Well, it was to be expected. Since Dave McKenna gushed all over Chuck Booms when he first came to D.C. as if he were the White Knight come to pimp-slap us benighted Washington sports fans into enthusiasm, it figures that he would be there waving a tearful goodbye as the train carried Booms’ sorry ass out of town (“Banal Retentive,” 11/20). His column on Booms’ firing was touching. Too bad it bore so little resemblance to the truth.
To begin with, Booms has been far from the only outraged soul at WTEM calling for Norv Turner’s head this year. After almost every loss in their opening 0-7 stretch, Rick “Doc” Walker would spend up to 20 minutes on the air screaming about the Redskins’ growing incompetence. On WTEM’s Sunday postgame show, two other former Redskins, Joe Jacoby and Monte Coleman, have been calling for a round of pink slips since the middle of last season. Even poor Tony Kornheiser, who freely admits to liking Turner personally, openly said he should be fired after this year’s miserable loss to Philadelphia. So Booms was hardly the lone voice of reason he pretended to be.
It was when Booms talked about things other than sports, though, that he really showed his abysmal colors. His politics were so right-wing it sounded as if he went to Nazi torchlight parades in his spare time, and his views on women would have done Attila the Hun proud. He generally came off as a sour and bitter little man who saw conspiracies under every rock and seemed incapable of enjoying anything. His constant griping was not funny or edgy; it was downright creepy. He sounded like somebody muttering to himself as he walked along the street, someone you’d go out of your way to avoid in person, never mind listen to on the radio.
I listened to him in horrified fascination at first. Then I simply tired of his shtick and tuned to another station when he came on. I do remember, though, the amazing start of his last solo show as a host, when he spent the first 15 minutes of his shift wallowing in wounded pride because Leonard Shapiro had written that he was being demoted to a “sidekick.”
In short, on the radio Chuck Booms came off as a whiny, self-righteous punk with the warm and fuzzy worldview of a budding serial killer. Other assholes like Howard Stern and Dennis Miller may make big money out of this, but I’m glad we have one less of them around here to deal with. Goodbye, Chucky Baby, and good riddance.