David And Rush

As I recall, David was a wisecracking Jack Russel Terrier, and Goliath was a bald guy who benefited from a lot of forced-perspective shots.

I hate when people refer to something as a ‘modern day David and Goliath tale’, because in a lot of cases the thing they’re referring to really isn’t really that much like David and Goliath at all. Honestly, I wouldn’t apply the term ‘modern day David and Goliath tale’ to anything short of a normal-sized guy killing a giant-sized guy. The last modern-day David and Goliath tale I can remember was Cloverfield, and it ends with Goliath killing David, destroying Manhattan, and breaking David’s video camera.

I bring this up because of the recent DailyKos article called Stopping Rush: A Modern David and Goliath Tale. It’s a breathless account of the 11-month struggle to cancel Rush Limbaugh’s show, and the title suggests that a young boy slaying a fearsome monster in an ancient Biblical battle is totally the same thing as a bunch of people sending nasty emails to TurboTax demanding that they quit sponsoring some fat old bigot’s radio show.

Let me be clear: I hate Rush Limbaugh this year just as much as I did last year, and late at night I still fantasize about him, John Boehner, and Rick Santorum all catching Lou Gehrig’s Disease on the same day. But if I had to choose, I’d much rather censorship get Lou Gehrig’s Disease than any of those other assholes.

Stopping Rush is rife with smug language applauding the efforts of various organizations dedicated to eliminating Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves by identifying his sponsors and systematically petitioning them, one by one, to quit sponsoring his show:  

Many of our volunteers across the country monitor the three hour program Monday through Friday, identifying sponsors and adding them to the database.  This work is not for the faint of heart, but without these volunteers the public wouldn't have any sponsor data at all.

I think it should be a cause for alarm when the act of listening to views you don’t agree with is described as, ‘not for the faint of heart.’ They make it sound like these people are risking their lives clearing radioactive waste or hunting down fugitive Nazis when really they’re just listening to a radio show that millions of other Americans actually enjoy, many of whom literally are faint of heart because they’re so old.

The piece continues, praising the fact that Limbaugh has reportedly lost 2200 sponsors in the past year, before taking a dark tone and highlighting the right-wing retaliatory measures taken against members of various Stop Rush organizations:

There has been a predictable right wing backlash from the public against StopRush as well. …[Our volunteers] have had people contact their employers to try to silence them…

On the one hand, I sympathize with people who have been targeted for cyberstalking by right wing fanatics, but on the other hand you lose a lot of the moral high ground when you complain that people are trying to silence you by attacking your livelihood when you spend a lot of your time trying to silence someone by attacking his livelihood.

Stopping Rush argues that the movement fully supports Limbaugh’s right to free speech, just not his right to broadcast that speech to a wide audience, and they allege that their campaign of contacting his sponsors and questioning their affiliation with him is simply an exercise of First Amendment rights and free market capitalism.

And all that is true – they’re undoubtedly well within their rights to do what they’re doing. I just think that dedicating so much of your time to silencing a person who hasn’t killed anybody, who doesn’t hold public office, and is speaking to a steadily decreasing audience isn’t so much a patriotic exercise of First Amendment rights as it is just being an antagonistic dick to somebody you don’t agree with. Admittedly, Rush Limbaugh is the granddaddy of being an antagonistic dick, but from the high-minded language used in the article these people seem to fancy themselves as being above his level of shenanigans.

Last year, when the Sandra Fluke thing was still in full force, I exchanged a few Facebook messages with a conservative female friend who was a Rush Limbaugh fan. She talked a lot about how frustrating it was to her that so many people were critical of Rush without ever listening to a full episode of his show so they could put his comments in context.

And I thought to myself, “By golly, she’s right! I’m going to go listen to a recording of Rush Limbaugh’s show so I know exactly what it is I’m hating.”

I’d spent five seconds searching for an online copy of a recent episode when I realized that I didn’t fucking want to listen to an episode of Rush Limbaugh’s show because I find him disgusting. So I simply continued not listening to Rush Limbaugh’s show. That’s how I’m stopping Rush.

If Rush Limbaugh actually loses his radio show, I guarantee you he’ll have his own show on Fox that same night. His audience is shrinking, but it’s still sizable, and if those people want to waste three hours a day listening to a shitty radio show they have that right, just like I have the right to snort Diet Coke out my nose when Bill Maher makes a funny joke about how God isn’t real.

Rush won’t stop Rushing until he’s dead – which will probably be sooner rather than later, because as healthy neocon lifestyles go he’s certainly no Paul Ryan. Any attempts to get rid of him before then are just going to change his medium, not his message.

I guess simply ignoring Rush Limbaugh is kind of a luxury I have as an employed white male, because I'm pretty much the last person he's going to shit on. All I’m saying is, it’s a lot easier for me to not think about him and just run out the clock on the rest of his life than it is to spend every waking minute trying to thwart him. But maybe I’m just faint of heart.  

Truman Capps would be kind of flattered if tens of thousands of people devoted so much time to trying to shut him up.