Sarah Vowell should be banned from radio

I am ready to open this can of worms. It’s an ugly can with a torn label. When I open this can it won’t open cleanly. The lid will still be attached and the jagged edges will surely cut the shit out of hand and the worms will twist in their muck and my blood, but here it goes.

Sarah Vowell should be banned from radio.

I know, she’s is a great writer and a great interviewer and all around cool chick, but radio is a medium of sound and the sound of her voice is killing me. Radio personalities should have a smooth voice. Listen to any classic rock DJ, they are the best voices in radio. The soundwaves that flow from their mouths are smooth and long and rounded with deep, deep valleys of bass. Sarah Vowell’s are sharp, jagged and harsh like a bent up cheese grater. The insides of my ears actually get chapped if I listen to her with headphones.

Now, I acknowledge her talent and don’t wish her ill will, I just want her off the airwaves. She is a witty and insightful writer and should certainly pursue that medium for her excellent music reporting. But please, don’t give her a microphone. Just as the old joke goes—That lady has a face made for radio—Sarah Vowell has a voice made for magazines.



20 thoughts on “Sarah Vowell should be banned from radio”

  1. are you crazy? her deadpan makes me feel alive and kicking. i love her voice. it suits her perfectly – what’d you say – jagged? yeah, jagged and sharp, full of “i dont f*** around”, but also a deep joy.

    listen closer, man.

  2. I absolutely LOVE Sarah Vowell, especially her voice. She’s got a cynical overtone that’s absolutely perfect for her line of satire. She’s like a political Daria: her deadpan, cold (almost bitter), wit strike deep at her target. Monotonous? Not really. Consider instead the earlier presented example of the “classic rock DJ” – they sound universally the same. It’s cookie-cutter linguistics, and after a while, it gets really old. Sarah breaks this mold – tuning the radio, she’s quite possibly the easily voice to recognize on the air. She is a rarity, bringing spice to radio, a spice especially needed on the stations, like NPR, she frequents.

  3. Dear Posse,Sarah V. is the only reason I have ever tuned into C-Span for more than 10 sec in my life and I think she is the cutest face and voice to go with a great mind.I never listen to radio,but like seeing her speak on her book tour in Minnesota last night on TV.An interview/talk that took place in NOv. Sarah rules.Yeah for smart eloquent girl Dems…..Craig the Performance Artist

  4. I am in love with Sarah Vowell and that plaintive braying voice of hers. She’s got soul all over and I can’t get enough.

  5. i too, have never watched c-span except while flipping thru channels. I think the voice got my attention and I was caught up in what she was saying and will keep my eyes and ears out for more of her.

  6. Sarah had me hooked the other night on CSPAN. I have never been more engrossed in a dialogue such as hers. I am a married 46 year old female who has 6 nieces her age. I love the unique tone their opinions/conversations take. As I was watching Sarah the other night doing her Tom Landry~~ I couldn’t help it …I just cracked up! She speaks the way my nieces do and I find her insights so useful envisioning the future of my own 3 children ages 20,15,and 13. Being younger, they will(hopefully) be influenced by people with the sharp angles like Sarah Vowell! And here we got stuck with the likes of Bill Mahr. I feel much better now for some reason. Thanks Sarah~~~

  7. I am in love with Sarah V. She is witty and silly and insightful. She has a clear understanding of the topics she discusses, and thank goodness for all of us inarticulate goons who share many of the same opinions, a voice that catches listener’s attention.

  8. Derek, my poor dear misguided soul.

    If cavier (or whatever your favorite food happens to be) came in an ugly package, would you refuse to buy it? Did you bypass the Beatles’ White Album because the cover was boring. Were you one of the millions who voted for Ronald Reagan because his mannerisms were pleasing to you?

    It’s all about content, my dear boy. If you want to hear one of the most compelling, intelligent and thought provoking voices (however shrill it may seem to you) out there today amidst the cachopony of mindane drivel, grit your teeth, buy ear gloss and bear it. If not, enjoy your latest Brittney Spears CD, devour that USA Today, have a long tall drink of mediocrity and try not to complain when the world happens all around you and no-one let you know.

    Speak on, Sarah, speak on.

  9. did anyone who saw sarah vowell on the cspan2 BookTV intervie2w remember any of the names of her favorite authors? i wrote it down but can’t find it now.

  10. Sarah Vowell wrote an article comparing Fight Club to interior decor and totally missed the point of the movie. Search for an article entitled “The Drapes of Wrath,” or go here:

    Now, before you praise someone for the quality of their content, actually think about that content first. Her arguments regarding the movie aren’t logical:

    “One of the most horrifying aspects of Fight Club is that the transformation of Norton from nerd to asshole is not motivated by the most proper reason for a young straight man to change his life, which is of course to impress girls.”

    Ok, let’s take for granted that she’s right about that “most proper reason.” She says herself that the transformation is NOT motivated by that reason, so instead of questioning what the real reason was, she delves into examples of how owning nice things is preferable than rejecting nice things. The point of Fight Club was that the things we own end up owning us.

    Maybe I’m taking her views out of context, but from what I’ve seen, she might not be doing enough research on her topics before she forms opinions of them. Don’t ban her from radio due to her voice, ban her from radio due to her content.

  11. It’s a bit disturbing finding yourself watching the Book Channel probably a result of being in radio for the past 30 years in the wilds of Montana and Wyoming. I only recall her giving her favorite web sites. I find her voice equal in character to the old radio role of “Our Miss Brooks”. Her brains make her very sexy and her wit is pure delight. She lives alone? What a loss!

  12. Sarah lives alone? Would she like to become my daughter-in-law? She’s wonderful ( and I love her voice, her delivery, and her content).

  13. Good Lord people. This discussion is still going on? I’d forgotten I’d even written this.

    Seems some of you missed the point though. I agree that she’s witty and smart and interesting and cool and all that jazz. I get it, I even said so in my post. I don’t happen to think she has the most soothing voice, and when your medium is sound, that can get a bit irritating. That’s all.

    By the way, you don’t have to take everything so literally. I don’t actually think the US government should ban her from the airwaves. Lighten up. Also, Rob, I can’t help but hear your post in my head with the stereotypical NPR voice. Perhaps it’s your condescending tone, eh?

  14. I HAVE SEEN THE C-SPAN show thrice now and also bought the book. I don’t think anyone can fully appreciate her humor and alas her insights unless they see her as on that show, or at least

    hear her deliberate presentation. The book does not do her justice unless you have her”voice” in your head.

    When I first started reading this I thought

    the point was going to be that she should be abnned from radio because it doesn’t do her justice;that I can agree with. Her interaction with the audience was priceless.

    Radio is good , but the c-span show was great. Steve

  15. Late jumping onto this, but flipping through the channels her voice grabbed me in an irritating way. But what she said kept me hooked for the full hour. She spoke at Berklee the next week, but i missed it. The voice is part of her full package, and part of her appeal,it only hurts at first.

  16. Her voice is what attracted me to her. It’s so romantic how such beautiful words can come from an (and no offense, I think she’s great)almost football-player jaw that’s trying so hard to let the words come out.

  17. Sooooothing spritely, smooth as silk, cartoon cutie-pie of a voice that grabs my attention with a certain smug attractiveness and shrewd attention to detail….

    Doesn’t jar or annoy, doesn’t sound in the least bit shrill or unwelcome…

    A joy to listen to… Just heard her on Air America radio today and googled this blog.

  18. I never want to hear or see her again, I hate her more than Margaret Thatcher.

    Sorry to be negative, but she hasn’t got a good face for TV either.

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