NPR Defunded Following Hobo Johnson “Tiny Desk” Win
In a rare moment of national solidarity, a movement calling for “fiscal retaliation” against the public radio network NPR surged to unprecedented prominence this Tuesday. The ubiquitous cries of outrage, which transcended the boundaries of race, creed, sex, or political leaning, rang out in response to a statement released earlier that day by Bob Boilen, the host and main coordinator of NPR’s “Tiny Desk” series:
“Thanks to all of the performers for your submissions, and to our valued listeners for your feedback and input regarding the selection of this years contest winner. I’ve personally selected this year’s performer, and would like to extend a warm congratulations to Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers! Can’t wait to see you behind the desk, all!”
This announcement signaled the conclusion of this year’s Tiny Desk Contest, in which artists submit musical performances in the hopes of being featured on the popular web series. Frank Lopes, better known as Hobo Johnson, and a group of friends had offered their submission “Peach Scone” earlier this year. While the purported “music” video allegedly contains some of the common gestures of performance, it is unclear whether the meandering, disjointed vocalizations of the frontman are artistically derived or intended only to disturb.
Within minutes of Boilen’s announcement, scores of petitions had been published demanding that the network be punished for its impropriety. Frequently, the authors of these demands cited intentional infliction of emotional distress and foul play as two of the broadcaster’s numerous misdeeds.
We reached out to Natalie Kelleher, the organizer of one of the largest online movements, for her input. “I just don’t know how to talk to my children about this,” writes Kelleher, “My oldest asked me if their music was rap, and I had to lie and say yes. The people of this nation deserve better.”
Early this morning, Hobo Johnson released a second music video detailing his response to this backlash. While the majority of the performance is unintelligible, several listeners have pointed out several instances of the word “proud.” It seems a withdrawal from the competition at this stage is unlikely.
As of press time, an estimated 80% of NPR’s funding from private and public sources has been revoked.