BTW, for harsher comments, I would suggest that the pit thread would be more appropriate.
Rush was nothing and nobody until he started broadcasting his hate. He’ll return to that well-deserved status now that he’s stopped.
For those grieving over him, I’d like to say:
- Why? Quote your favorite funny bit from him.
- Don’t be too put out. This time next year, nobody including you will be thinking about him at all.
I think Biden should award the Medal of Freedom to Rush’s tumor. Hopefully it wasn’t injured too badly while it was doing the necessary work to promote a civil society.
Good night, everybody ! Don’t forget to tip your bartenders !!
[people who never joke – at least not unless it’s scathing invective at the expense of somebody a few rungs down the ladder from them – are to be handled/viewed very cautiously and kept at more than arm’s length. I still can’t believe the Shit-Gibbon’s entourage more than once tried to convince us that Dear Leader was joking … about anything]
Rush Limbaugh has died. Life is a cycle.
Perhaps it is appropriate to share one of the very first YouTube videos that another poster shared some years back as a way to remember that although “the more things change, the more they stay the same”, time does pass.
Often, the rest of us are left wondering just how we should move on…
Some of my friends and relatives liked him a lot. I always thought he was an arrogant blowhard.
I suppose it is sad when anyone dies, but I can’t muster up any personal grief for the idiot.
There have been times when I wanted to write about Limbaugh, and it seems that time has arrived. My relationship with the man is complicated – once a devoted fan, now I recognize him as emblematic of a virulent, whiny strain of modern conservatism, which… interestingly… is showing its culmination here in Texas on the very day his soul is consigned to Hell.
One thing which has never received the sort of attention I expected is the impact of 1990s Atlanta on the current conservative cultural landscape – In 1991/92 I partially lived in Newt Gingrich’s district (Athens the other time), Sean Hannity was the #1 or #2 AM talk radio guy (before he went to FOX), the very popular and homespun Ludlow Porch (think Paul Harvey meets Appalachia) was shockingly replaced by firebrand Libertarian (now devoted Trumpy) Neil Boortz… and Limbaugh landed on the AM dial, on… IIRC… WSB 750, making the Atlanta market the largest market (for a few weeks or months) on the Education in Broadcasting (EIB) network.
And to 24+ year old me, who grew up with some of the same values that the-then conservative movement openly espoused (financial responsibility, hard work, freedom to open a business), it was thrilling. My team was becoming a political force (and had been, of course, with the ascension of Reagan, but I wasn’t politically conscious or educated enough to understand that), and I willingly joined the soon-triumphant conservative movement against those wimpy bleeding-heart liberals. I made sure to time my lunches to Rush’s program, I openly devoured conservative screeds called The True State of the Planet and Milton Friedman’s books, and, still today, I find Atlas Shrugged an enjoyable read… but possibly for reasons the author didn’t intend.
And, of course, Rush’s first two books, The Way Things Ought To Be and See, I Told You So. What I’m saying is this: I was a big dittohead, and a bigger conservative, especially in the early 1990s (and to this day I think Rush had the single best Bill Clinton voice impersonation in the 1990s). But, in looking back, it was Rush who caused me to have my doubts about what I believed, who got me to do as my Philosophy 101 professor said – to question my assumptions, and eventually caused my break with conservative thinking. And, like so many breaks like this, it began over something stupid, minor, and irrelevant:
Independence Day comes out. Rush sees it (or has a screening). And after this, he went on a diatribe about how the film was full of liberal crap, with the biggest one being Jeff Goldblum’s relationship with the poor homeless man he played chess with and how JG went back, even with everything about to go to shit, to rescue this one homeless guy. Those damned liberals even ruined a “damned alien spaceships blows stuff up” movie! This didn’t happen in the America Rush knew! And here they were, writing some “save the homeless guy” subplot so they can indoctrinate people into being bleeding hearts (And for those who have read this far but have NOT seen the movie (what sort of Doper are you, anyway?), the “homeless guy” was Goldblum’s father who was constantly called “Pops” by Goldblum and who referenced Goldblum’s mother at least once in the movie and who’s Goldblum ex-wife asked “You brought your father?” in one of the lighter moments of the film.)
Like I said. Minor. Inconsequential. And I assumed that he would be told of his mistake and that he would correct himself and that would be that… and he never did. Not even on the rudimentary website he had at the time (1996). And it bothered me that he would make such an elementary mistake, generate this entire bullshit argument out of it, and not even come back and say “Hey, heard that Judd Hirsch was Jeff’s father, and not some homeless guy. Sorry! Never mind!”
And, so, the doubts began. I questioned my assumptions, starting with Rush’s honesty and research. If he was wrong about such a fundamental aspect of an item he considered worthy commenting on, what else is he wrong about? So I listened closely, and I found that Rush wasn’t really true to the conservative values that I thought he held, that he was something else:
- He was a whiner. Everything which went badly was because of the liberals. Conservatives could not be free because of liberals. Liberals were holding hostage business, people, America.
a. But he was big into conservatives being “rugged individualists”, that conservatives just solved problems and didn’t let others stop them (like Hank Reardon in Atlas Shrugged). How this reconciled with conservatives being at the mercy of liberals was never explored.
- He never proved anything. All he did was comment on the news and complained about it. I noticed that, unlike what I was taught (and apparently forgot in the few years since I left), Rush always started with the conclusion and worked his arguments to fit that. It’s a common saying that “reality has a liberal bias” but it’s also true that, as Rush and his acolytes have shown, conservative bias has its own reality.
- He never gave credit to his opponents, except… grudgingly… on some cultural matters.
- No matter how much the world began to bend to his wishes, he was always on the losing side.
This constant sense of being under siege is my biggest emotional memory of Rush – he turned the entire conservative movement into what my grandfather would call the “Poor Me” Club, a victimization cult, personally slighted by everything. When I think of Rush, this whining is my biggest impression.
My final break with Rush came in the 2000 election. Gore won, Bush lost, Bush conceded, and then… the GOP decided to steal the election, and they did. And the constant whining and badgering and rationalizations by Rush and the conservative mediasphere just, in time, sickened me and I turned Rush off sometime that November, early December, only to return on occasion… 9/11 was one, there were others, for I was still a conservative (as it was still defined then), but not the sort that Rush Limbaugh was.
The GOP didn’t do themselves any favors with me during the 2000s – the Iraq Lie, the Great Recession, even the amount of attention focused on Terry Schiavo and other sensational shit did nothing to prove to me that the conservative movement was truly competent at running government, but it wasn’t until this past decade that I realized that Rush’s conservative movement, the whiny, aggrieved mass of constantly-angered white people were openly a threat to American and world security.
And now, here we are, as the people of Texas huddle in the culmination of Rush’s desires on the very day he passes to Hell: in a GOP-lead state, one which focuses on business more than people, millions hungry, cold, without power and, most of the time because of spotty internet service, entertainment or interaction, with our GOP leaders dunking on everyone over cultural and fake-science issues, still confident in their Rush-lead belief that Reagan was correct, that the worst words you can hear is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”, confident in their ideological reality while their constituents are dying.
Looking at it, I’m wondering if I’m in some bizarro Atlas Shrugged which literally ended with the population impoverished and desperate because of a blizzard, ready for the Randian supermen to take over… except, in our world, it’s Rush’s supermen and their Randian philosophy who have led to this disaster.
In the end, Rush was John Galt.
tldr: Rush’s misinterpretation of Independence Day landed us in Bizarro Atlas Shrugged
That was fantastic.
I will. WOOHOO!!!
That was enjoyable to read. Thanks for sharing it.
Well written JohnT, and many points resonated with me. I was a bit younger than you when I got into Rush (high school), owned the books, even watched the TV show. A bit unbelievably to current me, I wrote my application essay to Northwestern University about him. (I got in.)
But then I began to think critically about his words and where my values truly stood and little by little I went through the process you detailed so well in your post and ended up wondering how in the hell I ever came under his spell. It’s weird because he was such an important figure in my life for a good two years or so.
I can’t cheer anyone’s death—it’s just not in me. But I’m not sad that he’s gone.
I was Republican, but more of a Hawk and fiscal conservative. The hate in his message and more importantly, the blowhard in his message never appealed to me. For what it is worth, while I am a Jon Stewart fanboy to say the least, I still can’t stand Bill Maher at all as he is also an arrogant blowhard.
Agree on Limbaugh and on Maher.
Rush Limbaugh had a segment called “AIDS update” where he would mock gay men dying of AIDS while “Ill never love this way again” played in the background. He was a piece of shit, as are his fans. I hope he died in pain, like the people he made fun of.
Great post overall. You overlooked (IMO) his most consequential whine: “THE MEEEEEEEEEEEDIA…”
As I see it, his most toxic contribution is transforming a generation of racist uncles into soi-disantes media critics, capable of finding a tiny nitpicking error that allows them to discount the entirety of an NY Times piece, as they simultaneously pull up the ol’ mental garbage truck to gorge uncritically on garbage nuggets from the endless landfill of talk radio.
Limbaugh was sort of the Beatles of hate radio. His fame is less about raw talent than the fact that someone was eventually going to to it, and it turned out to be him.
He also called Chelsea Clinton the White House dog (Snopes verifies). Any grown adult who picks on a 13-year-old girl, especially one going through an awkward phase, is scum and deserves to burn in any and all hells.
While he’s definitely a blowhard, and I haven’t found his “comedic” segments funny for a while, I appreciate him for being willing to cut through some of the shitty, mushy rhetoric that permeates political discussion. He also calls out the left for some of it’s worst ideas which we need. Lastly, he’s not a lying sack of shit bent on destroying the country, so discussing him in the same breath with Rush is flat wrong.
Whiny seems about right. Also angry, confused and mean.
When I was a kid, in the 1970s, buddies in high school could get their Class Z FCC license easily and host on the radio in the middle of the night. They all had big dreams. Local radio produced local stars, the serious news guy, the drive-time team. Limbaugh was part of the end of that. New technology let big companies centralize local radio. New federal rules let big companies buy and destroy it.
As for Rush, when he started he was a happy warrior. You could hear the smile in his voice. He was a voice of reason during the OJ trial for example. But others copied what he did and as time went on he became angry and mean. At some point or another he became impossible to listen to.
All in all, he should have retired many years ago.
This is essentially what I came into this thread to say. I have had friends and relatives pass due to lung cancer. It would have been more interesting, based on his radio show, for him to die of complications from the AIDS virus…
What about Maher’s history of racist remarks? That is Limbaughesque.
This was fuckin’ ‘Laugh Out Loud’ funny, right here!