Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 29, 2009
By: Hilzoy

When You Assume, You Make an Ass of U and Me

Andrew Klavan in the LA Times:

"If you are reading this newspaper, the likelihood is that you agree with the Obama administration's recent attacks on conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. That's the likelihood; here's the certainty: You've never listened to Rush Limbaugh.

Oh no, you haven't. Whenever I interrupt a liberal's anti-Limbaugh rant to point out that the ranter has never actually listened to the man, he always says the same thing: "I've heard him!"

On further questioning, it always turns out that by "heard him," he means he's heard the selected excerpts spoon-fed him by the distortion-mongers of the mainstream media. These excerpts are specifically designed to accomplish one thing: to make sure you never actually listen to Limbaugh's show, never actually give him a fair chance to speak his piece to you directly.

By lifting some typically Rushian piece of outrageous hilarity completely out of context, the distortion gang knows full well it can get you to widen your eyes and open your mouth in the universal sign of Liberal Outrage. Your scrawny chest swelling with a warm sense of completely unearned righteousness, you will turn to your second spouse and say, "I'm not a liberal, I'm a moderate, and I'm tolerant of a wide range of differing views -- but this goes too far!""

I started listening to talk radio in 1985. (Gene Burns: he endeared himself to me by beginning every show by saying: "The Gene Burns show is brought to you by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.") I first heard Rush Limbaugh in late 1988 (possibly early 1989.) He was substituting for someone else, and I remember thinking: this guy is too obviously an idiot even for talk radio. Plainly, I was wrong.

I can't say I have often listened to his show in its entirety, but that's because for the past decade or so, I have mostly listened to talk radio in the car, and I very rarely drive for three straight hours. I have, however, listened to a lot more than snippets I get from "distortion-mongers".

Also, I'm not a guy, I don't have a second spouse, and my chest is not scrawny.

Since Klavan is "certain" I have not listened to Limbaugh, he wants to know why not:

"Let me guess at your answer. You don't need to listen to him. You've heard enough to know he's a) racist, b) hateful, c) stupid, d) merely an outrageous entertainer not to be taken seriously or e) all of the above.

Now let me tell you the real answer: You're a lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered intellectual coward. You're terrified of finding out he makes more sense than you do.

I listen to Limbaugh every chance I get, and I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word. Do I always agree with him? Of course not. I'm a conservative; I think for myself. But Limbaugh, by turns insightful, satiric, raucously funny and wise, is one of the best voices talking about first principles and policy in the country today.

Therefore, I am throwing down my gauntlet at your quivering liberal feet. I hereby issue my challenge -- the Limbaugh Challenge: Listen to the show."

Been there. Done that. Don't particularly feel the need to do it again.

However, I have a few questions for Mr. Klavan, starting with the most obvious: What makes you so certain you know all about me?

Moreover: your contempt for your imagined audience drips off the page: my chest is scrawny, my feet quiver (??), I am "spoon-fed", I don't think for myself, I make little moues of outrage on command, and, of course, I am "a lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered intellectual coward." Why my second spouse has anything to do with me is a mystery that passeth all understanding, or would be if I had a second spouse.

If this were accurate, we would not need to ask why you think this way about me. However, truth is one, but error is infinite; and since you're wrong, it is worth asking why, of the infinitely many misconceptions available to you, you chose this one in particular. Unlike you, I don't care to make pronouncements about people I don't know, but I'll venture a few guesses.

For one thing, you are "certain" you know all about a large number of people you've never met. You could have written this piece about many of your readers, or liberals you have met; instead, you chose to write about all your readers, and to claim certainty about us. That was unwise -- I mean, what are the odds that not one of your readers has listened to Limbaugh? -- but you either didn't notice or didn't care about the likelihood that you were wrong. I imagine, then, that you do not make epistemic caution your watchword.

Nor does it seem likely that you make it a habit to be generous, or to give people the benefit of the doubt. You certainly didn't do so in this case, and it seems unlikely that you would exercise charity towards people most of the time, but then abruptly switch to contempt when you get an opportunity to publish your thoughts before a very large audience.

You probably don't listen very well, if this essay is anything to go by. Listening well requires not assuming that you know in advance everything the person you're talking to is going to say. Again, most people start by not listening to individuals, and only gradually work their way up to not listening to the entire readership of a major national newspaper. So I'm guessing this is not an isolated episode.

By the same token, I'd guess that you do not have the kind of intellectual curiosity that would lead you to listen, above all, to people you disagree with. Those are the people who challenge you; the people from whom you are most likely to hear something you would never have thought of on your own. You dismiss them out of hand -- an odd thing to do in an op-ed devoted to lecturing others on their closed-mindedness.

Which is why I'd also guess that you do not have a lot of insight into yourself. If you did, it might have occurred to you to notice the rather striking fact that your column displays the very intellectual failings you are complaining about. You might also have noticed the hatred that jumps off the page, and wondered what it says about you, and how you found yourself in a position in which you are so much as tempted to insult a large group of people who are, for the most part, quite unknown to you.

Maybe you picked it up from Limbaugh. He is certainly the most obvious source for your view of liberals. Since you're a conservative and you think for yourself, though, I'm sure you didn't just accept it because you were 'spoon-fed'. There are any number of other possible explanations: hasty overgeneralization from a few liberals you met at parties, a projection of your own flaws onto others, unacknowledged anger, or a need to think of yourself as a lonely island of reason in a sea of idiocy. The one thing I do know is that you could not possibly have arrived at your certainty about what your entire readership is like based on careful reflection and close examination of the evidence. Because it's just not true.


Why go on about this? Because it's a danger for all of us, on any side of the political spectrum. It's easy to see what's wrong with making uncharitable assumptions about people you don't know when someone else is making assumptions about you. But it's always worth stopping and asking yourself: do I ever do this to the people I disagree with?

Because it's no more justifiable to do this to conservatives than it is to do it to liberals.

Hilzoy 10:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (73)

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Didn't Limburger get tossed off the TV for making racist comments about quarterbacks? Or does that not count?

Posted by: craigie on March 29, 2009 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Rush Limbaugh is a racist asshole. Andrew Klavan is a jackass.

Posted by: ed on March 29, 2009 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

If Mr. Klavan can explain to me the context in which it is not racism to play the 'Magic Negro' song during an election with the first major back candidate, I will start listening to Rush.

Posted by: gregor on March 29, 2009 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Wait! So the whole piece is built up on the notion that the only reason Rush isn't loved by "those who read this paper", is because they have prejudged him based upon spoon-fed mis-information.

Yet the only basis for this notion is that "I read this paper."

How bizarre.

Posted by: tomj on March 29, 2009 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: Kansachusetts on March 29, 2009 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

...is there any particular reason I (or anyone) should care what this person thinks of me based on my radio listening habits?

He's just another troll on the internet. You've lent him and his views unwarranted credibility just by responding.

Posted by: Freddie on March 29, 2009 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, even Goebbels made some good arguments. All you had to do was buy into his overarching master race thesis. And if you were one of the chosen race? Man. Good times.

But anyone who listens more than a few minutes to that blathering, racist, coward--and that is what Limbaugh is (he is afraid of blacks, women, Muslims, homosexuals, et al.)--has intellectual deficits the size of Bush's budgets. Limbaugh is disgusting and dangerous. He calls fire in crowded theaters full of small minded arsonists.

Posted by: Sparko on March 29, 2009 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, I think I've listened to enough Limbaugh to be able to form an opinion of anyone who follows his work closely and still considers him

by turns insightful, satiric, raucously funny and wise

And it's not positive.

Posted by: noncarborundum on March 29, 2009 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

First, please remind me to never cross you. That's the most brutal smackdown I've read in years.

Second, I would like to invite Mr. Klavan to repeat these insults in front of my hairy, 50+inch chest (I once bench pressed 500 lbs) after admiring my martial arts trophies. We'll adjust his assumptions a little. And we'll see who quivers.

I don't listen to Rush because I have a life full of people, art and activities I love, and I'd consider it both a crime and a sin to waste an instant of it on the likes of Rush. Wisdom, Klavan asserts, is to be found by listing to Rush, which tells us all we need to know about Klavan's depth and intellect. Talk radio is to wisdom what bumper stickers are to philosophy.

Posted by: Russell on March 29, 2009 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Excellence in broadcasting, indeed:


Pointer from those good people over at First Draft.

Posted by: dr2chase on March 29, 2009 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Great point timj: "I read this paper, Therefor I am misinformed." Says a lot for the paper, doesn't it?

Do you think that maybe Klavan is just spoon-feeding us misinformation right now? Hmmmm? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: In What Respect Charlie? on March 29, 2009 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

I listen to Limbaugh every chance I get, and I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word.

Unless "every chance I get" means "practically never", then these two clauses are not compatible.

Posted by: Seitz on March 29, 2009 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

I probably listen to Rush a couple of times a week while I am in the car. I think it is a good idea to know what the other side is thinking. He is the master of the smart ass high school age gimmicks of insulting people or groups in a weasley way.

He will warn his audience not to laugh when someone says ... fill the blank with a negative or racist comment. Then when he is called for saying the comment, he acts indiginent and says he didn't say that, he was just quoting other people. Or he was joking and liberals just don't have a sense of humor.

The scary thing is I have relatives that would love to see him run the country.

Posted by: shmo on March 29, 2009 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

I've listened to Rush. I stopped years ago, because I don't listen to traitors if I can avoid it.

Posted by: Mike on March 29, 2009 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Hilzoy got that off her chest...

That is why I like the NYT. You simply don't get any of that tail-pulling-for-the-sake-of-tail-pulling nonsense. Put another way: Life is too short to help pay Klavan's salary...

I mean really, wasn't Brook's piece on Friday (The Winnable War) positively thought provoking?

Posted by: koreyel on March 29, 2009 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

"On further questioning, it always turns out that by "heard him," he means he's heard the selected excerpts spoon-fed him by the distortion-mongers of the mainstream media."

Very simple. This man is projecting. That's what these guys do.

Posted by: CJ on March 29, 2009 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone reading past the byline "Andrew Klavan" pretty much deserves all the contempt the author can manage.
I mean, the man writes detective novels. These days that means crimes committed by people you don't care about solved by people you don't care about, written in a style too bland for margarine ad copy, by authors who fell to their knees in tearful gratitude when they learned of Donald E. Westlake's death--the bar just dropped a foot.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on March 29, 2009 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

I started listening to Rush Limbaugh back in the summer of 1989 and returned in the summer of 1990 until I finally saw what he was really like. I was actually a fan for a while; I must have caught him in a tame mood each time until he finally showed his true colors.

I've only heard him a few times since but I *have* seen him broadcast once, in his execrably ignorant rant about Michael J. Fox. Up yours, Klavan. The guy has done his level best to drag down American conservatives into the sewer and has harmed all of us tremendously.

My undergraduate academic advisor, a conservative ("the best government is the least government") who I picked myself, would never have behaved that way.

When are we liberals going to have a responsible, reasonable opposition instead of nuts who want to trash the wisdom of the founding fathers while claiming to be patriots?

Bill D.

Posted by: Bill D. on March 29, 2009 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Need I remind anybody that Klavan is the "Is W the Dark Knight" guy? National pubs keep giving him a platform, presumably because he's outrageous and sparks a lot of controversy, and therefore attention. But I he's a provocateur, not really a serious thinker.

Posted by: Eyescribe on March 29, 2009 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, goody. My favorite part is the teaser at the end for "next week: liberals who took the challenge."

Can we just establish for the record now that asking if there's going to be a Penthouse-style "I never thought I'd have my mind opened like this, but..." e-mail is completely moot, and should just move on to guessing the percentage of fake e-mails he'll put up to try and validate himself?

Posted by: August J. Pollak on March 29, 2009 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

The most ironic thing about this, by the way, is that a major liberal took the "Limbaugh Challenge" ten years ago. He wrote a whole book about it.

And now he's the newest Senator from the state of Minnesota.

I bet that's just the kind of results Klavan is hoping for.

Posted by: August J. Pollak on March 29, 2009 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

As no one else has addressed it, I will -- the 'second spouse' crack is a shot at... yes, I know, it's mind bogglingly idiotic, but, still, it's true... divorce.

Conservatives don't get divorces, you see. At least, not decent, God fearing conservatives. It's the left leaning goddam hippie longhair liberals with all their casual sex and contempt for family values who rush into poorly considered marriages and then bail as soon as the sex gets boring.

It amazes me the guy isn't foaming at the mouth about free love. Or how we have to man the barricades against those atheist suffragettes who want to ruin the country by giving women the vote.

Posted by: Doc Nebula on March 29, 2009 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

I've had the misfortune to be driving across vast stretches of the U.S. where the only choices on the radio were Rush Limbaugh or the radio version of the "Left Behind" series. I also have family who like to listen to Bill O'Reilly because he's the only "non-partisan" on television.

So yeah, I've heard Limbaugh. Still what amazes me is that Klavan doesn't save his contempt for the liberal readers of his paper. He has contempt for all of them.

It makes you wonder whether he starts writing by asking himself; What can I say say to these idiots, today?

The last line of the article "Hear from liberals who took the bait" shows he holds particular disdain for anyone stupid enough to take his advice.

Posted by: Jinchi on March 30, 2009 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I have listened to him, on numerous occasions, for a minute or two each time - that's about all the bullshit, nastiness and self-reverence my tolerance can handle in a sitting.

If Rush is their first choice as their own communal Moses, they'd better hunker down and prepare for a long sojourn in the wilderness.

It should be amusing, if nothing else.

Posted by: Bob Maurus on March 30, 2009 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

' ...typically Rushian piece of outrageous hilarity completely out of context... '

"Outrageous" hilarity? Not just regular hilarity?

Limbo never was and never will be the least bit funny. He has no credentials as either a stand-up comic or a published humorist. Nobody ever has or ever would hire him for those jobs. He is nothing but a corporate shill, and wouldn't have the job otherwise.

As to taking him out of context, that's not possible. With Limbo, context is everything. His show has never been anything but one long boring Republican campaign commercial. Everything he says is intended to benefit the Republican Party. Nothing he says has any meaning in any other context. Everybody knows what that context is by now: Right-wing hate-mongering, pure and simple.

I prefer to listen to Goth girls rock.

Posted by: cosanostradamus on March 30, 2009 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Great post, Hilzoy.

"I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word."

Open your eyes, idiot:


I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.

You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.

Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?

Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.

The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.

Take that bone out of your nose and call me back(to an African American female caller).

I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there’s a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn’t deserve.

Posted by: George on March 30, 2009 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

"lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered"???

When did Yosemite Sam start writing for the LA Times?

Posted by: Chesire11 on March 30, 2009 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

One place I worked, the boss played him all morning while we did maintenance.

I couldn't believe he had three hours... And it really burned me on talk radio. i'd thought it cute before that, but never again.

Ugh. Look, Rush is the sort of person who was proud to fill landfills and cut down trees. I didn't understand how that possibly could be good.

Posted by: Crissa on March 30, 2009 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

"I listen to Limbaugh every chance I get, and I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word."

How many times do the racist, hateful, and stupid things he has stated have to be documented before these clowns face reality ?

Posted by: Joe Friday on March 30, 2009 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

He's right; I haven't listened to Rush on the radio...I've done something even more grueling: I read a book he wrote. My brother became a born-again conservative because of Rush Limbaugh, and INSISTED I read this paradigm altering Rush Limbaugh book he had bought. OK, I'll look it over, I said. I thought it was pretty thin stuff, and I told him so. So I don't feel too bad about dissing poor Rush without having to listen to his grating schtick.

Posted by: Varecia on March 30, 2009 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

I've listened to the guy. Out here in Arizona the distances are loooong and in mid-morning the only doggone thing you can get on the car radio is Rush and G. Gordon Liddy and the like. Rush is racist, sexist, classist, and a general pig. His main talent is the ability to spin absolute fiction a capella for hours at a time. It's an absolutely fact-free zone, remarkable in its own way, but I don't have time for it. I have now found that I actually prefer the Christians (the other thing, aside from Mexican music, that you can get on the radio out between Wilcox and Douglas at 11 AM).

Posted by: jhill on March 30, 2009 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's pretty funny that Klavan immediately fell into the California fallacy, which is that the state is completely, 100% populated by liberals. Anyone who thinks that needs to take a trip to Riverside or Orange County or San Diego or, well, at least a dozen other places in the state.

Oh, and Mr. Klavan? The LA Times is not only read in the confines of the city of LA. It's pretty much the only major paper in Southern California at this point since it's not like the OC Register is breaking a whole lot of news outside of the Orange Curtain. So you just managed to call a lot of Rush Limbaugh-listening readers complete morons who are too scared to listen to ... Rush Limbaugh.

Jesus, what a frickin' idiot.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 30, 2009 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and I'm guessing that the "second spouse" thing is a dig at the fact that we liberals are too cowardly to throw over that second spouse for a third that we can briefly marry and then divorce shortly afterwards so we can be three-time marital losers like Klavan's idol, Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 30, 2009 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

Like Crissa, I've been forced to listen to Rush in a few work and living situations. One common thread: the dittoheads liked their Rush LOUD.

I worked at a big university library that had its own mailroom. The mail guy was a thirty-year state employee who took eight hours to do (at most) three hours of work. (I know, because when he was out, I did his work in the morning.) That man loved his Limbaugh: in the mailroom or in the truck, you had no choice.

Across campus was the central mail facility. It was also staffed by three middle-aged men, longtime state employees. They were Limbaugh types too. Unlike the library mailman, they had a cadre of young student workers at any time, sorting mail and so forth. In every room there was a radio blaring Rush when possible.

These four red-faced dawdlers, so enamored of Rush, seemed oblivious to the fact that they were poster-boys for government spending. Rush, you'd think, would argue against their jobs. I mean, if you're gonna pay too much for mail services, you gotta do private outsourcing, right? Or better yet, close the state schools?

So yes, I've listened to Limbaugh, month after shitty month, in the company of stupid pricks who dug him. And at the time -- what a contrast! -- I had some great professors, including conservatives worth listening to, whose advice and approval I valued (liberal though I was and am) because they were real scholars and good guys.

Klavan doesn't belong in a major newspaper.

Posted by: CRA on March 30, 2009 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

He's just another troll on the internet.

I assume that by "internet" you mean, "published in a daily newspaper with a circulation of 1,000,000 on Sundays as well as syndicated in other Tribune Media newspapers across the country." Which is not my personal definition of internet, but whatever floats your boat.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 30, 2009 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and I read one of Limbaugh's books. Klavan is like a fundie who thinks folks will come around if they only hear the gospel and really listen. But we've heard it, man. Hell, I could probably preach it myself better than some believers.

Posted by: CRA on March 30, 2009 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

I stopped listening to all talk radio, left or right, sometime in the mid-90s, because it's the worse kind of pissing contest. I started listening to NPR soon after, and never turned back.. as for the LA Times, how far the mighty have fallen.. it's far from the Pulitzer-winning paper of even 5 years ago..

Posted by: Andy on March 30, 2009 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

@ Andy - Interestingly, the Radio Network that is currently the only one expanding is NPR!
We all win!

Posted by: Lisa Harrigan on March 30, 2009 at 3:32 AM | PERMALINK

This is more conservative projection. When they "fact check" Fahrenheit 911 or any of the anti-Bush books that have come out in the last eight years, they do so in a way that assumes the listener did not actually watch/read the subject.

And yes, I suppose if someone thinks Limbaugh makes racist comments very day, they are wrong. But it is his style to demonize those who don't see the "obvious". And he then categorizes them into neat little groups by giving them insulting names. It is a pattern, and if you like the message, he's fun to listen to. But he certainly doesn't invite critical thought.

Posted by: Danp on March 30, 2009 at 5:29 AM | PERMALINK

Funny. I grew up with Rush Limbaugh. I remember his TV show. He hasn't made sense to me since I was 15.

Posted by: tom on March 30, 2009 at 5:43 AM | PERMALINK

Great job Hilzoy exposing what becomes of regular Limbaugh listeners: they exhibit the stereotypes in the very act of denying them. I doubt that Limbaugh has changed many minds with his rants, but what concerns me is that he has changed personalities. And the question that responsible conservatives and Republicans have to ask themselves is: why do conservative positions do so much better in an environment of anger and hatred. And it is in that sense that Limbaugh is the leader of the conservative movement.

His angry rants create an environment in which the harsh conservative policies on foreign affairs, the economy and even personal morality flourish. He said it himself at the CPAC conference: I am not interested in talking policy; I only want to talk about principles, which really means he wants to talk about those things that make conservative angry -- or those things that make people angry so that they will be conservatives.

No wonder Republicans got angry with Democrats for pointing a spotlight on the leading role Limbaugh plays in the conservative movement even as Republicans were unable to refute Democratic charges by repudiating Limbaugh himself. Imagine if you can any other liberal commentator who has similar influence on the Left. You can't. And could the reason be that liberalism does not flourish and subsist on emotion and anger in the same way that conservatism does, which is the only thing a single commentator like Limbaugh has it within his power to affect by himself.

Keith Olberman is an influential commentator who might change a few minds or two, but he's not in the business of making listeners entirely different people the way that Limbaugh, O'Reilly and others like them are. And the key to their difference, perhaps, is that Keith freely admits he comments on the new from a liberal perspective while O'Reilly claims to traffic in reality itself as he invites listeners into his "No Spin Zone." And that is what ultimately differentiates commentary from propaganda, when listeners can no longer tell the difference between opinion and reality.

Posted by: Ted Frier on March 30, 2009 at 6:22 AM | PERMALINK

I was the program director of a pretty major radio station in a big city that carries Limbaugh. I've heard enough of the guy for a lifetime.

He has spent 20 years preaching to the choir. In the 5 presidential elections held since he has been syndicated nationally, the candidate he has backed has received fewer votes in 4 of them.

He convinces no one, he merely coalesces and galvanizes the opinions of people who already agree with him. He is the lifeguard watching over a shallow gene pool.

Posted by: whiteline on March 30, 2009 at 6:37 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I don't listen to Limbaugh. The first and really only time I saw him speaking was on one of the morning shows during either the 92 or 96 election. I had never heard of him and actually found the experience shocking. His utterances (in context, and unedited) amounted to a mean-spirited and fact-free rant. It was much less contentful than even one normally expected from an interview on those shows, and extremely disrespectful towards Clinton in a way I had never heard on television even when people had talked about Nixon during Watergate. I remember thinking, where did they dig this clown up?

Posted by: larry birnbaum on March 30, 2009 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Excellence in broadcasting, indeed"

Huh, is THAT what EIB stands for? I always thought it stood for "Eat It Buttered".

Posted by: jprichva on March 30, 2009 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

One need not eat a pile of shit if one is initally repaulsed by the smell, look, and, only those whom are truly couragious, the taste of that material. One can learn much just from reading about shit, hearing what others say about it and it's aesthetics, and need not indulge briefly or at greater lengths to learn that the actual product is smelly, unsightly, and if ingested, will make one violently ill if not dead.

Rush Limbaugh is an arse and the by-product that results from the explusion of the material frequently discharged from that orifice.

Posted by: stevio on March 30, 2009 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, okay. Have you seen Klavan? Not exactly the most imposing figure you'll come across.

Apparently, writing about crime and, I don't know, going to Berkeley makes him a tough guy.

Posted by: Run Up The Score on March 30, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

shorter Klavan.

I love myself.
Rush think like me think.
Me love Rush.

And much like that stoned buddy of yours who slams headphones on your ears and forces you to listen to Pink Floyd's Animals & to "seriously, dude, listen to the lyrics," Klavan is an indoctrinated nerd who insists you haven't listened to Rush enough until/unless you've rejected your prior comtempt and now think he's WONDERFUL.

"Ok, I've listened to at least an hour a day for a week, still think Rush is a load."
"Listen more!"

"Ok, it's been 2 hours a day for 2 weeks now, found plenty of statements I find racist and worthy of contempt, I've typed up transcripts and highlighted the offending passages, I really got work I've gotta do.."


"Fine, I've listened to his entire show every day for 2 months, he's an ass, you're an ass, I'm done with both of you."

"Coward! Running from the truth!"

"Wanna listen to Bill Press with me?"

"Right, like I'd be caught dead listening to that lily-livered piece of sh!t coward for even 20 seconds! I hear what I need to hear about people like Bill Press' ilk when Rush righteously mocks them!"

And so it goes, and so do I...go...all over Rush's head shot. And wipe myself with Klavan's print.

Posted by: slappy magoo on March 30, 2009 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Kind of reminds me of the HULU commercial about your brain turning to mush...I for one am afraid. I had the pleasure of using the company car that had the radio tuned to an AM station. There was an idiot spouting forth and I was astounded at the rage against all things not republican. It wasn't Rush it was Hannity. After that exposure and for future reference I don't need to listen to know he has nothing of value to say

Posted by: John R on March 30, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

I second Stevio - I don't need to smell a pile of shit for 3 hours to know it stinks.

Posted by: Nancy B. on March 30, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that Rush, Hannity, and Beck dominate the AM airwaves via Clear channel radio stations says volumes about who really controls the media; there is no liberal media. They rant and rant and rant about the liberal media and about the phantom movement to silence them via the fairness doctrine painting a very clear picture of what they really are. They are not patriots leading the charge to save the U S; they are paid corporate shills who have gotten filthy rich attacking all facets of the progressive agenda. As for their faithful 'dittohead' followers, God save America if they represent the future.

Posted by: sparky on March 30, 2009 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

It is pitiful that LAT would have such a freak's piece anyway, but there's so much wrong with it. For one thing, people like him keep saying that liberals trust and are spoon-fed by the Media, even though we are ridiculing the Villagers all the time in a way they never do to their own sources and provocateurs (like Rush.)

Posted by: Neil B ♣ on March 30, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm a conservative; I think for myself."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wow. Just wow. That must be the funniest thing I've read all year.

Posted by: reader on March 30, 2009 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

A better example of Right Wing denial you will not find: Rush Limbaugh has never said anything racist, and I do not listen to him every chance I get because deep down I am a racist, and don't you dare suggest that I am, you dirty no good Angry Left commie pinko.....well, you get the idea. I have never seen a better example of someone attacking "liberal intolerance" of conservative ideas while at the same time exhibiting such a vivid picture of the conservative intolerance that has caused liberals to reject them in the first place. Hilarious. I wonder if he meant it as a parody?

Posted by: Ted Frier on March 30, 2009 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Klavan is a well-knowhn right wing wanker in Los Angeles. That he and the rest over at his little paper get published in the Sunday edition of the neifghborhood advertiser formerly known as the Los Angeles Times demonstrates how far it has fallen under the zell-ous fascism of Sam Zell.

Nothing new here.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 30, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

scrawny chest swelling with a warm sense of completely unearned righteousness, you will turn to your second spouse and say,

Hah, second spouse! That's hilarious, because liberals divorce a lot!

Except, of course, in the real world, where divorce rates in the Red South far outstrip those in the Blue Northeast, Upper Midwest and West Coast.

And let's look at some notable liberals versus conservatives: Barack Obama -- still married to his first spouse. Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi -- ditto. Joe Biden -- on his second, but that's becuase his first wife died in a car crash.

Now let's look at some conservatives -- John McCain -- abandoned his first wife and children to marry his mistress. Newt Gingrich -- on mistress turned wife number three. Rush Limbaugh -- on wife number three, plus god knows how many Dominican child prostitutes.

Posted by: Stefan on March 30, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Since you're a conservative and you think for yourself

It is impossible to use the words "conservative" and "think" in the same sentence so as to imply that the former is capable of the latter, since this is truly "a fact not in evidence." Wingnuts thinking is a logical impossibility.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 30, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK


You brought up an interesting topic?

How big IS your chest?

Posted by: Gene Simmons on March 30, 2009 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

I used to work with a guy who, every time I had to go into his office and discuss some job-related matter with him, he would have that son-of-a-bitch Limbaugh blasting out of his radio. God it was annoying. I'd be trying to talk about a survey and there would be that nasal grunt-grunt-grunt. Here's a fact: I never once heard that worthless bastard's moo-cow voice puking out of the radio speaker for more than thirty seconds without hearing him spew out an obvious blatant lie.

One time back when the they were fixing to eliminate Aid for Familes with Dependent Children program, I heard that swine Limbaugh say that it cost three hundred billion dollars a year. It so happened that I had just that week read an article about AFDC in a magazine, which pegged its cost at $13.4-billion a year. So I say to this guy, "You hear that? Did you hear what he said? He's off by a factor of two thousand percent, and I can prove it." This guy proceeds to tell me that I am lying and that Limbaugh is right, AFDC does cost $300-billion a year.

That night I went to a book store and found a mainstream magazine (U.S. News & World Report, I think) and a big newspaper (the NYT) which both had printed articles detailing the actual cost of AFDC. The next day I went to this guy's office and showed him the articles. He was not only astounded to learn he had been bullshitted by the Nazi Dirigible, but also he was actually offended! Something about fudging easily verified numerical data by 2000% really ticks off engineering types. This one experience didn't, however, make him any less of a G. W. Bush supporter later on.

Posted by: W. Kiernan on March 30, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Kiernan "Nazi Dirigible" I love it

Posted by: John R on March 30, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK


' klavern n. A local organizational unit of the Ku Klux Klan. '

' Claven, Cliff: An annoying character on the television comedy series "Cheers," whose last name became a substitute for the word "asshole" at his place of business, a Post Office. '


Posted by: cosanostradamus on March 30, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Andrew does not seem to have as much mental firepower as his older brother from Boston, Cliff.
Although I would bet that they share the tendency to start sentences with "It's a well known fact that..." only to follow up with some of the most unbelievable bullsh*t that you've ever heard.

Posted by: BuzzMon on March 30, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Damn! Cosanostradamus, you knew that I was writing that!
Use your powers for good, man!

Posted by: BuzzMon on March 30, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan: see, you're wrong. Liberals get divorces because they are weak, immoral areligious and probably gay. When they don't get divorces, it's because they are living a lie for the public.

Conservatives, on the other hand, get divorce because that first (or second) wife was really a b*tch, totally not what was advertised. or because once you are successful, you deserve a hotter, younger wife. you wouldn't live in the same house you did before you became a millionaire, right? why schlep around the same eye candy?

notice that all the conservative female voices are either single (well past the age that such things could be considered 'family values) or still on their starter marriage? It's only the men who get to have multiple divorces in their background, the women either don't have them (sure it's a smaller sample) or know they couldn't get away with it. when women are objects, what's the problem?

Posted by: northzax on March 30, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK


Way to go. That's one small step for mankind! But look at all the trouble it took you to shoot down that one small lie. How is it possible for us to govern ourselves if it is so easy to manufacture lies like this in large volume in order to incite the ditto-head mob -- or what Republicans like to call "energizing the base."

Posted by: Ted Frier on March 30, 2009 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

I dont really care that Klavan wanted to write such silliness.

But why on earth did the LA Times wish to publish it? Surely, if they felt a need to print something from a Rush supporter, they could have found someone with something more intelligent to say.

Posted by: TG Chicago on March 30, 2009 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

The comment about weaselly high school bullies is dead on. Admit it: for a decade or more, the talk show clowns did scare many of us. Not so much, anymore, I think. They know how to make us be shrill and whiny, and it gratifies them. Did you ever wonder what happened to all the ones at your school? Not all of them outgrow it. And some only discover the skillset late. They can always count on a certain following; they'll always be there; so get over it and do what you can do.

I listened to Limbaugh daily for two years in the 90s. That was to toughen up some; and to be familiar with what he was frothing and sputtering about. I recognized that I had no defenses, and was wasting a lot of energy being pissed and cowed. I read his books, too. It was all good "conditioning." Today these absurd characters merely annoy me. Once I see that someone believes he has demonstrated a 1,500% reduction of something, he's not a serious threat.

It's usually safe to ignore a barking dog. You may have to put up with all the other dogs in the neighborhood barking along. They bark cause they feel threatened or frustrated. And everyone in their pack is doing it. Scared or unhappy about what's happening all around them, in other words.

Posted by: R. Schneider on March 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

This is the kind of chest-thumping, manlier-than-thou idiocy you find on school playgrounds, cable TV and blogs. Just how Klavan's infantile taunts made the LA Times Commentary section is a mystery. It's not informed opinion. And it's not exactly humor. For that to be happen, Klavan would need to show a little self-awareness.
Now that would be funny.

Posted by: Scot D on March 30, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Why not conduct a poll of Washington Monthly readers to see how many have ever listened to even an hour of the Rush Limbaugh show?

Posted by: DBL on March 30, 2009 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

DBL, we already effectively have such a poll in the comments above yours. Did you read them?

How would anyone do a better poll, since any poll attempted here will be voluntary and unscientific given the limitations of the medium?

Posted by: Bill D. on March 30, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

I have listened to Limbaugh. But I had never read Klavan. I now feel comfortable enough in concluding, based on just this one article, that Klavan is an f*cking idiot.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on March 30, 2009 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Klavan's truly a punk. I'm an FDR liberal. How did all of us old union Democrats, steelworkers, longshoremen, and autoworkers, become scrawny-chested sissies?

Why should we listen to Limbaugher? Who puts any stock in what junkies have to say.

Posted by: buddy66 on March 30, 2009 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Then I must re-examine the prejudices engendered watching Rush's television program, even the portly middle-aged gentlemen in shiny suits who clapped doggedly as the camera panned over the audience. I assumed they had flaccid and diminitive masculine members, piles from their demeaning jobs as clerks, and a secret conviction that they were mediocre losers. Perhaps some have no piles.

Posted by: eminent victoria on March 30, 2009 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

You are all misreading Klaven. He wrote: "I have never heard the man utter a SINGLE racist, hateful or stupid word" (emphasis mine). That's true. Limbaugh always connects on at least two of the three.

Driving home the other day, I heard Limbaugh say, and I quote, "Liberals are racists." Racist, hateful and stupid -- all in one three-word sentence.

Scrawny-chested liberals just can't compete.

Posted by: David Crisp on March 30, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK



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