October 27, 2005

The generous village of Yuwawer

For months now my local NPR radio station (WBUR at Boston University) has asserted in a pre-recorded announcement that they play at least once an hour: "Our support comes from Yuwawer listeners." I imagined this place, some small village or township maybe, out in the Massachusetts countryside, or maybe up in New Hampshire, where the people were extraordinarily generous. Perhaps Yuwawer just happened to have residents who were mainly retired bond traders or Internet billionaires who made their money in the 1990s and got out before the downturn. I had no idea where Yuwawer was, but it seemed that the listeners there gave so much that the rest of us hardly needed to.

Only in the last few days did it finally dawn on me that there was no such place. "Our support comes from you, our listeners" is what they were saying. I got the message. I called the station and pledged. Do likewise. You know you should. The NPR fall fund drive is on now. Go pledge. My Republican friend Paul thinks NPR is outrageously biased in favor of the most extreme liberal Democrat ideas; my anarchist friend Jim thinks NPR is disgustingly subservient to right-wing Republican corporate and political pressures. So it really can't be all that bad, can it? Go to the phone now, and pledge generously. They do need the money. NPR is like Language Log, there to entertain and inform you every day, except that they have serious, major, ongoing staff expenses to cover.

Language Log is in a very different position. It is supported by grants of imagination from linguists across the country, and the construction of our office tower at Language Log Plaza was paid for by a generous contribution from the Yuwawer Retired Billionaires Foundation.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at October 27, 2005 12:28 PM