Thursday, October 8, 2009

Limbaugh and Beck - EPIC FAIL

This week, a class assignment had me listening to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck (pause for the impact of that statement to settle). I have never, in my entire life, spent more than 30 seconds listening or watching either of these men, so this was quite a difficult task.

I decided to pick a subject that I thought might be one that I could find some common ground on - the Chicago Olympic bid. I was generally opposed to Chicago getting the Olympics for reasons surrounding environmental and social issues, so since I disagreed with Obama here, I thought maybe I could stomach these two men a little more easily.

I started with Rush Limbaugh. I could only find a strange recording of the show on youtube because Limbaugh requires you to be a member (and pay membership dues) if you want to access his podcasts. After the initial shock of Limbaugh's correlation of Obama with the failure "OBAMA LOSES THE OLYMPIC BID!!!", I was mainly struck by the derogatory manner of speaking of the President of the United States and other respectable figureheads in our country. "Barack Hussein Obama...MMM MMM MMM" or "Michelle my Belle" or "The Oprah". One can't help but believe that Limbaugh has some inside joke with his listeners about these people. One also can't help but assume that since he has no joke about Mayor Daley's name, that this is racism. It's racism, but it's even something scarier than racism: it's a powerful man spreading hateful ideas to people who think it's NOT racism. Limbaugh is re-naming people of color which harkens back to the days of slave owners choosing names for the slaves they had purchased. And no, I don't think I'm reading too far into this.

Next stop, Glenn Beck. Thankfully, Beck refrains from childish and racist attacks on the names of people, but he too connects this "failure" to Obama. He, like Limbaugh, blaims Obama for the fact that a group of people voted for the "best" city among the many already determined "best" cities in the world for the Olympics! First of all, that's not a failure!! Second of all, how can this be blamed on Obama? A good deal of the preparation and conversation over the Olympic bid happened before he even came to Washington! If we even need to point a finger in "blame", all we can do is blame the people who chose the site of the Olympics for finding Rio to be more appropriate (and it's about damn time since the Southern hemisphere has been overlooked up until this point). It's their turn. No one failed. Stop relishing in a moment where people may be disappointed after working very hard for a dream.

It's just all about failure. Failure is something that no one should wish upon a president or a country for that matter (I know I'm not the first to say this). As I've mentioned in other blogs, people seem to be waiting for Obama to fail and so every little thing that could be construed as a failure is blown out of proportion just like this situation.

If I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Mr. Limbaugh or Mr. Beck, I would first ask them about their faith. Ask them who they identify as role models (not including political figures), and what characteristics they find admirable in people. Most likely they would lift up characteristics that all human beings treasure: honesty, trustworthiness, kindness, etc. Unfortunately, I find these individuals to exemplify what is wrong with humanity: hate, bitterness, judgmental, argumentative, scathing. The list can go on and on.

Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Beck: I agree with you that there is something seriously wrong with the media, but I unfortunately include both of you in that statement. You illustrate what is wrong with this country, this world, this race, this humanity. Please report on something positive and constructive, not hateful and destructive.

Some additional websites about Limbaugh and his "techniques":


SpiritSong said...

Rachel, people are not only waiting for President Obama to fail, they are HOPING he will fail. They are working to see that he does fail, and they are willing to sacrifice what could be good for the country/world in order to see that it happens. Why? Because he might make the previous regime "look bad"?

We should be working to build up pride and confidence as a nation, not fear and shame. But that's been the pattern for the last 16 years at least.

Anonymous said...

I doubt these media buffoons are worth an assignment, but, in the interest of even-handed buffoon exposure, I hope your professor also assigned Olbermann, who is no slouch at disrespecting Presidents with his name calling.

Anyway, you seem to be getting closer to the truth about humanity in this blog. But do you attribute every negative comment about past presidents by African American pundits to racism?

Martin (Sorry for the Anonymity: I don't know how to locate my URL if I have one.

Rachel said...

I would definitely categorize Olbermann in this grouping as well. Extremists seem to attract that most attention unfortunately. And no, I would not attribute every negative comment about past presidents by African American pundits to racism. Although everyone is racist in some way, I do not believe that the same dynamics are apparent when a white person degrades a black person as their are when a black person degrades a white person. It takes power to act on racism, and unfortunately, the power is still in the hands of white people.

Anonymous said...

By attributing motive by group, we risk a most dangerous form of stereotyping of the sort that leads to self-loathing for the powerful, a denial of full moral agency to the weak and the denial of individual responsibility to both groups. No individual is therefore to be accountable for the evil we do to one another--and we can all continue live under the comfortable illusion that we are individually inherently good, it's just our group that's the problem.

Rachel W. said...

I think we're avoiding the fact that regardless of whether we are born inherently good or evil, we also are born into a group of socially constructed norms called race. These ideas turn into the way we see the world and relate with other people. When we turn on the news, 9 out of 10 crimes are shown to be committed by a person of color. This, like you said, removes the individual from the equation and rather places the responsibility solely on the race of the individual. I'm not saying it's right at all, but I'm saying that's the way it is, and it's impossible to escape grouping people together and making stereotypical statements about said group. If that's the world we live in, how can we counter that stereotypical worldview? I do agree that in an ideal world, we would judge people on an individual basis, but that's not where we are. We categorize everything and make judgments about those categories on order to make sense of our world. Self-loathing is a possibility for the powerful, but I also think a bit of self-loathing is good for all of us, I am Lutheran :)

You do know it's difficult to argue with a judge, right?

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