a racist, suggesting - at the risk of being "rude" - that her family move out of Lindenhurst. Ms. Copes put a picture of the note on her Facebook page and the story soon went viral. Ms. Copes has been all over the news lately discussing this hateful act and its response from Suffolk County officials, her neighbors and concerned strangers. There's been an outpouring of support and - for the most part - the good people of Lindenhurst have been galvanized by this "racist in their midst."

I have a different perspective on this, growing up in Lindenhurst that was even more white than it is now (84%, as the anonymous note-writer points out). The only African-Americans I saw growing up there were the three or four students who attended Lindenhurst High School. They likely lived in Wyandanch, which was the predominantly-black enclave just north of Lindenhurst. Otherwise, my world was filled with many low-intelligence casual racists, the kind of morons who'd drop the "N" word constantly and had no problem telling you jokes involving watermelon, fried chicken and lynching. This was not a racially-enlightened town.
Ronica Copes holds "the note" from a racist.
Veronica Copes and "the note" from a racist. Click for video.
Watching Lindenhurst go through this public hand-wringing got me thinking about who is welcome and who is not, where they are welcome and where they are not. For instance, today is the day in 1830 when the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Indian Removal Act (the Senate had approved previously). The act was signed into law by its creator, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson two days later. Native Americans were to be forcibly relocated (the "Trail of Tears") from the southeastern United States to land west of the Mississippi, where the United States had not yet expanded. Jackson had this to say on the subject: 

"It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community."

Sound familiar? "It will be better for all of us." Maybe that note to Ronica Copes came from Andrew Jackson...

Tonight, I'd like to hear from you about that time you were told "You're not welcome." Who tried to chase you away and what happened? Are you a victim of gentrification, like those folks in the Mission District in San Francisco? Did you move into a neighborhood where very few of the residents look like you? Have you ever been told "Get out if you know what's good for you?" And what about the place you grew up? How racist it is?

Call 201-209-9368 between 6 and 7 PM tonight - it will be better for all of us.
The Secret History of Kindness
Last Week: The Secret History Of Kindness
Thanks to Melissa Holbrook Pierson, who joined me in the studio to discuss her new book The Secret History of Kindness: Learning From How Dogs Learn. We had a wide-ranging conversation about the history of non-punitive training and the work of B.F. Skinner. There was even a call or two from animal owners looking for advice. 

I'm sorry I couldn't get to more of your playlist comments during the show - it's not always possible - but here's a representative sampling:
  • That bit about cats not being trainable amuses me, because cats are used plenty in psychology experiments that depend on training them.
  • Hey Chris! Great conversation! Dogs rule! Cats are cool too! We had a cat that would come running when I whistled a specific 'theme melody' that was reserved just for the cat!
  • gah sorry im late im gonna catch the rest of the archives. are people saying cats are untrainable? both of my cats can sit and shake hands on command (consistently, every night for years) and the smarter one can stand up and also jump in a box on command. cats are smart.
  • Our two new cats fart like dogs. They really stink; we have to light scented candles and turn on a fan. I've had cats all my life, never had cats fart this bad. Otherwise, they are the two greatest cats. Can they be trained not to fart?
  • i got the tip of my nose bitten almost all the way off at my friend's jewelry store. because i hugged (his dog) and he did not trust me yet. hard lesson. still love doggies!
  • Thanks Chris and Melissa. Kindness works.
The Black Hood on Mutual Radio.
The Feeling Is Mutual
I don’t know whether I should try to sleep for two hours or not. I don’t think I can. I won’t be able to get up, despite my alarm clock. I started training last night: overnight shift in the radio division of CBS on West 57th, engineering the Mutual Radio news. It’s a temporary gig, maybe nine months, probably six - no promise of anything beyond that. I got a call from a guy who got my name from a friend. Before I could butter my toast I’m told to come in and train. And I have to join the IBEW. It’s a union shop. Because it’s a union shop it’s also the highest paying job I’ve ever held: on the over-night shift I’ll earn roughly $65 an hour.
I went in from 1:15 AM to 8:15 AM. It’s my job to run the board, mixing the announcer’s voice with the acts and nat. sound. Acts are actualities, short reports from the scene or soundbytes of politicians and celebrities and authority figures. Nat. sound is natural sound, sounds from the scene, people screaming, brakes squealing, guns firing, etc. All this stuff is culled by cute girls and boys fresh out of journalism school and recorded onto carts. Carts are cartridges, the same size and shape as 8-tracks but made to cue up to inaudible tones. Then they can be fired precisely and - if you’re reading the script - in the right order. It’s not as easy as it sounds. When you fuck up, you fuck up across four or five hundred radio stations and on the Armed Forces Network. Then you have to write a trouble report in triplicate.
I was dragging my ass when I got home. I also left my MetroCard at work, which means I had to head over to the Italian Social Club on my block to get change for my bus ride in tonight. I stood over some goombah until he broke a twenty for me. The Italians have put in a pool table and a big screen TV. They arranged some plush dark green leather couches around the TV. On the big screen was a show in Italian. I could make neither heads nor tails of it but seemed to be a dance competition. Hot Italian chicks in skimpy outfits shook their money-makers. They looked good to me.
These Italian guys got it figured out. They get away from the gals, have a few drinks, play some cards, watch some TV, play some pool - who knows? They relax, speak Italian to each other, have a good time. I wanted to join them but picked up my money, said “Ciao” and beat it out of there.
I board the bus around 11:40 PM, get into the city by 12:30 AM, walk up one block from the Port Authority, get on a city bus, go uptown a ways, switch buses, go crosstown a ways and then - boom, I’m at work.
I’m being trained by a bitter cripple. I don’t know if “bitter cripple” is the right term these days. It’s probably insensitive. But if you ever met Andrew you’d call him a bitter cripple, too. He’s probably the most bitter cripple I’ve ever met. Surely, he’s the most bitter cripple to ever train me on the job. I’ve been trained by emotional cripples before but never an actual, bitter cripple.
Andrew stands about five-foot three or four. That’s enough to be bitter about. Any guy five-foot three or four is automatically bitter, right? But Andrew is not only short, Andrew is short because he’s crippled. His legs are all bent up. There’s something wrong with them.
He reminds me of this kid I grew up with - Michael - who had Spina Bifida. It caused his body to bow. He had a bent back and when he ran it was the strangest sight. He was a nice kid but knew he was different, a freak. All the kids let him know. Me too. We jeered, “Banana Back! Banana Back!” It was the cruelest thing. I was nine and knew Michael would not grow up to be a happy adult. I knew he’d never fit in, would always be an object of easy ridicule. Hell, that’s one of the purposes cripples serve: to make the rest of us feel superior.
Andew makes me feel superior. He’s almost Quasimodo, this guy. As he hobbles around the studio, I imagine him moaning, “The bells! The bells!” He hobbles and bitches while he does. Andrew hates just about everything: “Yeah, I used to do college radio...” he said to me, after I mentioned my talk show on a local station, “...but I got thrown off by this bastard. After fifteen years, this bastard threw me off. I did a fifties and sixties show - played nice stuff, stuff people like - but I got thrown off because the new management didn’t think I had enough listeners. I hate that guy.” He segued from how much he hated this to how much he hated that with such ease that I found myself so absorbed I could barely follow the training.
“I’m forty. I live with my mother - she’s eighty-two and has Alzheimer’s - in the East Village. I’ve been there eighteen years. I’ve been here for sixteen - 1982 I got this job.” Andrew does his work with remarkable skill. He does it as only a man who’s been doing the same thing for sixteen years can. He flips levers, spins dials, punches buttons all while telling you how the new traffic woman on the morning show is “...much better looking than that pig who used to be on there. Man, she was ugly.” He says this while wearing a greasy baseball cap pulled down over his unwashed hair, his seaside T-shirt with a stupid saying covered in dandruff, while stinking of cheap soap and medicine. I can’t sit too near because I get a big whiff and he smells bad. He scratches his mangy beard, takes off his glasses, rubs the bridge of his nose, looks at his glasses, cleans them and smells bad the whole time.
I - of course - will never point this out to Andrew. That would be rude.
Andrew got a little miffed with me when I answered his question, “You like sports?” in the negative. I wasn’t THAT negative, actually. I said, “I can take them or leave them.” And I can. “Seems most people into public radio don’t like sports. Most people into alternative stuff don’t like sports.” Andrew huffs. Then “I don’t mean that as an insult.”
“I never really got a taste for sports but I follow certain teams.” I try to weasel out. Andrew doesn’t seem appeased. Joking, I add, “What do you think of the New York Liberty?” (the woman’s basketball team). “They’re dykes. A bunch of lesbians. I’ll watch them on the TV but I wouldn’t got to a game. I don’t go for all that homosexual stuff.” Andrew the Bitter, Smelly, Homophobic Cripple. On women: “Fuckin’ cunts. Looks and money, that’s all they care about.” Southerners? “A bunch of fucking hicks.” Blacks? “The lazy fuckin’ niggers never have to work around here.” Jews? “Cheap fuckin’ kyke bastards, me included.”
At this point, you may be wondering why I’m doing this job. Why does anyone do any job? For shelter. For food. And this job is the highest-paying I’ve ever had. Goddamn Union Wages. It pays so well I’ll put up with anything to make this kind of money. Even Andew the Bitter, Smelly, Homophobic, Misogynist, Racist Self-hating Jew Cripple can’t dissuade me. It is a Union position and if you work the overnight you can actually sleep on the job. I did.
It was my first night and Andrew saw I was tired. “Why don’t you go into the lounge and lay down for awhile?” he suggests. “Really?” I say, never having actually slept on the job. “Yeah, go ahead. I’ll come wake you in two hours.” he offers.” Thanks,” I say. Is he being generous? or does he just not want me around? Or will he ask me for a favor in return, down the road? Who cares? I’m sleeping on the job!

I try to find my way to the lounge but get lost in the corridors. I pass many doors leading to the 60 Minutes set. On the doors are signs reading AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY, beneath the famous stopwatch. I eventually find my way back to Studio A and ask Andrew for more directions. He’s fast asleep. I poke him several times - hard. He won’t wake up. I wander out again and eventually find the dark, quiet room. It’s got a low, long, comfy couch and I lay out for two blissful hours of Mike Wallace investigative dreams.
When I wake up, I go back inside and sit with Andrew some more. He’s still asleep.
I won’t wake him.
Upcoming Chris T. Stuff
Saturday, May 30
Come and see me at the Asbury Park Punk Rock Flea Market.

Held in the historic Asbury Park Convention Center, the Punk Rock Flea Market is sponsored by Hold Fast Records and features a live DJ (spinning actual 45s!) and lots of comic books, T-shirts, collectibles, antiques, vintage clothing and - of course - vinyl.

Find me in the entry way, off to the right, at tables 40 and 41. Look for the golden tableclothes!

After the Flea Market, stroll the Asbury Park boardwalk all the way to the huge Ocean Grove Flea Market on Ocean Pathway!
Coney Island Documentary
Coney Island Documentary from 1940.
Saturday, June 20
Have you made your plans for this year's Mermaid Parade yet? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! If you're hoping to march, sign up NOW. If you'd like a decent view spot, get there EARLY on Sat., June 20!

I'll be in my usual spot on Surf Ave., standing on a bally stage behind the new Mermaid podium. If you can, come by and say "Hello!"

The parade begins at 1 PM and all the info can be found at coneyisland.com. See you there!

Listen to this show: | Add or read comments

Obligatory Throwback Pic
Tsakis Kids at Frontier Town.
Circa 1966, at Frontier Town, near Lake George.
L - R: Me, Joanie (RIP), Indian, Mario (RIP), Marc, Diana
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Listener comments!

  Tue. 5/26/15 6:06pm Chris T.:

Anyone out there?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:08pm Marcel M:

Ah ha!

There is no link off the main playlist area thing.
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:08pm SeanG:

The playlist link is not on the home page
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:08pm Marcel M:

Hi Son.

A good friend of mine is from Lindenhurst. Been out there a few times.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:09pm Marcel M:

Chris, tell the people to go down to the schedule list and click the playlist there.

And hey! Give us recluses a break!
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:11pm SeanG:

onanistic shut-ins unite!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:11pm Marcel M:

Say word!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:11pm Marcel M:

I think I took it further son. Haha.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:11pm Marcel M:

(not that I don't call)
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:11pm Ken From Hyde Park:

I went down to the bottom of the main page and clicked on the ChrisT link and that had the link to this here playlist.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:12pm Marcel M:

Grey Recluse. A friend of mine was told by the Drs that he may loose his leg after being bit by one. He had a head full of acid when he received this news.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:13pm Marcel M:

My old boss used to say, "Yeah... I hung out in NYC when the snow was dirty..."
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:14pm SeanG:

Marcel, that's a helluva story
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:15pm Marcel M:

There is more to it Sean G! He was at a festival and then drove himself to the hospital. I'll end it there to keep it short but the ending is happy.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:16pm Cecile:

WOW. That's awful.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:18pm Cecile:

Although we actually got an anonymous hate letter because we weren't keeping the house up to the standards of the previous owners. Amazing.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:18pm Marcel M:

A friend's band had a pretty racist experience in Bethpage when we played a show out there. Is that near Lindenhurst?
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:19pm SeanG:

Hey Chris, ever read Black Cracker by Josh Alan Friedman?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:19pm Ken From Hyde Park:

The authorities found DNA on the pizza and/or pizza box from the DC mansion killer. I wonder if the sender of this letter left any DNA on it?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:21pm Marcel M:

Oops actually I confused it with another show, that racist thing DID happen in Lindenhurst at a show.
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:22pm SeanG:

America is a paradise of violence
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:23pm JakeGould:

FWIW, the playlist link isn’t on the homepage.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:23pm Marcel M:

White people entering neighborhood at light speed... in five.... four... three...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:24pm JakeGould:

@MarcelM: There are two areas I realized had hardcore racists in NYC growing up: Long Island and Greenpoint.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:27pm Marcel M:

@Jake: I also have had hardcore rascist experiences at a weird bar we played in Greenpoint, Tommy's Tavern.

Also, I used to live in Queens... met with a lot of it there. Not against me but more like, "Hey your white... X race is so X, eh?!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:31pm ikє:

@Jake, you mean Long Island City?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:31pm JakeGould:

Greenpoint had (has?() issues. As a Polish-Jew I know there were 100% no Polish Jews my family knew anyone Greenpoint. My dad—a Polish-Jew—worked in Greenpoint/Williamsburg, but spent no time there. Just saying.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:33pm JakeGould:

@Jake: Nope, Long Island the terminal moraine. And Greenpoint, the home of Polish rednecks… Whoops! Said it! Still like the Polish food there but have some wariness.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:36pm JakeGould:

I meant, “@Ike:” Duh.
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:38pm spodiodi:

They both sounded legit to me. I lived in NC; had a roommate from Wilmington.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:38pm Marcel M:

Oh no....
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:38pm Ken From Hyde Park:

This guy is probably the passenger of the other caller's vehicle.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:40pm milkis:

Just what we need...someone from the East Coast judging accents. We all lose.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:42pm JakeGould:

Those accents sounded fake. It makes no sense that two ultra-thick drawls showed up on a show with this topic and in a row.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:42pm chris:

I lived outside Asheville, NC for several years, as a child. My mom, a speech therapist, taught me to get rid of the accent before we moved to California. She didn't want people to treat me differently, just because of the way I talked. One of my first life lessons in cynicism.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:43pm Mike East:

we don't have accents here. this is how people are supposed to talk. haven't you seen television?
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:43pm spodiodi:

Movies, yes. But those callers were real.
Avatar Tue. 5/26/15 6:44pm MikeY:

When is the new schedule coming out anyone know?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:45pm Mike East:

you made the right call, Chris. Go with your gut. you are in control
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:46pm 1kє:

Now THIS one doesn't sound right to me.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:46pm Marcel M:

How could he run out of range in NC?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:47pm JakeGould:

“What we have heeeyeer is a failure to communicate!”
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:47pm Ken From Hyde Park:

@MikeY - From the main page, the link labeled "Program Schedule" brings you here www.wfmu.org... and it currently says "November 17, 2014 - June 8, 2015." So new schedule must commence June 9.
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:48pm jeff:

what a meltdown...
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:51pm spodiodi:

"There's a Southern accent
Where I come from.
The youngin's call it country.
The Yankees call it dumb."
- Tom Petty, Southern Accents
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:52pm JakeGould:

Chris, eat 50 hard boiled eggs in one sitting and then the Southerners will respect you again.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:52pm JakeGould:

Plastic Jesus: www.youtube.com...
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:52pm spodiodi:

50 eggs could be lethal. Don't do it!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:53pm JakeGould:

@Spodiodi: www.youtube.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:54pm milkis:

Man...this show is a sociolinguist's nightmare
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:55pm Ken From Hyde Park:

As bad as that letter in Lindenhurst is, I think it pales in comparison to what is happening in the Middle East, Nigeria, the Sudan, Burundi, etc. Lots of innocent people are paying a high price for the intolerance of others.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:55pm JakeGould:

The test: Ask the caller if like likes “soda” or “pop.”
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:56pm JakeGould:

@Ken: True, but the issue is we live in a country that is supposed to welcome tolerance. And for us to have that nonsense happen in 2015 and with a black president in office? It’s a shame.
  Tue. 5/26/15 6:57pm spodiodi:

Foreigner request!
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:57pm JakeGould:

He doesn’t know what WFMU is but calls perfectly at the right time at the right moment on a 1 hour show on this station?
Avatar Swag For Life Member Tue. 5/26/15 6:58pm milkis:

What he's describing isn't unique. Sun-down towns are pretty common in the south. It was discussed a lot in the Ferguson riots.
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