Kim Kardashian appeared on NPR's comedy news show Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me! last weekend, and listeners revolted. Or as Jay Hathaway at Gawker puts it, they "balled up their canvas tote bags and fired off angry emails to ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen." Hundreds of angry emails, notes Sarah Kaplan at the Washington Post, who describes the reaction in understated fashion as "a little over the top." How dare NPR sully the airwaves with a Kardashian, asked the angered listeners, many of whom threatened to never listen again and to stop donating. At Slate, the show's guest host last week, Mike Pesca, explains that he thinks most NPR listeners liked the interview, but that the vocal minority is off base. "There is a type of NPR listener—and it’s a type of media consumer, it goes way beyond NPR—that defines themselves by what they are not," he says.
They tend to be "closed-minded, they use affiliation with NPR or Fox or Christian Broadcasting not to experience a larger outside world but to congratulate themselves on the purity of their own world." Years ago, when NPR was shifting away from classic music, a researcher dubbed the type of listener who objected to the change as "the Monk," someone who listens solely for that "interior serenity," says Pesca. It applies in this case: Typical listeners "might not like the vapidity of Kim Kardashian on her E! show—but at least if they are a fan of this news comedy show, might be curious enough to see what a comedy show does with this figure, in the context of comedy." Not so the Monk. "It’s crabby, it’s snooty and it hates the big booty." Click for his full column. (Or if you need more Kardashian news, read about Kim's letter to her future self at ET Online.)