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?


Jim N said...

Perceptive thoughts, friend Roger. As you aptly point out, "WE" pay closer attention when there's a vicious dog fight, not when the discourse is rationally searching for ways to better understand differing views, perhaps even, (perish the thought) achieving some kind of reconciliation or win-win solution. Part of the problem, in my dubious opinion, is that instead of being spurred on by life affirming values, we are being harnassed by personal ambition and selfish gain. As Limbaugh suggested in part in one of his apologies, he uses absurdities as a way of enhancing his notoriety (my words, not his), but it's precisely because there are bloodthirsty audiences out there who get off on the likes of Limbaugh's rants that such lack of public decency exists. Thanks for your getting at the heart of the matter!

David said...

Nice rant, Roger. I, too, wish for a more measured discourse.
But I digress, I stopped by to send you a blog: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/
Check out this thinker.