This article is cross-posted from Phil Latham’s personal blog, “Voices from Behind the Pine Curtain.”
How you feel about the death of radio personality Rush Limbaugh probably defines your politics. U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert has filed a resolution in Congress to honor Rush’s life. It probably will not get much support from Democrats.
Limbaugh was a bomb-thrower who hurled his grenades toward anyone who disagreed with him. He was a huge supporter of Donald Trump.
If you tilted your head at exactly the right angle, you might have thought Limbaugh was funny in a particular sort of way. In the same manner, you might see haggis as a tasty treat without considering what you are really swallowing.
Limbaugh fans seemed willing to gulp down darn near anything with gusto no matter how nasty it was. Now that he’s gone, they will look for someone else just as vitriolic, if they cannot find anyone who breathes more fire.
Limbaugh died the other day and I’m sorry for that. I don’t wish lung cancer or suffering upon anyone. Truth to tell, though, Limbaugh apparently never had any such compunction.
If you listened to the show his schtick was always the same: Erect a straw figure out of feminists (he called them feminazis), environmentalists, gays, transgenders, people of color, the poor, the powerless, liberals — any group that really couldn’t hit back — and take great joy in knocking it down.
I suppose it was great fun for the millions who listened to him. Hope you never get so bored that such passes as entertainment.
It was best to ignore Limbaugh if you could but when he ventured his little show behind the Pine Curtain, I felt compelled to talk back to El Rushbo. I did not find it to be much fun.
In my experience, two groups include the most humorless people alive. The first are atheists. I wrote a column with a little joke about atheism that was distributed via The New York Times news and every atheist in the country was ready to burn me for blasphemy. Who knew atheists were so touchy?
Following them closely are the so-called Dittoheads, the Limbaugh army.
I didn’t start the war with Limbaugh. It began one day when he read a satire piece — not that he labeled it as such — about a school bus in Marshall that went about its route so as to avoid passing by any churches.
I was editor and publisher of the Marshall News Messenger at the time and got calls from some outraged newspaper subscribers wanting to know why a story about this had not appeared in the paper.
Listening to Limbaugh in the middle of my workday wasn’t part of my schedule and I thought surely Limbaugh wouldn’t make this up out of thin air. Wrong. That’s exactly what he was doing and it only took a few calls to the school district to find that out. It was a gag and it made my city a national joke. I did not find it funny.
So I wrote about it, first to tell our readers there was no truth in what Limbaugh said and, second, to take him to task for pulling such a stunt. Little did I know such fake reports were part of his gig.
I’m not sure there was ever a way to tell truth from fiction on his show, which was another reason to avoid listening.
A kind reader sent my response to Limbaugh and a few days later I got calls telling me Limbaugh was talking about me by name. No, I still didn’t stop working to listen to his diatribe, but it came complete with my email address and telephone number.
Over the next week I was flooded with phone calls and several hundred emails. A few people were civil but most were not. They were outraged — OUTRAGED! — that I did not daily listen to the great man.
That wasn’t going to happen. People who work don’t have time to listen to radio shows. It’s fine for retirees who might want to do it, or even the unemployed, but those who have jobs can’t take time out to lollygag about listening to some guy bloviating, whether from the right or the left.
My lack of contrition didn’t sit well with the Dittoheads, though some eventually understood my point. I gave no apologies. Doing such a thing might have identified me as a “snowflake.”