Sunday, March 29, 2009

No, thanks

By Mustang Bobby

Andrew Klavan of the Los Angeles Times has a challenge for us liberals out there who have been dissing Rush Limbaugh:

If you are reading this newspaper, the likelihood is that you agree with the Obama administration's recent attacks on conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. That's the likelihood; here's the certainty: You've never listened to Rush Limbaugh.

Oh no, you haven't. Whenever I interrupt a liberal's anti-Limbaugh rant to point out that the ranter has never actually listened to the man, he always says the same thing: "I've heard him!"

On further questioning, it always turns out that by "heard him," he means he's heard the selected excerpts spoon-fed him by the distortion-mongers of the mainstream media. These excerpts are specifically designed to accomplish one thing: to make sure you never actually listen to Limbaugh's show, never actually give him a fair chance to speak his piece to you directly.


Let me guess at your answer. You don't need to listen to him. You've heard enough to know he's a) racist, b) hateful, c) stupid, d) merely an outrageous entertainer not to be taken seriously or e) all of the above.

Now let me tell you the real answer: You're a lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered intellectual coward. You're terrified of finding out he makes more sense than you do.


Therefore, I am throwing down my gauntlet at your quivering liberal feet. I hereby issue my challenge -- the Limbaugh Challenge: Listen to the show. Not for five minutes but for several hours: an hour a day for several days. Consider what he has to say -- the real policy material under the jokes and teasing bluster. Do what your intellectual keepers do not want you to do and keep an open mind. Ask yourself: What's he getting at? Why does he say the things he says? Why do so many people of goodwill -- like that nice Mr. Klavan -- agree with him?

The mainstream media (a.k.a. the Matrix) don't want you to listen to Limbaugh because they're afraid he'll wake you up and set you free of their worldview. You don't want to listen to him because you're afraid of the same thing.

Don't believe me? Well, then, gird your loins. Gather your courage. Accept the Limbaugh Challenge. See what happens.

I dare you.

I don't need to take the challenge. I already did. For almost six years I worked in a company where Rush Limbaugh was on the radio in both the warehouse and the office every day. The people I worked for loved him. At first I heard it and silently objected and seethed -- and this was during the Lewinsky/impeachment era -- but over time it became like the background noise you get used to when you live in a house next to a train track or a freeway; only when it stops do you notice that it's gone.

I got used to the three hours of incessant narcissistic, privileged, patriarchal, homophobic, misogynistic, hypocritical and pompous arrogance. Yes, I will admit he can be very funny, the same way Andrew Dice Clay is funny, and yes, Rush Limbaugh does have a great deal of insight into what it's like to live in world of entitlement and barely-concealed contempt for people he thinks are less than him. Most of it, though, seemed to grow out of an undercurrent of envy for a world of stature and class that he could never achieve, even if he was the richest man in broadcasting. The one thing he couldn't have was the true sense of dignity and security that are natural to people who don't feel as if they have to prove themselves to anyone or impress the rest of the world with their greatness. In other words, all the bluster and bloviation and cruel humor he exuded was there to cover up for the fact that he's nothing more than an overpaid carnival barker, and he's scared to death that the world will find out.

As for Mr. Klavan's taunt that "[y]ou're terrified of finding out he makes more sense than you do", that is the same line I heard from people who told me that I was afraid to listen to David Duke speak out about race in America because I was afraid he was right. Mr. Duke, like Mr. Limbaugh, can at times can be very charming, self-deprecating, and even sound like the voice of reason, doing all he can to shed the image of the Klansmen in white robes frothing hate as they burn a cross. But venom is still venom no matter what kind of pretty packaging you put it in.

So I think I will pass on Mr. Klavan's challenge. I don't have to listen to a fool twice to know that he is still a fool.

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  • I used to watch Rush's tv show back in the early days of the Clinton administration, and to this day I remember Rush mocking the grief of a man whose teenage son had just been murdered. Rush targeted this man because President Clinton had extended his sympathies to him.

    I will never forget that cruelty.

    By Blogger teddymac, at 4:17 PM  

  • "I got used to the three hours of incessant narcissistic, privileged, patriarchal, homophobic, misogynistic, hypocritical and pompous arrogance. Yes, I will admit he can be very funny, the same way Andrew Dice Clay is funny..."

    I have been a regular Limbaugh listener for about three months. I'm a black Hispanic (an immigrant from the Dominican Republic), and all I ever knew about Rush Limbaugh sounded like what you just said: that he was a hateful racist, an extremist.

    But since I started listening to his program (I download the pod cast at night and listen to them on my commute to and back from work) I have yet to hear anything in his program that give credence to those accusations against him or to what you just wrote.

    I never found the humor in Andrew Dice Clay and could never imagine why anybody would laugh at his "jokes" and thinly-veiled racism. A few weeks after Obama was inaugurated I was reading a post at the Flopping Aces blog that criticized the president and deplored the fact that we now have a mulatto for president. I wrote back and asked what was the relevance of Obama's race and a few hours later my comment mysteriously disappeared. I've never been to that blog again.

    You see, Keith Olbermann is able to have a "conversation" with Jeneane Garofalo in his program at MSNBC in which they stated that RNC chairman Michael Steele suffers from "Stockholm Syndrome" and if "self-loathing". Nobody stops and thinks on the racism implied in that statement (mainly, all blacks are equal and should think and act the same way and not be republicans).

    Sorry, I doubt very much that you were really paying attention to Limbaugh's words (you were working, weren't you? or did you get three hours breaks?).



    By Blogger Ulises Jorge Bidó, at 5:17 PM  

  • Nice try at the straw man, Ulises; doubting as if I "really listened" to him. Oh, and the Olbermann diversion was a nice try, too. Irrelevant, but nice. I haven't heard that diversionary tactic from the right wing in, oh, a week or so.

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 6:04 PM  

  • PS: As for the comment about "I doubt very much that you were really paying attention to Limbaugh's words (you were working, weren't you? or did you get three hours breaks?)," yes, the company made all of the employees stand at our desks in worshipful silence for three hours -- including commercials -- while the Oracle spoke.

    By your logic, not even his admirers at the company "really paid attention."

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 6:16 PM  

  • ulises, i don't listen to limbaugh, because (1) media matters already listens for me, and (2) just because.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 6:31 PM  

  • I listened to Rush at intervals when his show was young, and he was hilarious. He was fresh and not so bloviating, more funny. He took weird calls, he did more sound effects. And at the time, hearing a conservative just be funny was interesting, because it against the zeitgeist it was interesting.

    Then I listened to him 92-93 when my boss would drive us around to worksites. He had become mean, spiteful, ugly and shrill. It was like he had found a new cartoon character to mine, that was easier than doing the earlier version of the show. This is when it also found its foaming at the mouth audience, that was quite large because it had been untapped, and quite ready to be sold to.

    Nowadays I listen to Dennis Miller, who is a libertarian version of conservative and is genuinely funny. He gives time to any well thought-out opinion, as long as it isn't an attack, He drives more of what he calls a "sense of salon".

    I like that. The era for shrillness is over. Now is the time we simply talk.

    By Blogger Undertoad, at 6:31 PM  

  • The mustang boy and his buddies simply can't take the fact that Rush is getting bigger and better. His audience may have doubled since HBO & his court jester Gibbs started treating him like an equal---and I listen because he makes much more sense than the lefties, that's why.

    By Blogger dave in boca, at 12:12 AM  

  • True, Rush is getting bigger. But girth isn't everything.

    By Blogger Mustang Bobby, at 2:27 AM  

  • Extremely well-written, Bobby, it's nice to know that forced listening to Rush does not kill brain cells as I feared. I try to listen to him as well Hannity, O'Rielly, and Beck, but generally, within a couple of minutes, they have lied and insulted my intelligence to such a degree, I have two choices. Turn the channel or put my foot through the screen.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:41 PM  

  • That Japanese poster is onto something (or maybe just on something).

    Anyway, I'm a liberal and I've listened responsibly to Rush, both out of intellectual curiosity as well as because my Mom is a huge fan and has encouraged me. And here's why I no longer listen to him: He's a liar. He can't speak for more than 90 seconds without lying or misrepresenting. It's the latter that I have the real problem with; he's free to have his own opinion and defend it, but it's really lame that he (and most right-wing pundits, and, by tragic extension, their listeners) lie about what the left-wing, liberal and/or progressive positions are. Like I said, I conside myself to be a responsible participant in political discourse; that means I can accurately represent the conservative position in fair and balanced policy terms. It's a shame that the inverse is not true.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:53 PM  

  • I think Ulises is a "plant". Did you know that the GOP actually pays people to get on liberal blogs and spin GOP talking points. There was a guy last week and I do not remember his name, but he admitted getting $5.00 bucks a pop for e-mails just like this one. I work with several people from the Dominican Republic and I will bet my last paycheck Ulises is a fraud.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 PM  

  • I see no difference between Fats Limbaugh and any random infomercial shill. He has one agenda, to promote himself and Republican extremism. He has no interest in dialog or discourse for the obvious reason, he is not capable of debate.

    By Blogger moondancer, at 1:11 PM  

  • If it smells like Sh*t do you have to put your nose in it to make sure it's Sh*t? Same with the pedophile Rush. He is Sh*t so I already know not to listen.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:21 PM  

  • IIRC, it was Bernard Shaw who quipped that one doesn't need to eat the whole egg to know it's rotten. But hey, I'm sure Rush's racism, bigotry and well-documented habit of lying and bullshitting about nearly everything is much more appealing in the context of the full show. Funny how Klavan doesn't mention that - or care. Well, if nothing else, Klavan's provided a strong argument for not listening to Klavan...

    By Blogger Batocchio, at 3:55 PM  

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