We get mad. Even the most even-tempered among us lose their temper from time to time. The human condition, you might say, is to get mad when enough shit has been heaped on us, or we are brutally misunderstood, or betrayed, or when our noses are rubbed roughly in our powerlessness.
Angry people admire and tune in to folks who can articulate their anger for them. Anger, along with its kissing cousin terror, both of which justify the unthinkable, is a driving force of the economy, politics, of many human associations. Find a spokesman who can speak the exact language of rage for your demographic and you can make millions and rule. Literally rule, yo. So it is with the superstars of hate radio and, in the case of the equally talented, fair and balanced hate TV.
You have guys like Rush Limbaugh, a notorious war-supporting draft dodger opioid addict and serial violator of our draconian drug laws (laws he supports, when applied to bad people), bloviating (a word he brought back into common parlance by his example) with “talent on loan from God” about the plague of horrific lawlessness committed by “feminazis” and other despicable enemies of the common man and woman.
My father used to get a perverse kick out of listening to the brazen Limbaugh, a facile liar undeterred by any fact put in his way. My friend Tex was horrified to report that his daughter heard Limbaugh, alone of all American domestic radio programming, on Armed Forces Radio when she was stationed in the Middle East. The echo chamber for millions provided by the well-funded merchants of rage and state violence. Good for business, good for jobs, good for America.
Now, I come from a long line of oppressed people, all but four of them in my grandparents’ generation slaughtered, so I’m not really one to talk. I don’t feel the same robust identification with the ruling class of our great nation that those who pump their fists at Trump rallies do. Change the names and these hateful ideologues could have been ordering the extermination of my family, just like German and Ukrainian leaders, back in ’42 and ’43, ordered the torture and murder of my whole extended family, with very few exceptions. Oversights, really, they’d have liked to have killed us all.
So, I am prejudiced and I take it personally when I hear of more than 1,000 dead civilians in Syria and Iraq this month, killed by America and her allies, described casually as collateral damage, the price of freedom, the price the anonymous dead must pay for our new president to be applauded for being presidential.
By the way, I don’t put all the blame for the massive increase in civilian deaths on this shaky new demagogue we have in there now. It did not surprise me to learn that in December our outgoing Nobel Peace Prize laureate president, knowing the kind of creature who was succeeding him, authorized military commanders on the ground to have more autonomy to call in air strikes and so forth.
When the fighting against ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever their brand is today, was not in densely inhabited population centers, fewer civilians died. Now that the fighting is downtown, commanders cannot always control how many innocents will die in a given air strike as, no matter how smart the bomb, kids and old people are going to get in the way.
I don’t take it as particularly good news when one hypocritical, sanctimonious purveyor of hate goes down. They are cranking out newer and better models of these types all the time, market-tested and ready to cash in on rage.
Still, I thought this nicely conducted chat between Russell Brand and one such recently demoted blow-hard was very well done. Brand makes many good points and is occasionally very funny. How much you enjoy it will depend, in part, on your threshold for hateful pontificating. Personally, I loved seeing an intelligent and thorough refutation of every idiotic point the millionaire blow-hard manfully made. Enjoy!