I have a theory. Many people assert that America is based on a meritocratic system, and I think in most cases I would agree. However, one area of American society blaringly contradicts this supposed meritocracy. I'm sure you're all jumping to conclusions here. Let me assure you that you are correct: that one area is NPR. I imagine that NPR finally ceded to the shouts of its employees, "Down with meritocracy! Up with nomocracy!" That's right. People at NPR ascend the corporate ladder by having cool names. (At least, it can't hurt.) It's quite obvious when you take a gander at the showing of great names. Besides, a radio personality is almost entirely defined by a name. I believe that is the origin of the phrase, "Make a name for yourself." I wonder which of these NPR hosts is king of names, so to speak: Claude Brodesser, Tom & Ray Magliozzi, Diane Rehm, John Diliberto, Steve Inskeep, Farai Chideya, Garrison Keillor, Ira Flatow, Ketzel Levine, Kojo Nandi, Cokie Roberts, Tavis Smiley, Barbara Bogaev, or Don Ganye. Clearly, Diane Rehm has a corner on the market, because not only does she has a fabulous name, she also has a rocking voice. It could possibly be the most recognized voice in America. But, if I had my choice as to who would rule the NPR world based on names, it would be Steve Inskeep, because every time I hear him introduced, I just picture the quintessential post-mission on-campus encounter: "Hey - what's your first name, dude? Oh, right. Listen, Steve, Steveinsky, dude... Haven't you always wanted to knock doors and earn money at the same time? It would be a totally new experience after being a missionary. We're offering free pizza, Steveinsky. Ok, think about it, Stevie, Steveinsky..."
Who would you vote for? (I guess I am now turning this into a democracy. Hmmm.)