Last week we asked readers to send their love notes and hate mail about Kiro's Dori Monson to us so we could amalgamate them and regurgitate a summary in this virtual vomitorium we call a blog.
Boyo, we got plenty of responses. Love notes? Not so much.
We'd been wondering what to do about Dori. He's always churned up more mail around here than any other single talker. But to tell you the truth, we were not looking forward to listening to him with our porcelain critic's ear for the length of time it would take to give a fair assessment.
(Let's just say he's not exactly our cup of matė. Too annoying. Too many sports. Too many tiresome rants on the same issues, against the same people. We listen to lots of conservatives, so it isn't his politics. We're just elitist liberal, intellectual snobs, who don't really care about football, baseball, basketball, or how Dori's got a hard-on for soccer. We've always been able to hear the crewcut in his voice, and we think he went wrong when the nuns were eliminated as regulars).
So we said, to hell with a fair assessment! Let's ask our readers. And while there were some that could be described as hate mail, many responded with serious analyses! Many just wanted to help. (Others suggested various types of earthen indentations or bathroom fixtures into which they'd like to stuff his head. Still others suggested that his head would need first be pulled from his own anal aperture).
Dori has inspired at least one website devoted to hating him. (It's requisite for national talk hosts, but rarer in Seattle. BlatherWatch friend David Tatelman has a great anti-Dori post on his blog with new information on Dori's interesting personal life. ("interesting" may not exactly be the word for The Monster's life). We weren't surprised to find that Sound Politics, that stiff but stalwart bulwark of bloggy right-wing blather considers Dori the "King of Mid-day Talk in the Northwest" so much, apparently, for the chopped liver that is Michael Medved. Orbusmax has this acrimonious and entertaining email thread between Dori and the PI's Joel Connelly worth a read. It's hard to say who's most peckish, but jeez, Joel's an old guy...
A recurring theme with readers is that while Dori used to be delightful, funny and fresh when he started in the morning at the old KING AM with Pat Cashman and early-on at KIRO; that after that something happened. Words readers used are hateful, hard-edged, annoying, conservative, sarcastic, rancorous, vindictive. We got lots like this:
~~I’ve been listening to KIRO for a long time. I actually remember when Dori did fill-in - replacement shows for other hosts. I liked him! I was delighted when he got his own show. But something changed, and it wasn’t me.
~~I used to think Dori was a good guy and he was, at first. I've listened to him since he was working with Pat Cashman at KING 1090, and I remember the births of all his children. He seemed like such an all-around good guy, funny and smart.
~~I too am troubled by Monson's 180 turn about since 9/11. It seems so sudden and abrupt that I always said it had the vague whiff of consultant brimstone about it. Somehow the conversion since then has never struck me as sincere. It's like somebody told him, "You do this and we'll go national." It just all comes off so forced.
~~Like others, over time, I felt the tone of Dori's show changed and in a way that began to make his show irritating to me and much less compelling.
~~It is not Dori's political stripe that caused me to eventually turn off Dori. For very similar reasons, I also reached the point where I also turned off Mike Webb when Mike began to turn up the volume on his rudeness to callers and began to increase his mocking tone toward those he disagreed with. Dori and Mike shared a propensity for rudeness and a mocking tone that I find very distasteful and aggravating.
Before we get too far into all this- here's what readers appreciate about The Dorster. Out of 66 responses, we post here all (7) of the accolades- most of the praise is faint, but praise nonetheless:
~~I listen to him frequently in the pm. I like his smarmy little sense of humor, but I turn him off when he goes on one of his "personal responsibility" rants.
~~I hate this cruel attitude about people that Dori smugly spews forth on a daily basis, but again, I do like his general "political incorrectness" style of saying things that many people feel inhibited from saying. Bottom line of Dori- he's OK, despite his many failings.
~~I kind of like Dori, although I do consider myself politically liberal. But take away issues like the war, Bush, and about half of what he says about Sound Transit, I kind of find myself agreeing with the guy more often than not. Maybe that means there's something wrong with me, but so be it.
~~One thing Dori did for me directly: I'm a cyclist, and about five years ago I was about to ride STP for the very first time. And to be honest, I had a great amount of trepidation about it. But about a week or two before the ride, Dori did his bungee jump, (and maybe to the dismay of some) he survived. So I figured if Dori can bungee jump, I can ride STP. And I did, and I succeeded. Since then, I've ridden it two more times, and succeeded. And I intend to do it again this year, and hopefully succeed. This might be hard for a lot of people to maybe even stomach, BUT DORI HELPED ME CONQUER MY FEAR! SO, GOD BLESS YOU, DORI...well, at least to a certain extent.
~~How can you not love Dori? A decade ago when I was in college, one of the topics that Dori discussed was a man who flashed his bare ass at an elderly neighbor who often complained about his behavior. I am sorry to say that I am not that man, but during the "You be the Jury" discussion tha followed I called in to say that flashing one's bare ass is actually symbolic speech and as such should be protected by the first amendment the same as flag burning. Dori quipped, "Speaking of burning, have you ever lit a fart? I saw a guy do this when I was in college..." Way to go Dori, you are always raising the intellect of Seattle radio.
~~The first couple of weeks I listened to Dori I had a bad grumbling in
my gut. Why did this guy’s voice grate on my nerves so badly? Then it
dawned on me – he sounded exactly like I did on the radio…when I was 15
years old. Yikes. It was déjà vu all over again! I’ve gotten over that
– and now find him hard working and often entertaining, if a bit self
possessed with his importance as a ‘talk show host’.
I actually like Dori's show for the most part, it seems to be well prepared and usually interesting, except for the sports stuff which gets old fast.
Here are some miscellaneous favorites:
~~I refer to the 12-3 KIRO radio show as the "I-me-my" show; all Dori, all the time.
~~Dori's greatest ambition was achieved when he made Fox News carrying the ashes of a dead man to the Superbowl.
~~He likes himself way more than I like him.
~~Dori highlights what a classy guy Dave Ross seems to be.
~~Woman rarely call into his show, and most of the callers that do get through seem to be selfish, simple minded and non-curious. It leads me to believe the bulk of his audience is made up of such people, and thus they are the type of people he primarily appeals to. He's like the leader to a local secret society of Neanderthals.
~~His intro music seems, um, ambiguously gay.
~~He started the trend of calling his show the "big show", leading John Prococcino to call his show the "gigantic show". Both shows are roughly three hours in length and have no tangible volume.
~~He's petty and small. He gawked ad nauseum about Celine Dion mispronouncing the word "helicopter" as "helicopster" and singing a song for the victims of hurricane Katrina, which is ironic seeing as he, in his own weird way, mispronounces it "halicopter", along with any number of other words.
~~Firstly, Dorky Monson has no balls (at least worthy of procreating a male since he has only females in his family). Secondly Michael Savage does!
His being a Dispassionate Conservative is a frequent criticism. (we need to say in his defense that anyone who can serve as a celebrity judge in a Bonsai Potato Growing Competition can't be totally evil.) Here are some samples.
~~He loves to toot his own horn by saying that if he could make the big bucks anbody can. It doesn't matter if you were born with a crystal meth addiction and your parents were trying to sell you off in the Denny's parking lot as a toddler because they just couldn't pay the bills on $500 a month social security while sporting a chronic mental illness. According to Dori you still have as good of chance at making it big as any privileged, well connected, preppy from the suburbs.
~~According to Dori if you're one of the millions of starving American children- your parents just made poor decisions.
~~I listen to Dori Monson right up to the point when he: 1. Mocks people in a very personal way (e.g. calling Celine Dion "horse face") 2. Goes off on a caller who mistakenly uses a wrong word, a wrong phrase, etc. Usually when he is losing an argument. 3. Obsesses on Sound Transit or Ron Sims.
~~This guy is obviously a Libertarian...[who are] very conservative people [with] no compassion for anyone else on the planet...at least when it comes to paying taxes in order to take care of the inevitable 10% who, for whatever reasons, cannot help themselves....I hate this cruel attutude about people that Dori smugly spews forth on a daily basis.
~~The incident that was the final straw for me was the day about a year ago sometime in the spring when Dori started a "topic" about a man who had attempted to commit suicide by using a gun and failed to actually kill himself. In typical Dori style, Dori ranted, laughed and mocked this man talking about what a screw-up he was...I was genuinely sickened, saddened and shocked that... he continued to talk on; laughing and mocking...I wrote Dori that evening to express my shock and my anger. I also talked about Dori's liberal use of language like "nut job" and "whack job" to describe describe people with whom he disagrees. I pointed out to Dori the insensitivity of his approach to this topic and also toward people with mental illness. To his credit, Dori promptly responded. (He has always been polite in responding to my emails.). He said his "humor sometimes "misses the mark". He talked about wanting to return to some of the topics I had mentioned that I enjoyed when I first started listening to him: goal setting, lighter "fun" subjects, and his summer adventure series. For awhile I naively felt that Dori might truly have heard my message. Part of the reason I was so stunned by Dori's comments that day, was that Allen Prell had talked with great sensitivity about the mentally ill the same morning. I couldn't help but notice the marked difference between the two hosts. Not long after the email exchange, Doria gain mockingly talked about someone who tried to commit suicide. I was shocked. I foolishly believed he was sensitive enough to see how insensitive such "humor" is. I decided that I could no longer listen.
~~Dori WAS a good guy but something really ugly has happened to him lately. I wish it were a case of just being "the guy we love to hate" but it goes way beyond that. Over a year ago, he was talking about elections and whether or not homeless people should be able to vote. He called the homeless of Seattle "human garbage."
~~Another symptom of his arrogance and the way he's convinced he could never been wrong is a conversation he had with a black woman a few years ago. The subject was whether or not racism was getting worse in America, and Dori, a VERY white man, tried to tell the African-American woman that she was WRONG, and that racism doesn't exist any more.
~~I thought I was hearing someone who genuinely had heart. Dori readily admits to being a soft touch. We've all been touched and have heard him cry on the radio. Were the tears real or was this just radio entertainment? Are the listeners being played? Dori starts his "Big Show" the same way every day. The "brutal combat" line began to feel more true every day.
Dori's ubiquitous endorsements ads are a source of listeners' ridicule and disdain:
~~I am also sick to death of hearing him on commercials. Enough already!!
~~I am actually to the point where I, on the rare occasions I listen to KIRO, will turn the volume down to avoid a Monsen commercial. I’m willing to bet that his co-workers can’t stand him!!
~~I don't begrudge him hustling to make some extra income by doing commercials; he's got kids who probably need to be put through college. If it really bothers me, I can turn it off.
~~I do find it amusing how he portrays himself as a jock, fit dude and then I see him on TV in a Lazy-Boy commercial AND HE HAS A GUT!! What a joke.
~~I honestly do not think I could ever buy a gutter, an invisible fence, a mortgage or a bamboo floor from one of the companies Dori's does ads for. He has no trust or credibility with me. I can't imagine that I am the only listener who has this same negative association.
Seattle Weekly columnist Geov Parrish sent in this anecdote:
I've appeared on KIRO a lot over the years. But the only time I've ever been invited onto Dori's show was a few years ago when I wrote a column, pegged on the early fundraising efforts to create what would become Air America, on the need for and commercial viability of liberal talk radio. In doing so, I surveyed what was available for Seattle talk radio at the time, noting that it was overwhelmingly conservative in an overwhelmingly liberal radio market. In doing that, I mentioned KIRO's uneven lineup, including the "Neaderthalic Dori Monson."
Well, Monson's producer called me up and asked me to come on his show to talk about the prospects for liberal talk radio. Dori, it seemed, didn't think it was remotely possible, because liberals (accuording to him) never had facts on their side and so could not construct compelling arguments on air. But when I actually came on the show, that was the last thing Dori wanted to talk about. Instead, he wanted to pillory me for calling him a Neanderthal. To me, it was (and is) a self-evident description of both his on-air style and his politics, and on the hour in question he'd begun it with a pre-produced bellow that sounded an awful lot like a caveman to me. I said as much, and I also mentioned that "Neanderthalic" is an adjective, a description that he might not agree with, but not an epithet. But primarily I kept trying to draw the discussion back to liberal talk radio -- what I'd been invited to talk about in the first place.
Dori would have none of it. He feeling were hurt, liberals could only call people names, blah blah blah. And then, once I was off air, he spent the next hour and a half continuing to pillory me, and by extension all liberals, for having called him a name. He, in effect, spent all hat air time calling *me* names -- over one adjective.
The punch line, of course, is that now there is commercial liberal talk radio -- and even though he's not local, in the latest ratings KPTK's syndicated Ed Schulz kicked Dorii's ass. Karma.
Lots of BlatherWatchers don't like his politics (imagine that!)
~~When his show is being light, his topics are fun......but when he is doing political stuff, it blows!
~~The whole Dori situation comes down to a couple of things- his constant whining about some government decision that might cost him a few pennies and nickles
~~He will rant about name-calling liberals, while he is calling them idiots.
~~I haven't listened to smug Dori since Bush first started his Iraq war
dance rhetoric and dumb Dori supported Bush's folly, after that I
turned KIRO off anytime I heard his condescending voice, in a
commercial even. I just wonder if hates-taxes Dori is just thrilled to
pieces with the cost of Bush's Iraq fiasco war. Finally, I turned Kiro
off permanently, on Sept 21, 2005 when they fired Allen Prell.
~~He turned too conservative after he shared time with Michael Medved.
~~He has toned it down somewhat since the Bush ship is sinking fast but of course continues to bash Christine G.
~~ a few years ago. Dori was spouting off about Ron Sims on his show,
and Ron went down there unannounced and went on the show. During that
visit, Dori invited Ron to come back on later for a longer, scheduled
interview. Ron accepted, KIRO heavily promoted the showdown, and KING 5
actually came down and filmed it. Dori got flack from his audience for
being too soft on Ron during that appearance.
The 50,000 watt EGO
~~I can’t listen to Dori because it’s always all about Dori. Even my husband, who is at the opposite end of the political spectrum from me, can’t stand him.My favorite example was when Dori got an interview with the winners of the Amazing Race. The winners, Uchenna and Joyce, were very popular competitors and it was great to see them win. Dori played basketball with Uchenna years ago, and managed to get them to agree to call in for an interview. I don’t listen to Dori, but I’m a big Amazing Race fan, and heard the interview teased on the morning drive-time news. After teasing the interview for hours it only lasted for only a few minutes, and the ENTIRE INTERVIEW was taken up with Dori talking about how he and Uchenna used to play basketball together. Adventures in foreign lands? How did they handle the stress and still stay nice to each other? Future plans? All those subjects weren’t important because, as always, it’s all about Dori.
~~Dori reminds me of that neighbor we all know and go out of our way to avoid. The guy with lots to say but totally uninterested in what anyone else thinks.
~~Being an old, retired radio guy who spent over twenty years in the Seattle market I have to say that Dori comes off as perhaps the most conceited personality that I've heard since the late Bob Hardwick.
~~My feeling is that his modest success went to his head and he became the “know it all and do what I do” pain in the ass he is today. His political views I can live with, so poorly thought through that they’re amusing, it’s his obvious bigger than life ego that makes me reach for the tuning knob.