To hear Rob Astorino on WOR radio subbing for Mark Simone, is to glimpse into his world of cynicism, sarcasm, and fear.
We hear it throughout his broadcasts. Fear of “activist judges”, liberals “shoving” opinions in his face, and recently his fear of men marrying robots.
One wonders, does Astorino espouse these other fears because he has a basic performance fear on talk radio? The fear of dead air?
Radio is nothing but sound and dead air has threatened broadcasting for nearly a century. You see the dead air battle in early television shows based on radio broadcasts. This opening of The Goldbergs is all talk, there are no pictures to tell the story.
So Astorino has to race into New York City from his Westchester home, take off his County Executive hat and put on his broadcaster hat. We say “race” by the way, based on Astorino’s own words about speed limits and traffic coupled with blaming everyone in elected office except himself.
In order to win the dead air battle, Astorino must throw out any opinion, deconstructing stories in ways that appeal to listeners’ lower angels. June 29th was a perfect example of this as Astorino praised Donald Trump’s misogynistic tweets.
On talk radio, facts are as much the enemy as dead air – we’re not listening to callers who want to share knowledge, just the opinion of the moment. Facts don’t inspire someone to call in a rant. If that fear-based, tribal part of callers’ brains isn’t triggered, there are no phone calls and Astorino will have to pull the traces of Mark Simone’s show all by himself by nattering on.
Nattering is Rob Astorino’s only weapon against dead air.
Even though, as far as we know, Rob Astorino isn’t punching out of his Westchester County Executive time clock to moonlight as a talk radio host, one should enter into listening to his substitute host gigs with very low expectations.
Still, we were surprised to hear him on April 5th go on about a clickbait story in The Guardian about a Chinese man who created and “married” a robot.
Astorino begins with his usual sarcasm, tying in Mother’s Day with the mother of this man:
And speaking of moms, boy this mom must be so proud of her son. This son in China –Zheng Jiajia I’m not sure I’m pronouncing it right…
He has married…a robot.
(Everyone laughs…laughter continues) I was just lookin’ at everyone shaking their heads like oh my God…yeah. Oh yeah. This must have been such a proud moment for her to see her 31- year-old son marry the robot of his dreams.
He actually built the robot himself. And since he couldn’t find a human spouse…there’s ….there’s what…one point 2 BILLION people in China…he couldn’t find ONE girl, One woman…even a guy that would want to marry him? (laughter) Whoa!!!
It’s sort of touching how naïve Rob Astorino is – that he actually believes this clickbait is a genuine news story and that the laws in China will allow an actual marriage to a robot.
Or is Astorino really that naïve and unsophisticated? Maybe he’s doing something more manipulative and ultimately contemptuous? Maybe he’s turning clickbait into a dog whistle? Calling out the liberal policies he decries regularly and the tribe that wants to fight them. Perhaps even calling out all homophobes who listen, giving them fodder for hate.
More from the April 5th broadcast:
I don’t think they’re having romantic baths together. (laughter) As she’s sparking…Uhm…the whole thing here is…you could see this…now…this is…what’s today’s date…uh…I don’t even know what today’s date is …(rustling papers)
This is the world today. This is the world today.
OK…April 5th. SO April 5th 2000…what year is it? 17? OK, so April 5th 2017, you could see 20 years from now based upon where the courts are going that THIS in America could be a legal marriage at some point.
I’m serious. If the definition of marriage has been changed …and I READ that whole definition of marriage changed by the Supreme Court. It basically said you have the right to love who you want. Or…at some point it will be WHAT you want. And if somebody’s saying “Look, I can’t find a human being that I’m compatible with. I can’t find a woman or a man that I love and so this robot brings me joy. I love the robot.
No, Robert Astorino. Marrying robots or inanimate objects is not what the Supreme Court decision means. And you are an enormous disappointment to Westchester County and your position if you actually believe it. Maybe even more of a disappointment if you don’t.
That equality applies to citizens. Citizens are “persons”. No robot, stapler, or andiron need apply. You can learn about citizens and the 14th amendment here. Or if someone who is friends with Rob Astorino reads this, please send him a copy of this graphic version of the United States Constitution. He may not think he needs it for his job as County Executive but he sure as heck will need it should he run for governor of New York.
The possibility of a man marrying a robot in the United States is as remote as a man marrying a robot in China. Because we’re assuming the laws in China are not reflective of the balance and liberalism – as praised by founding father George Washington – that we find in the United States.
We are not legal experts here at Astorino Watch. But neither is Rob Astorino, the County Executive.
We are not Constitutional law experts either. Neither is Rob Astorino.
We admit that we are not constitutional law experts but Rob Astorino does not.
Rob Astorino simultaneously will not disclose he has no idea what he’s talking about while using WOR and Mark Simone’s audience as a bully pulpit for his ignorance.
Therein lies a serious problem for Westchester County governance: the complete lack of responsibility displayed by Rob Astorino.
In order to win his lonely battle against dead air on radio, Rob Astorino must throw chum into the waters to see who will bite. That bite is in the form of an outraged “man on the street” phone call.
Incidentally, “man on the street”, never the best source for facts. Seriously. Would you walk up to some random person and ask them a question of great importance? “Say random dude, I’ve got cancer. Should I follow the protocol outlined by my oncologist or go to Hawaii and eat almond shells?”
Talk radio call-ins are advice from random people on the street with phones. Nothing more.
Twitter is a little bit like the man-on-the-street phenomenon. Phil Oliva, Rob Astorino’s right-hand man who was caught as the warm-up act for a White Supremacist, posted this tweet in response to Nikki Haley saying she was booed by a crowd gathered for a gay pride parade:
“Now the oppressed have become the oppressors.”
Really, Mr. Oliva? Is this the level of discourse you and Rob Astorino have in your White Plains offices? He concludes that men will be able to marry robots and you conclude booing someone is oppression?
Hear this now, Mr. Oliva: Booing someone may be rude, but it is very, very different from oppression. Have you been to a ball game recently? Are the Mets being “oppressed”? And what’s a good old fashioned Bronx Cheer? Tyranny?
So here’s Rob Astorino’s dilemma: Does he play the fool, ignite the listeners, and make his moonlighting gig on the radio easier? Or does he embody the dignity and responsibility worthy of the office to which he was elected?
And can he figure that out before Westchester voters figure it out?