I’m going to listen to Rush Limbaugh for six weeks (so you don’t have to)
A few weeks ago, I got to know a Twitter user named @TopConservative. Although I didn’t catch his name, he blogs at AlabamaTeaParty.org, which bills itself as ”the most conservative blog in America!” Despite what you might think, he came off as a decent and open-minded guy, and we had a good time poking fun at our differences of opinion.
Most of these differences had to do with talk radio behemoth Rush Limbaugh. @TopConservative had followed me because I had mentioned Limbaugh in a tweet, and he asked me if I’d ever actually listened to his show. Although I’ve heard a lot of his content over the years – mostly second-hand through Media Matters, The Daily Show and other professional bullshit debunkers – I confessed that I’d never heard an entire episode.
Yes, @TopConservative replied, a whole episode would be a good start. But to really “catch on” to Limbaugh, he insisted, you’ve really got to give him six straight weeks.
Once I realized he wasn’t pulling my leg, I felt a little sick. Three hours of loudmouthed right-wing radio, five days a week for six weeks? Contrary to what a lot of Limbaugh’s listeners might think of the average liberal, I have a job and a family! Have I really got that much time to waste on such a bitter old man? Do I really want to risk becoming one of his “dittoheads?”
Well, the more I thought about it, the more I came around. If I did listen to Limbaugh’s show for a few weeks, I’d be in a much better, more informed position to criticize him. Plus, the next time one of my friends wondered aloud how anyone could possibly vote Republican, I might be able to give them a little insight.
So I’ve decided to give it a try, and I’ve created an account on Twitter to chronicle the experience. I’ve picked the six-week period that starts on Monday, 1 October 2012 – which is my birthday, as it happens, so angry birthday to me. That block of time ends on the Friday after the US election, so I figure it’ll be a great opportunity to hear Rush at whatever passes for his best.
There are going to be some rules, of course:
- I haven’t yet decided how I’m going to listen to the show; I may not be able to tune in live, while I’m at work, but I like the idea of listening to a podcast later, perhaps at double speed. In any case, I’ll comment on each episode on the day it airs.
- I’m going to listen with an open mind, which means I’m going to disagree with a lot of people on a lot of points. Anyone arguing that disagreeing with Rush is proof that I’ve been brainwashed by the liberal media, however, will be laughed off the web.
- I’m going to try and be respectful, and I’m asking everyone who follows or replies to do the same. Trolls of any political affiliation won’t be acknowledged, and in the unlikely event of someone trying to take a fight to my blog or personal Twitter account, I don’t mind hitting the “block” button.
- I’m doing this for fun, so if it becomes a thankless chore or a daily screaming match, I’m going to stop. It’s my hope that this will lead to a great six-week discussion about the tone of political discourse, but if it doesn’t, I’m happy to cut my losses.
The challenge starts two weeks from today. Wish me luck, follow @SixWeeksofRush for updates, and feel free to spread the word. Thanks!
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