05 March 2012

Sluts & Putz: Thank You, Rush Limbaugh!

A five point reprise of the week’s news:

1 - A law student testified at Congress in favor of the notion that contraception should be covered by insurance.

2 - Ever sharp Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show that makes her a slut since she now wants to be paid to have sex.

3 - Rush received a lot of negative feedback, mostly focusing on the personal attack on a non-public figure.

4 - Rush issued a sort of apology, saying that his point was right, that he often uses absurdity to make his points, but that his word choice was wrong.

5 - Several advertisers have pulled their ads from the Rush Limbaugh Radio Show.

Hey, what’s the buzz? Can’t you see that Rush Limbaugh has done a great service to the First Amendment (for a change)?

Mind you, I doubt that he really intended to perform such a service, but he did it anyway. Rush went so far overboard, so far into hostility and disrespect that even his buds are saying, Jeez, Rush, you really acted like a horse’s ass this time.

Now there is a fine distinction there. Note that I say “acted like.” This is the whole what-do-you-hate thing, the wrong or the wrongdoer. Recall that MADD originally stood for Mothers Against Drunk DrivERS. At some point, the organization decided that the focus should be on the wrongful act, so now it’s Mothers Against Drunk DrivING.

Rush has caught hell from “the Left,” and that’s nothing new.

But ... The Center! The “Silent Majority.” Responsible people who don’t huff, puff and blow people’s houses down with rhetorical wind! THEY have weighed in, and some have done so wielding the power of the purse.

About damn time. About time “normal people” have some guts to call mouthy blowhards on silly bloviating.

Our national discourse is swirling down the toilet. More and more, it is unacceptable to disagree by saying “So-and-so’s opinions sure could be better, and here’s why: ...” It’s unacceptable even to opine that “So-and-so is just flat-ass wrong, and here’s why: ...” The modern mode is to conclude and proclaim that So-and-so is Stupid and Evil.

That’s where we get idiotic bushwah like the suggestion that Obama sponsored the One Trillion Dollar Stimulus because he is a Muslim who wants to destroy America. Or that Rick Santorum isn’t just a right winger, he’s a maniac. Obama thought he had a good idea. (I think it was really dumb.) Santorum is sincere in his moral rigidity. (I think that sort of attitude may grab defeat out of the jaws of victory for the Republicans.)

And the viciousness isn’t always expressed as anger. I recall an episode of “The Young Turks” where the commentators ridiculed Sen. Byrd for his emotional reaction to the illness of his good friend Sen. Kennedy. Moses and the Seven Dwarves, now it's a bad thing to be human?

I’m not suggesting that this is a watershed moment and that our national discourse will take a quantum leap upwards. You see, negativism and political jingoism works pretty well. But this is a start.

The head of the Carbonite Company, one of Limbaugh’s sponsors, said when he pulled their advertising that he did so in the hope that it “... will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”

And who knows? In the Fullness of Time, maybe the Washington Mall will see the Million Rational People March.

We see reason and respect all too seldom. Cal Thomas, a conservative writer, went overboard a touch criticizing Rachel Maddow at a big conservative do a few weeks ago. Immediately, he recognized that this violated his own code of honor, and he both apologized personally (and sincerely) to Maddow and explained to his readers what a trap this insult swamp can be. The guy is pure class.

Rush Limbaugh is not a bad guy. He has been richly rewarded for acting like a putz. If he were polite, he’d be the 3 AM talking head on Saturday night CSPAN or BookTV. I remember in college hearing him when he was a DJ at WIXZ in Pittsburgh. He was an outrageously funny guy. I still remember one improvised bit they did one July 4th where Limbaugh extolled Paul Revere’s midnight ride astride a whale on wheels. No, it didn’t make sense, but by God it was FUNNY.

We won’t hear about whales on wheels, at least for a while. Audiences are used to blood. So a question is whether the lovers of steak tartare can start to savor milder dishes simmered long enough to attain some mature flavor.

By the way, this whole national discourse thing is not Limbaugh’s fault or Rachel Maddow’s or whoever’s. WE bear equal responsibility. WE have demanded the blood and the bruises. WE are the ones who watch the races waiting for the wrecks, and who cheer when the other team’s quarterback is knocked out of the game. The political media couldn’t keep selling us sewage sandwiches if we didn’t keep ordering them.

We will not, we cannot change the national discourse over one incident. As President Reagan stated, to make progress, we have to “stay the course.”

Do we have the guts?

02 March 2012

Did the Mormons Burn Anne Frank's Koran?

Okay, I spent February as a lazy, moribund writer.

I reflect tonight on what may be a different aspect of curmudgeon-liness.

Have you noticed that the news is junked up with lots of, well, junk? The implication is, we’re obviously supposed to care deeply about what the purveyors of news tell us to care deeply about.

And so, I’m thinking tonight about lots of random things that I’m supposed to shudder about that I just really find irrelevant, boring, stupid or simply unworthy of a whole hell of a lot of attention. I made a list. In no particular order:

George Clooney’s sexuality. Hell, I don’t know if the guy’s handsome. Looks to me like he needs to shave a little more often but maybe ladies these days go for the abrasive thing. I am told I’m supposed to care about who and what he likes. George: Stay away for me. Other than that, I just don’t care.

What anyone named Kardashian looks like with or without makeup. Or, for that matter, in any particular garment or combination of garments. If it makes the news because there are hordes of people who want to know, God bless them and I hope they acquire some taste or class at some point. But beyond that scant hope, it’s really not my problem.

What anyone named Kardashian has to say on any subject. As nearly as I can figure, these people don’t do anything useful in society and I’ve not heard any evidence that they know anything useful. I don’t see any reason to care about their opinions.

The political opinions of entertainers. Ted Nugent just endorsed somebody. I don’t know who. I don’t care. They want to tell me how to sing or how to act, I’ll listen if I want to know those things. If they want to tell me how to vote, I really find their opinions irrelevant and boring.

Burning the Bible. I intentionally start with this one due to other things in the news. Mind you, anybody that flames a Bible is a really flaming ass hole in my book. But this is America, and the First Amendment says they can do it. My God is a fairly robust God and I don’t think that weakens him. Giving flaming ass holes attention validates them. Ignoring them marginalizes them. Who knows, maybe that means I really do care in a way, but I’m still going to deny it.

Burning the American flag. This is another First Amendment thing, and the people that do this are equally flaming ass holes. But this is still America. I confess I have to work to ignore this one.

Burning the Koran. You could see this one coming. Muslims think the people that do this are worse than flaming ass holes, they are infidel religious terrorists or some silly shit like that. I think the people burning Korans are really boring. The Muslims reacting to it with Jihad, fatwas and so forth are certified whack jobs. They want to be victimized so they can react in self-righteousness. PS, they must think Allah is fairly weak if burning a book annoys him.

The guy who got all pissy because a judge would not jail a Muslim who hit him because he was mouthing off about Allah or Mohammed. Yo, even when you exercise your First Amendment rights, there are some consequences. The Muslim didn’t shoot you, he just mussed your hair, so either shut up or go home and stay with your mommy.

Gay relationships. Theoretically, if I were unattached, I might be interested in what some particular lady might do with me. Beyond that, I really don’t care what adult does what with what other adult or object. It’s really boring.

Anne Frank and the Mormons. Lots of Jewish “spokesmen” are really all in vapors because some fringe Mormons baptized Anne Frank in absentia and postmortem. Holy St. Bartholomew, guys, lighten up. If what the Mormons did was effective, you and I both had been barking up the wrong theological tree. If not, it was just a bunch of gibberish. Ok, let's try this. I just inducted Joseph Smith into the DAR. Hey, it’s official, I lit a candle and everything. Now, his spirit is going to have to attend high tea, act snooty, and complain about immigrants. Right? What a bunch of idiots.

Anything any cleric says based solely on his or her status as a cleric. Look, I bet the Pope is a really decent fellow. I kind of liked John Paul II better, but I think he probably a lot better press agents. But when he spoke ex cathedra, it was still him and not God. When Jimmy Swaggart says to stay away from hookers, I confess he know ought to know, but he didn’t learn that in seminary. Well, for that matter, his opinion is probably worth more than that of a genuinely celibate priest.

Anything Rush Limbaugh says. Boring.

Anything anyone says in reply to Rush Limbaugh. Equally boring.

Anything else the press says that people are “outraged” about.

I’m not outraged. I’m bored.