This week Newsweek closed out the "Wailing on Dom Imus's Carcass" era - whatever the Virginia Tech tragedy didn't finish off - offering the world their notion of the state of shock-jockeydom.
But shock upon shock, Newsweek either has no comprehension what a shock jock is or they never listened to the radio talk show hosts they listed.
For those uninformed - which now must include Newsweek editors - a shock jock is a jock (short for jockey, short for disc jockey) who throws bombs to get your attention. No benefit to humanity, just a lot of bodies left to rot in the aftermath. Kind of like in "shock and awe."
This is not a political nor partisan swipe. Newsweek got it wrong on both sides of the ideology...except for Bill O'Reilly, who's independently out for himself.
They did correctly list Mancow who, if you've ever heard Howard Stern, you know he is not.
Under the header, "Leaders of the Shock Jock Pack," Newsweek actually named Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Dr. Laura, for God's sake. You may not agree with her advice nor her politics but c'mon folks...a shock jock? Maybe if she said, "Stop playing poor me and throw that bastard out with the dishwater, a**hole," we could discuss her shock jockeying. But she doesn't and she isn't.
Others listed on the Right included Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved and Mark Levin, among others. I don't care whether you think any of them are full of wisdom or hot air, they are not shock jocks.
Limbaugh said that the Virginia Tech killer was a liberal. That’s not shock jockeying. That’s just stupid.
Hannity? He's a Catholic school boy with a style nuns are comfortable with. Mark Levin? He's just cranky.
That doesn't mean there can't be political shock jocks ala the SJ template: Michael Savage. Glen Beck is trying hard but shock jockeying calls for a bit more pithy calculation and Beck doesn't seem smart enough to jump through that hoop.
Shock jocks are tasteless for the sake of tastelessness. Other than the "shock" itself the material has no value at all. Picture Andrew Dice Clay on the radio. In effect, other than their rancor and boorishness, there is no there, there.
It was on the Left that Newsweek seemed to miss the meaning altogether. Ed Shultz? Likes to sound tough, but Big Ed's a teddy bear. Alan Colmes? You could stick a dagger into him and he'd apologize.
But the most off base had to be their listing of Jones Radio's Stephanie Miller. Oh, they said she was funny, however no where does it say that funny need make one a shock jock. You may laugh at a shocker's funny, but not for long. Picture Andrew Dice Clay. Stand up comics have been f*ck-prefacing their punchlines for years to make their material work. That lasts just long before it's only tedious. Think Andrew Dice Clay. Toss clever into the mix, and no matter how loud or surprising the material, it doesn't fall within the parameters of the shock jock.
When the funny personality is also disarming, it's even more difficult to label him or her a shock jock. Limbaugh, the king of all the Right's Lords of Loud, thinks Miller's a babe. First in line to Limbaugh's crown, Hannity, hugged her...in front of other right wing hosts. When your opposition falls under your spell, you're not a shock jock. You're adorable. Name me an adorable shock jock...except for maybe Glenn Beck, but that's only because he says what everybody's thinkin'...if you think offensively.
Miller's side-kick, Jim Ward, makes the "shock-jockey" delineation even more off base. One need only listen to the content of his material to know that "clever" or "brilliant" fit far more comfortably than "shock" or even "jock."
Stephanie Miller and Dr. Laura shock jocks? Right. And Newsweek is The New York Post.
Steve Young is a failed shock jock and author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful (www.greatfailure.com)