When I heard that Rush Limbaugh had died, my first instinct was to post what Arthur posted. In fact, the graphic I purloined from Arthur with permission. My parents DID use to say that if you don’t have something good to say about someone to say nothing.
Then someone on Quora wrote, “Do you liberals have ANYTHING good to say about him?” So I thought and I thought, and I thought some more. Maybe it’s the Christian thing, or maybe just a challenge. So I took some bits from 1440.com, the AP, the Boston Globe, and Daily Kos.
He was consequential
“You didn’t have to like or even listen to Rush Limbaugh to be affected by what he did. Conservative talk radio wasn’t a genre before him. Without Limbaugh, it’s hard to imagine a Fox News Channel, or a President Donald Trump, or a media landscape defined by shouters of all stripes that both reflect and influence a state of political gridlock.”
“’He was the most important individual media figure of the last four decades,” said Ian Reifowitz, professor of historical studies at the State University of New York and author of ‘The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh’s Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump.’ Limbaugh led the way in getting people “scared about the browning of the country.”
Changing governmental regs have consequences
“Launched in 1988—shortly after the repeal of a policy requiring equal airtime for opposing commentary on matters of public importance—” his eponymous talk show “expanded to more than 650 affiliate networks, boasting an estimated 20 million monthly listeners “
“There is no talk radio as we know it without Rush Limbaugh. It just doesn’t exist,” said Sean Hannity, who has 15 million radio listeners beyond his Fox News Channel show. “And I’d even make the argument in many ways: there’s no Fox News or even some of these other opinionated cable networks…”
“It wasn’t just that he transformed the media landscape, but he transformed the Republican Party,” said Nicole Hemmer, author of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics.” “He became a power player and someone who could move voters.”
He made vulgarity acceptable
“Some of Limbaugh’s language was downright ugly. He invented the term ‘feminazi,’ called Chelsea Clinton a ‘dog’ when she was 12 years old and had to apologize for calling a young woman a ‘slut’ for arguing that birth control be covered by health insurance. He mocked the death of AIDS victims and played the parody song ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ when Obama was elected president.
“In the Limbaugh lexicon, advocates for the homeless were ‘compassion fascists,’… environmentalists were ‘tree-hugging wackos.’ He delivered ‘AIDS updates’ with a Dionne Warwick song, ‘I’ll Never Love This Way Again,’ ridiculed Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and called global warming a hoax.
“The headline on HuffPost’s obituary said Limbaugh ‘saturated America’s airwaves with cruel bigotries, lies and conspiracy theories.’ The Root called him a ‘spouter of racist, hate-filled garbage.'” And he sparked a “firestorm of loud-mouthed, racist, misogynist imitators.”
Ahead of the curve re: fake news
“He was not above baldfaced lies. During the debate over Obama’s 2009 health care bill, he fed the rumor mills over its provisions to have Medicare and insurers pay for optional consultations with doctors on palliative and hospice care, saying they empowered ‘death panels’ that would ‘euthanize’ elderly Americans.
“Limbaugh supported Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen and, on January 7, compared rioters at the Capitol to people who sparked the Revolutionary War.”
His wife apparently loved him
Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, made the announcement of his death on his show.
That’s all I’ve got, except for a Mark Evanier story and some guy talking mostly about himself.
What is the #1 thing that annoys you on social media?
Mostly that so much of it is so banal. I post these blog posts to my Facebook and Twitter and get a few comments. I write, in response to an Esquire clickbait article, “If you think I’m going to click on this 80 times, you’re crazy;” it’s gotten over 120 likes, many of them in recent days.
Sometimes, though, it does some good. Which nicely segues to… *** Jaquandor muses:
I often hear calls for “a national conversation” to deal with Big Issues. What would a “national conversation” look like?
Since we can’t seem to agree on simple concepts, such as facts about science, I think the “national conversations” bubble up in ways that I don’t think can possibly be entirely controlled.
The sudden rush to remove Confederate battle flags from Wal-Mart, Amazon, and other retailers in recent days clearly was a conversation WE had. That emblem was obviously not a significant issue to most folk the day before the Charleston shootings. But when those people died, and their loved ones showed such grace in mourning, WE decided, or most of us, that the “stars and bars” that the presumed killer embraced were suddenly toxic.
Now if you WANT to have a “national discussion,” such as the ones President Obama has periodically attempted to instigate about race, it’s usually a flop. “He’s a race baiter.” “Ooo, he used the N-word,” without any understanding of the context of what he was trying to express. “There’s just one race, the human race,” which is both true and irrelevant.
In this age of increasing partisan division, I am finding it harder and harder to even empathize with the “other side” (in my case, the political right in this country). I used to at least understand how they arrived at their worldview, if not share it, but now I increasingly can’t fathom how or why they would look at the world that way at all. Does this make sense to you, and if so, what can be done about it?
For me, this is less of a problem of left/right, and more an issue of “Do they really mean what they say, are they just trying to be provocateurs, or are they just intellectually lazy?”
My own defense mechanism is to declare that certain parties – Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Congressman Louis Gohmert (R-TX), and certain others – as unreliable reporters. I don’t mean “reporters” in a news sense, but that what they say, what they report, is, based on a great deal of observation, not worthy of my consideration.
This is actually useful because it minimizes my outrage. I don’t spew in anger ranting, “How can Hannity say such a stupid thing?” Instead, I can calmly note, “Oh, there’s Hannity saying something inane again. Ho-hum.” It’s SO much better for my blood pressure.
George Carlin said, over ten years ago on an album (closer to fifteen): “Wanna know what’s comin’ next? Guns in church! That’ll happen, you’ll see.” Nervous tittering laughter from the audience, and yet… here we are. How inevitable was this, and how do you see future historians looking back on our incredible resistance to the mere idea of giving up our guns?
At least the gun thing comes from an interpretation – a faulty one, I’d contend – of the US Constitution, backed, I’m afraid, by our Supreme Court.
After Charleston, I was watching a LOT of news. One security expert said churches, and other “soft targets,” need to have “situational awareness” when someone comes in who is a DLR, “doesn’t look right.” As someone who sits in the choir loft, I have seen a number of people walk through the church doors, who, some would suggest, “don’t look right,” but who have subsequently become members of the congregation.
Padlocking to keep “them” out is a formula to kill a religious body as sure as bombs or bullets would, just more slowly.
Moreover, I listened to two sisters of one of the murdered congregants of Mother Emanuel, and they talked about a fearlessness that comes from loving God. This is why, a week to the day after the shootings, they and over 250 others were present for the Wednesday Bible study. *** SamuraiFrog interjected:
Thanks for pointing this out, because I was unaware of it. Not surprisingly, I’m generally opposed to it on both theological and strategic grounds. Nonviolent direct action as done by Gandhi and Martin Luther King was very effective, and shows the higher moral position; of course, both of them were eventually assassinated.
Still, forgiving white supremacy can be a real burden. Mother Emanuel’s Bible study the week after the shootings was reportedly from the New Testament book of 1 Peter. I don’t know the verses they studied, but here are some representative verses from chapter 2, verses 19-21: “For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God… if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this, you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
I can imagine some black folks thinking, “To hell with THAT!” So I UNDERSTAND #WeWillShootBack. I don’t endorse it, but I know where it comes from. *** Thomas McKinnon says:
With all that is going on in the news, have you talked to your daughter about racism?
Tom, it’s post-racial America. What’s to talk about?
Actually, The Daughter and I often watch the news together and discuss what it means. When she’s seen stories from Ferguson to Charleston, from Freddie Gray, who died in Baltimore in police custody, to Tamir Rice, who died about two seconds after the Cleveland police arrived. There’s fodder for a lot of conversation.
Current events have been a great point of entry, actually. I was loath to just dump on her some of the crap I had endured over the years. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” I was thinking, maybe hoping, that we were getting there sooner than it’s turned out. *** Arthur@AmeriNZ picks up on a theme from others:
Thinking of race relations in the USA, and maybe racial politics, who has surprised you the most?
Jon Stewart. I didn’t think, in his political analysis on The Daily Show, that race was particularly his thing. By his own admission, he was slow to hire correspondents of color. Larry Wilmore, who now has his own show, might get to pontificate occasionally from 2006-2014.
But Stewart started taking on the issue of race from his own voice. It may have started before this, but the pivotal program for me was the August 26, 2014 episode, where he first experiences the Ferguson Protest Challenge, then ends the Race/Off segment with, and I’m slightly paraphrasing here: “If you’re tired of hearing about racism, imagine how exhausting it is to be living with it.”
More recently, Stewart parodied the “Helper Whitey” effect… in a segment with Jessica Williams and Jordan Klepper. “First Williams [a black woman] would make a point, but Klepper [a white man] wouldn’t listen to her. When Stewart made the exact same point a few seconds later, Klepper jumped to agree.”
Who has disappointed you the most?
Bill Clinton, who got dubbed by someone as the “first black President,” for some reason, but who gutted the economic safety net, and continued the process of mass incarceration. Yeah, he did have a decent record overall on civil rights, but I guess I expected more.
Though the first person to really disappoint me was Jesse Jackson. He was running for President in 1984 when he used a slur against Jews in describing New York City, and that ended my support for him.
I’ve mentioned the cafeteria in our building. It got taken over by this new company that was nickel-and-diming everything. A cup of ice was ten cents without a drink, but then they charged a dime even when people bought a drink. The prices went up, generally as well.
But there was a woman who worked behind the register who got fired that really set me off. Her name was Shirley. She’d worked in the organization for about ten years. She was let go because she was so highly paid; after a decade, she was making a whopping $12/hour. She knew all the customers by name, something no one else did.
So I stopped going to the cafeteria. I buy food from home or buy a Subway sub on the way to work for lunch. It’s been a couple of months now.
A real boycott, I suppose, one would announce and galvanize the folks. I do know several others who have avoided the place, but I have no idea whether it is making any difference to the bottom line. But it feels like the right thing. Burger King to Buy Tim Hortons for $11.4 Billion. And I boycott BK because they’re playing that corporate inversion game.
I’ve discovered there are some people who are such clowns that I no longer pay attention to what they say, and wonder why anyone cares anymore. Rush is background noise. Nothing he says matters to me, he convinces no one of his point of view who wasn’t already convinced. He’s just not worth my minimal effort. *** Speaking of Change.org petitions, Please Invite the Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars to the White House.
The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars were a Little League team comprised of African American youth from Charleston, South Carolina. The team was denied the opportunity to participate in the 1955 Little League World Series (LLWS) due to a collective boycott of South Carolina’s 61 white leagues. Little League Baseball, to its credit, refused the state’s request to host a segregated tournament but also barred the Cannon Street team from competing in the LLWS due to an existing rule prohibiting teams from advancing via forfeit…
Rather than succumb to bitterness, these fourteen boys have grown into strong, loving, and upstanding citizens. Their lives are a testament to the character and courage learned through playing America’s pastime.
So rectifying a previous boycott seems to be a fair outcome.
I hear some white folks complain, “I hear black people say it. Why can’t I?” It’s as though they feel they are being discriminated against or somehow deprived.
There’s a great cartoon that takes that argument apart. I was also taken by this article about hipster racism: “ideas, speech, and action meant to denigrate another’s person race or ethnicity under the guise of being urbane, witty (meaning ‘ironic’ nowadays), educated, liberal, and/or trendy;” I call BS on that “post-racial” so-called humor.
“The people at the top of the rap music food chain … know the dishonesty and the illogic that fuels the popular sentiment within commercial rap music industry that states the embrace of the N-word is harmless because young people have redefined it and erased its dehumanizing power…
“You don’t change something built to destroy you into something that uplifts you. It’s the equivalent of thinking the slop/food fed to slaves can be transformed into raw fruits and vegetables…
“As long as we keep cooking and serving up the N-word to each other, we’re going to remain mentally comfortable hunting and executing each other like animals and throwing on baseball caps supporting the killers.
“Regardless of the user, the N-word is still doing the exact job it was intended to do in the 1700s. Hell, it’s doing a better job.” That also addresses WHY don’t I like the N-word.
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