East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Not just senior citizens – more adventures in radio

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So I went and bought a small multiband radio to replace the one that Panthayra destroyed. After a little research (about which, more to come), I settled on the RETEKESS V115 – and the decision was due to my limited budget, the videos and websites I had checked out, and a hefty discount from Amazon. And here is a publicity shot of the radio in all its glory, complete with a senior citizen because we have learned that only people of a certain age need radios these days.

And the thing works a marvel. Two nights ago, the local FM frequencies were offering a heady choice, between a local radio station that puts on a mix tape of Italian songs from the 1950s and 1960s and plays it until dawn, and these guys main competition, another local station that was broadcasting a talk radio programme in which the listeners were invited to call in and vent their opinion on the hot topic of the day. Now, the first station’s tape has been the same for the last 6 years at least, and the second station’s hot topic was wether the members of an old Italian band from the ’70s had dissed a recent Italian band that’s supposed to be “the new Beatles”. Yeah, sure.
So I switched to SW, and after a while scanning the frequencies, picked a French-language station from North Africa that played jazz. Nice and smooth.

But there have been more consequences.

The weirdest, I think, has been the reaction of the Youtube algorithm to my search for multiband radio reviews. If the search results have disclosed to me a wide community of radio enthusiasts, the Youtube suggestion system picked up my searches and my watching list, and decided I absolutely needed to check out videos by wilderness campers and preppers.

Because if you are interested in radio, you either are either a senior citizen (according to Amazon) or you roam the wilderness for leisure or because civilization collapsed.
In fact, the advert up there sort of states it explicitly: travel, picnic, camping, whatever…

But hey, I am a writer, right?
I could learn something useful for future stories in those videos.
So I checked out a couple of them, and they were rather fun.

And here the algorithm kicked in again, and decided that given my interest in prepper culture – with stuff like radios, home-made radio antenna extensions and Swiss Army knives – I was now ready to check out a slew of far right propaganda videos, by people that rant on the Tube about this or that TV series being “woke”, about anti-racists being actually the true racists, and how – and I am not joking on this one – lobsters have something to do with the sad plight of white young heterosexual men.

To quote the poet, W.T.F.?!

Of course, because my Youtube viewing history does not only contain hiking videos and SW radios, but also stuff like SF book reviews and movie trailers, a lot of these unpleasant videos focus on my sort of stuff – TV series, as I said, comics, books, movies, particularly science fiction, fantasy and horror.

And boy was the stuff creepy.
Long rants against franchises “destroyed” by their too-progressive (but actually only virtue-signalling) creators, about Batman being too “woke” (I mean, a billionaire that dresses as a bat and punches villains? Really?) and about the horror of having women (women!!), people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community writing fantasy.
And more of the same.

I listened to a pair of the programs and then started hitting the “Don’t suggest this channel again” button in earnest.
Because the reasoning is faulty, the tone is uselessly aggressive, and I only needed a radio to listen at night anyway.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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