I met my sister for some beers last night. Her friend is the bartender, so my sister, her friend, and some other people they know go to this bar frequently. When I arrived, my sister was talking to some guy wearing an Affliction shirt.
Now, if I were any kind of a sister at all, I would have put a stop to this. I would have smacked the beer out of her hand, then smacked the beer out of his hand, and demanded that he turn tail and crawl back into the frathole from whence he came. But I didn’t, firstly because I am not that kind of sister. I’ll sit there and watch her talk to a guy in an Affliction shirt all night long and count the times the both of them say “seen” when they really mean “saw,” and then later I’ll tell her what an apocalypse her life is. I mean, duh. Secondly, they weren’t flirting. Well. They kind of were, but only in the way that two people who aren’t hooking up but have had 2-4 beers each flirt. The guy in the Affliction shirt was married, it turned out, aged 31 with two young children. His kid is in the same preschool class as my nephew. He and my sister know one another from their kids’ school and this bar. At some point, my sister mentioned that I write for KDHX.
“What’s that?” the guy asked.
“Independent radio,” I replied. “88.1.”
“Oh, I’ve heard that station. It’s pretty biased. It’s too…indie.”
Pieces of The Princess Bride flashed through my head. You keep using that word, I thought, I do not think it means what you think it means. I had an idea that he was fuzzy on the correct definition of the word “biased,” and because I’m a dick (who also cares very much for KDHX and the appropriate use of vocabulary, in case those count for anything), I stood up for semantics.
“How is the station biased?” I asked. “It’s independent radio. That’s its format.”
“I don’t think you understand. KSHE isn’t biased because it plays only classic rock. It’s a classic rock station. It’s just being what it is. Biased does not apply.”
“If it only plays one thing, it’s biased!”
I glared at him, angry both because he was murdering words and because he was talking shit. And when I say “talking shit,” I don’t mean that he was disagreeing with me. I mean he was talking shit, in that he had no idea what he was talking about but he was talking anyway. I told him that by his logic, one could argue that every other station in the city is biased against independent music, and that — possibly because he didn’t listen to the station or read its website — he was also ignoring the fact that KDHX had recently reviewed both the New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert and the Warped Tour. To which he asked if I’d reviewed them, and when I said that I had gladly not, he replied that if I was a good writer, I could write about anything.
“Hmm,” I said, pretending to be very interested in a commercial about heartworm medicine. There was no use debating my worth as a writer to this guy, nor in continuing to argue about the meaning of the word “biased.” In general, it’s no use speaking to a 31-year-old man in an Affliction shirt with a wife and small children who spends his weeknights at the bar, which is something I wish my sister understood a little better.