Notes on the Atrocities Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Michael Savage confesses "It was all a joke"
Controversial shock jock Michael Savage admitted on Tuesday that his on-air shtick was all a ruse. "I figured everyone was in on the joke. I mean, my god--I've got a doctorate in nutritional science from Berkeley!"
Savage held a press conference today outside the studio at KSFO in San Francisco where he broadcasts his nationally-syndicated show. "I would like everyone to know, all my faithful listeners and fans, that the Savage Nation is a hoax. I'm not a conservative or a bigot. In fact, I'm a registered Socialist and a card-carrying member of the ACLU. I felt I could no longer in good conscience continue to deceive you all. I know it may be hard for some of you to hear, but I was just making sport of you."
According to those close to Savage, the routine began during the Reagan administration. Savage used the persona to ridicule "Reagan Democrats" and other "soft-headed conservatives" at cocktail parties. "He killed at those parties," said Mort Chalmers, a long-time friend. "I mean killed."
"He really was the most enjoyable of that whole revolutionary Maoist crowd we used to run around with," noted Jade, another friend. "I mean, they could get too heavy, you know what I mean? But Mike, man, he was a kick in the pants."
"Well, the whole thing just got out of hand," said Savage, in an interview with the AP after the press conference. "I mean, after the Reagan thing you had Limbaugh, and pretty soon every two-bit bigot had a talk radio show. It was so easy to ape them."
Savage got his start on Berkeley's KPFA public radio station, hosting a reggae show on Thursday evenings. In order to spice up the broadcast, he used a variety of voices, from Mistah Big E White to his now-famous "Savage Nation" personality. He gradually changed the format of the show to pure satire. Eventually, he was offered a contract by KSFO, and the books and magazine articles followed. Savage is now heard by millions of unsuspecting listeners each day.
"KSFO always encouraged me to play it up," Savage said. "And boy, did I ever. It didn't occur to me that people were taking it seriously." When asked what he thought of his callers, who are famous for their callow, inappropriate questions, Savage said, "I thought they were in on it, too! Come on, no one's that stupid."
But they were. Savage failed to take into account America's inability to comprehend satire or laugh at themselves. Asked what he thought he'd do now, Savage was philosophical. "I don't see any reason to stop. I expect the dullards who listen to the show will still listen, because even if I am making fun of them, well, they still agree with me."