Recap: Week Two of “Six Weeks of Rush” was the last, and there are two reasons why
Yes, I’ve officially given up on my Six Weeks of Rush challenge, without even crossing the halfway point. After just two weeks of listening to this show, I’ve concluded that there’s nothing I can learn from it in another four weeks that I haven’t already learned from the first two (or that I could learn from a third-rate introduction to media literacy course, for that matter).
Officially, the reason this challenge is over is because the person who first issued it to me, a fellow named Norm from Alabama, seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth. His Twitter account, @TopConservative, and his blog, alabamateaparty.org, both went out of service around the time I began the challenge, and as of this writing, they have yet to return. So on Friday night, via @SixWeeksofRush, I announced that the challenge would officially end at 12:00 PM EST today, when this afternoon’s show started, unless his blog or his Twitter account had resurfaced by then.
Neither of them have, so the bet’s off. If he’s not invested in this thing, then I don’t see why I should be. To tell you the truth, I’m relieved that I no longer have to listen to this ridiculous show, post repetitive and redundant recaps, or test my wife’s patience any more than I already have.
Which brings me to the second and real reason I decided to put an early end to this thing. If you’ve never read Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations by Al Franken, I encourage you to pick up a copy. About two thirds into its three hundred pages of bitter satirical invective, he writes the following:
“I think I’ve reached a point in this book where using Rush Limbaugh as a point of departure for discussing a topic has gone from being an amusing device to a sad reminder that millions of Americans are being lied to every day by an obese millionaire with a repugnant political agenda.”
That’s pretty much where I’m at right now, not only with regard to the show, but with the recaps and some of the ensuing discussions. The recap of Friday night’s show, which prompted a subtle but distinct nervous breakdown on my part, has generated some especially nasty and disappointing feedback, focusing much more on “liberals versus conservatives” than on any particular issues.
Even Nola Gurl, who’s been scolding me for rude behaviour ever since she discovered that I once called Glenn Beck an asshole, issued a hearty #BooHoo this afternoon to Chelsea Clinton over the fact that Limbaugh, a grown man, made fun of her appearance on his television show when she was just thirteen years old.
With all due respect, this is the person who’s been trying to give me politeness lessons? The only lesson on offer seems to be that it’s okay when conservatives do it to liberals, but not the other way around. And just so you don’t go thinking I’m judging Nola Gurl or other conservatives too harshly, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I’ve heard from plenty of liberals since this project began who are too quick to mock conservatives in just the same way.
That’s the main reason I’m done. It’s people like Limbaugh, and too many of his listeners and critics alike, who think that politics is a matter of liberals versus conservatives. It’s people like me, and hopefully you, who prefer to think it’s a matter of solving problems and working together, at least on its best days. That’s a leap of faith, and lately I’ve been feeling like the more time I spend dissecting Limbaugh’s show, the more I run the risk of compromising that faith.
That said, I’m going to keep the discussion going for the next four weeks. I’ll be using the project’s Twitter account to talk about relevant media and politics issues. But I’m not going to “use Rush Limbaugh as a point of departure,” because it’s a repetitive waste of your time and mine.
The people who are capable of engaging with Rush’s agenda don’t need me to do it for them. The people whose world view is so black and white that they believe Limbaugh speaks the truth, just because he counters the mainstream media, aren’t going to change their minds because of anything I might say. And if neither of them would benefit from a point-by-point deconstruction of the show, then what’s the point?
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