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The Scenic Route

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What is the point of all the vitriol?

If I thought I was well-enough informed, I would write about the world situation, but only Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and a few other pundits like them are well-enough informed for that. Just ask them.

I very seldom listen to Rush or Michael, but I sometimes get to watch Glen (God, I hope I’m spelling his name right) at the health club, where TVs facing my friend the elliptical machine often end up tuned to Fox for whatever reason someone might actually choose to watch Fox. The only rational reason I can think of is the cardio affect one might get. Surely, watching Glen causes my blood pressure to rise—even with the sound off.

One of the things I like about myself—after a number of years of practice—is that I try to understand what my problem is with institutions like Fox News and people like Glen, Rush and Michael. Why, I wonder, do they tend to pis.... er, make me angry? If it’s just a knee-jerk reaction, it can’t count. Somewhere inside have to be basal reasons for my sometimes-not-so-hidden dislike of those sons-of-sea-biscuits and folks like them.

First, I suppose, is their ranting, bombastic, smug, self-righteous, judgmental, inciteful—not insightful—method of delivery. Even Larry King listens once in a while. These guys just go off for however long the microphone is on. I like to talk, too, and maybe I just resent the fact that they seem to be able to just go on and on as long as they want about anything they want.

Secondly, they preach it like the Gospel; as if they have the lock on truth. But, maybe I’m guilty of that myself. I have opinions, someone once pointed out, and I tend to express them. Maybe I’m jealous because I don’t get to express them on a national platform like Glen and Rush and Michael do. Maybe I’m ticked off because they each make a gazillion dollars a year expressing their opinions, while I just make the occasional relatively conservative reader swallow his coffee wrong. Which may be enough. One does what one can, after all.

I think that the third thing that makes me angry—and I have thought about this a lot—is that these three guys and their wannabes are all just that—wannabes. They’re all leeches. They make their livings from their hysterical reactions to the actions of others. They don’t do anything except blah, blah, blah in front of their devoted fans and allow their networks to sell bad beer, products to fight baldness and deodorant. They are all a bunch of blinkin’ Chicken Littles. “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” they cry, “and it’s all someone else’s fault!”

If the sky is falling, how come you ain’t dead yet?

They produce nothing— unless you count the volumes of hot air they expel. They don’t pound nails, pump gas, sell groceries, wait tables, teach school, plow fields, shovel walks (I bet not even their own), drive trucks, work in hospitals, legislate, educate or meditate on anything except how they can agitate. They certainly don’t offer any real solutions to the “problems” they are so quick and eager to point out. They just point and blame, point and blame; thus, as far as I’m concerned, making the problem worse.

I wasn’t going to finish this column. I had pretty much decided to put this little rant away and send in something about skiing, which I love. Instead I find myself called to write about something I find reprehensible, and all because Rush, that paragon of good health, pristine diet and peerless choices about drugs, picked today to take Michelle Obama to task for feeding her kids ribs. (Google it, and learn about how weird the media really is.)

Surely, I sometimes also find myself weighing in on someone else’s business like it’s mine, but Rush, you (expletive deleted) hypocrite. Get this. It’s no more of your damned business what Mrs. Obama feeds her kids than it is what Mrs. Smith down the street, who is also a decent parent, feeds hers. Get a life, Rush. Get a job. Anything, but shu-ut uu-up!

Whew! That felt good.

Glen and Rush and Michael can certainly be mesmerizing. Their vitriol springs from some deep well within themselves that makes them adroit and compelling. I think they actually believe what they are telling us. That’s something else that makes me angry, and it makes me angry because it scares me. They remind me in their rhetoric and blame-placing of Adolph Hitler, the angry man who set the world on fire with his rage and hatred some 75 years ago. He believed what he was saying, too; rising as it did out of a twisted persona, extremist logic and a deep hatred for his own roots.

So, I wonder what it is that Glen and Rush and Michael like about themselves. Is there anything, or do they just keep spouting to keep their own demons at bay? It’s hard to tell from my standpoint; and they may never shut up long enough to ask themselves the question. But maybe they should. The world situation could stand the break.

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Author info

Sandy Compton Sandy Compton Sandy Compton is one of the original contributors to The River Journal, and owner and publisher at Blue Creek Press (www.bluecreekpress.com). His latest book is Side Trips From Cowboy: Addiction, Recovery and the Western American Myth

Tagged as:

Politics, anger, television, commentary, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, pundits

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