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    Making A Bad Impression

    , | Japan | Crazy Requests, Military, Politics

    (I am the operations manager of an overseas military TV and radio station. In place of regular commercials, we run locally-made information spots. We get feedback through an email system, mostly complaints about stuff out of our control, such as TV shows and music selections. A few months ago, we got an email from an irate listener complaining about a radio spot advertising the base library, where one of the producers did an imitation of former President George W. Bush. He was livid about the disrespect to our former Commander-In-Chief. I responded professionally, explaining we often use humor in our spots to make the information memorable, and the impression was fairly innocuous. He kept emailing back more irate, insulting military broadcasters, questioning our patriotism, accusing us of communism, etc. Finally, he came to our station to personally confront me. The following exchange occurred in our lobby.)

    Irate Marine: “Your excuses are just that! The ‘humor’ of that imitation is offensive and disrespectful! How dare you demean the former president!”

    Me: “Well, he didn’t seem to think so.”

    Irate Marine: “… What?”

    Me: *points to framed picture on the wall* “See that?”

    (It’s George W. Bush in our production room laughing with a young Marine.)

    Irate Marine: “He came here?”

    Me: “Years ago, I’m told. See that Marine in the photo? He’s the one who voiced and produced that spot. That photo was taken while he was playing the commercial for The President. He apparently has a better sense of humor about himself than you do.”

    Irate Marine: *walks out the door, mumbling* “Well, it’s STILL disrespectful!”