My Life as a Media Star

T.A. Barnhart

A week-and-a-half ago, I wrote a piece here in BlueOregon in response to "Justice Sunday 2" (like a movie with a number in its title, a terrible sequel to a bad original idea).  That piece seemed to strike a chord in many people, generating dozens of comments, although by the end of the week, the comments no longer seemed to have much to do with my original topic.  Still, to be able to write something that made a connection with people was fulfilling.

And then Nancy from Detroit got hold of the piece, and that's when it got really interesting.

Nancy is into politics, and she has taken to heart the lessons Paul Wellstone and Howard Dean advocate.  One of these ideas is that you can't always wait for someone to come along and take care of business.  Sometimes you have to be that someone.  Two years ago, while she was living and working in Chicago, Nancy was waiting in vain for someone to step forward and represent the kinds of stands she believed were needed.  So Nancy stepped forward, and she ran for the Democratic nomination.  For the Senate.  The United States Senate.  Nancy clearly suffers no lack of either vision or guts.

However, a good deed never goes unpunished, and Nancy got crushed in the primary.  About a million votes were cast for the seven Democrats, and she got about 15,000.  Running against two Illinois powerhouses did not help, including some guy named Obama.  Nancy never had a chance against Barack, but that's ok.  Winning is nice, but at the end of the day, knowing you did what is right, what you know in your heart you had to do no matter the outcome, that's what lets you hold your head high and keep fighting the good fight.

So with the election over, Nancy took a new job back in her hometown, Detroit.  Nancy Wheeler is a radio talk show host -- I should perhaps mention she announced her candidacy for the Senate on her show in Chicago and immediately got fired (the station never was too hot about her type of politics).  Nancy knows the price of taking a stand.  But the story turns out well for Nancy.  She's back in Detroit, and she does the 6-9 am morning show on WDTW, the Air America affiliate.  That's a good gig, one to be proud of.

I knew none of thie story Monday morning, however.  I had no idea there was anyone named Nancy Wheeler, or that she had run for the Senate or was on progressive talk radio in Detroit.  (Detriot, Michigan, not Oregon; I just want to make that clear.)  But Monday morning, I got an email from her produer, Sidi Henderson (pronounced SEEdee).  Seems Nancy had read my piece in BlueOregon (see paragraph 1), and she had been struck by it.  Why she was reading an Oregon blog from Michigan is beyond me; perhaps she is that kind of political junkie.  Perhaps she googles for "loonie left coast wackjobs".  I don't know, but I do know that when Sidi emailed me and told me Nancy wanted me on her show the next morning, I was overwhelmed.  I was even more overwhelmed when I phoned Sidi and found out it was not a joke.

So Tuesday morning, I was up at 4:45 am waiting for a call from Sidi and my twenty (!) minutes on the Nancy Wheeler show.  I had called my brother the night before -- Aaron is the tv writer for the Kansas City Star and does a fair bit of radio -- and he had given me advice that turned out to be perfect:  Keep my answers short.  So that's what I did, and it went great.  I did not freak, I managed to get over the two little blips where I stopped to "think" for a moment (eek, dead air!), and I had a great time.  They're sending me a cd of the interview, which I'll post elsewhere.  I may not be a media star, but my time on the air was a great experience.  I only wished Nancy's show was streamed so I could listen to her more often. 

And Nancy, if you read this one as well, thanks a lot.  But next time, can I do the afternoon show?

  • H. S. Thompson (unverified)

    Dear Mr. Barnhart,

    Since a crazy woman gave you 20 minutes on a small Detroit radio show in a timeslot when most sane people are asleep, does this mean that your 15 minutes are now up and we won't have to endure your sniveling and whining anymore? Just curious?



  • JJ (unverified)

    Now, Homer:

    Jealousy will get you no-where. Here or in Woody Creek.

    Did you get entrance into the Tent last week? No, you did not, and why is that? Cuz you are a jealous man. Jealous of the peacocks, jealous of your attorney and jealous of Toddy here.

    Did you get to run the Marathon in Hawaii? did not. You were too jealous of Steadman.

    Did you get to pull the cord on the cannon? No, you did not. Not because you were jealous, but because you are not Johnny Depp!

    Todd: play no attention to Homer. He is nursing some issues.

  • H. S. Thompson (unverified)

    Dear JJ,

    I appreciate the wit & humor of your ill-conceived retort. True, I was not at the gonzo mega blast-off on August 20th, but I was at Owl Farm back in June and had my portrait taken there under HST's vulture totems by Woody Creek artist Michael Cleverly for my new CD of original songs by me & my new band called "The Possum Holler Boys Sing Songs About Meat, Guns & Poontang".

    Our CD won't be out for a few month's still but we'll be playing at some of the Ballard bars north of Seattle throughout September. Look for us at Hattie's Hat, Conyer Burne and Club Tractor and at the Kabob House over in Greenwood.

    And as for peacocks and cannons, I have my own, although mine didn't cost $2.5 mil and Johnny Depp didn't pick up the tab.

    I assure you that my failure to appreciate Mr. Barnhart's skewed and over-stewed pontifications has eveything to do with cynical but good-natured raspberry-blowing and nothing to do with jealousy or malice.

    Besides, why would anyone be jealous of a someone who by their own admission isn't getting laid and chose the same denomination and spiritual path as Richard Nixon? Oh yeah, gimme a super-size order of that!!!!

    In past posts, Mr. Barnhart has proudly acknowledged the fact that he's never read any of HST's books and knows nothing about the author other than what he's seen in Doonesbury. (Yes, sad isn't it.) So, it's kinda hard to take him very seriously, or at least as seriously as he appears to take himself.

    I would humbly submit that anyone who proclaims themselves to be a "political junkie" and fan of the DC political machine, yet has never taken the time to read HST's classic "Fear & Loathing On The Campaign Trail 72" is an uneducated and unwashed heathen with perhaps just enough schooling to be dangerous in their ignorance. Think about it.

    I'm glad Mr. Barnhart got his 15 minutes of fame plus 5, and perhaps now, he'll retire into blissful One Hit Wonderland like so many others before him whose names no one can recall now.

    Res Ips,


    "I hate to advocate barbecue, high-powered firearms, self-medication or misspent youth, but they're always worked for me." - Homer S. Thompson

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    Just for the hell of it I Googled "loonie left coast wackjobs," and all I got was this, which was worthwhile:

    So it looks as if blueoregon has some reach beyond Oregon's borders without the help of search engines.

    So good for you, TJ. You are a damn fine writer, too, no matter what Homer Simpson says.

  • (Show?)

    gil & jj

    homer (a false name, i am sure) was sending attack emails to me a few years ago; he has found out i'm writing for BlueOregon so is using it as an opportunity to continue his personal attacks and near-criminal harrassment. i'm not reading his comments, and i filter out his emails (are you listening, capn?); just ignore him. he's got a way with words, but he's solipsistic and pathetically immature. he's not worth any effort. as opposed to the vast majority of BO readers/commentors whose input i do value.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)


    Didn't realize the History here, Todd.



  • H. S. Thompson (unverified)

    Dear Gil & JJ and everyone else,

    I rebuke Mr. Barnhart's malicious slander. I have never in my life sent him or anyone else "attack emails". It's a shame Mr. Barnhart has to stoop to juvenile namecalling and libel instead of simply replying to my comments regarding the topics he so loves to pontificate on.

    Mr. Barnfart has accused me of all kinds of whackjob foolishness when I have done none of those things and he's the one doing the namecalling and indulging in personal attacks.

    True, I have replied with a different and sometimes opposing opinion than Mr. Barnhart to some of the homosexual themed articles he likes to write. But none of my replies have been either "attacks" or "anti-gay".

    I take severe offense at his personal attacks on me, his outright lies, and his inability to debate issues in a civil and educated manner. You wanna see "solipsistic" Mr. Barnhart? Look in the mirror.


    Homer S. Thompson

    PS - Not Hunter Thompson, not Homer Simpson, just plain ol' Homer Thompson, a poor guitar picker from Eugene.

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