Friday, February 15, 2008

Althouse discovers Rush
Tom Smith

Ann Althouse has been listening to Rush (through some commercial free podcast or something) and has discovered he does not roast babies on a spit or anything.  All I can say is, now some of you out there will understand better what it is like to be a law professor.  Here are some other discoveries I would like to share:

Evangelical Christians actually enjoy sex as much as anybody.

Many Catholic priests do not molest children.

It's possible to watch somebody else make money and not hate them for it.

There's a lot to be said for getting married and staying married.

Children are cute.

Lots of people in the armed forces are really smart.

If you don't love America, try living abroad for a while.

Don't get me wrong.  There's a lot about this country I don't like.  I'm at the point where I support the death sentence for possession of a pickup while being an asshole.  But at least I live here.  Rush has been around, what, 25 years?  I can't listen to him anymore, but that's because of the commercials.  And because the blogosphere has raised the bar on what intelligent commentary is.  But people who think, well, never mind.

PROFESSOR ALTHOUSE comments below, saying I badly misread her post and asks me to "take [my post] back."  In the case of my post above, I'm not sure what "taking it back" would consist of.  A retraction of some sort, perhaps.  Having partially imbibed an adult beverage, as Rush would say, I can see in the cool light of evening that my post is pretty grumpy.  It's just one grouchy right-wing flame, and I concede I really shouldn't do that.  I do not mean to imply that Professor Althouse does not like America or children or members of the armed forces, or Catholics, or Evangelicals.  Rather my point was this.  Rush has been an important, and at times extremely influential commentator on political affairs in this country for decades, and has been followed by millions of people.  Any of these people could have told you that he enjoys adult beverages, cigars, professional sports, and women, perhaps even in that order.  When a law professor blogger announces that she has been listening to him, and allows that, goodness, he obviously relishes these things and so is no cloying social conservative, it is a bit like somebody announcing (at say the faculty club lunch table) that they read an excerpt from Reagan's diaries and that (!!) the man was no idiot.  The more psychologically wholesome reaction on my part would be joy and gratitude that yet another person had seen such, instead of exasperation at the cluelessness that its being taken as a revelation implies.  My bad.  I guess it was also rather rude of me to express this exasperation publicly.  But I found her post annoying, because it reminded me of something I find exasperating and annoying about the legal professoriate.  I hereby express again my determination to get over this whole conservatives are isolated in the academy thing.  It's like complaining about the humidity in Florida.  I totally concede I should just get over it.  I'm working on it.  How's this:  Dear Professor Althouse.  I found your post annoying, for the reasons explained above.  I'm sorry I expressed myself rudely to that effect.  In the future, if I find what you say annoying, I will try to say that without being rude about it.

WELCOME ALTHOUSE READERS!!!:-)  Here you will find nothing new or interesting, just the same old tired right wing cant, just the thing to confirm all of your preconceptions.  Feel free to stay awhile and look around. Do be careful about making any value judgments however.  We disapprove of those around here.  We put the premium on being open minded.  If you see anything you don't like, and would like me to take it back, please let me know what you would like me to say, and whether you will post a disapproving comment on your blog if I don't.  As a free market kind of guy, I'm against intimidation (I consider it illiberal), but I like to think I know a bargain when I see one. And be sure to give me an idea on how much traffic your blog gets, so I can take that into account in deciding whether to take it back or not.  I need to weigh the cost of the sheer scariness of being disapproved of, against the benefit of the added traffic.

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Tom Smith


Everyone should have to live in another country for a while. It makes one apreciate the imperfect (but better than elsewhere) USA.

Posted by: km | Feb 15, 2008 11:48:09 AM

Tom, I think you've really badly misread my post. My point is that I don't think Rush is a social conservative, despite his emphasis on 3 "legs" to the conservative "stool." I gave my reasons based on listening to Rush on his website, which I think you would know about if you EITHER: 1. read my post carefully OR 2. listen to Rush very much. He's always plugging his website. I'm making a very specific point which isn't at all about discovering that Rush isn't terrible or whatever. Give the post another read... and take back what you said.

Posted by: Ann Althouse | Feb 15, 2008 12:19:12 PM

When we compliment a person, we make ourselves his equal. She's not. And Limbaugh is not half the man he once was.
I looked through the comment section to see what train Althouse was carrying, and it wasn't pretty. Yes, it is fair to judge someone by those who adore them.
There is a marked need there to denegrate the Limbaugh listeners. The fact is, most of his audience had begged him to see what was happening with Bush's Trojan Horse liberalism for years, but Bo was busy carrying Bush's water and he droppped that pail too late to stop McCain. Bambi goes to Washinton.

Posted by: james wilson | Feb 15, 2008 10:01:16 PM

I haven't listened to Rush since sometime before 9/11. But I listened to him regularly beginning in Bush I and all through the Clinton years. After a few years, you get the idea. I don't know if he is only half the man he used to be. It did seem to me he lost it when he lost his hearing, and never got it back. Maybe he's still addicted to pain killers, or the addiction took a lot out of him. It does that, I am reliably informed.

If professor Althouse is not making the point that Rush is not that bad, or Rush sure likes his pleasures, then her point has eluded me, which is certainly possible, as points frequently elude me. Things often have to be explained to me several times before I can finally understand them and realize I completely disagree with them. But anyway, love him or hate him, you could not write a decent political history of the late 20th century in US without dwelling for more than a sentence or two on his critical impact. The whole dimension of using a defunct medium such as AM radio to do politics in, print and TV journalism being thoroughly closed off; the unforeseen consequences of repealing the Fairness Doctrine -- it's all very interesting.

Posted by: Tom Smith | Feb 16, 2008 2:58:44 AM

Yes, Limbaugh was probably the single most important person in politics for several years. He had the rarest of abilities, the ability to speak extemporaneously on a subject with order, precision, and intuition not ever seen outside of print, and very rarely then.
But, far more than drugs or deafness and the drugs caused the deafness), success blunted his excellence. We thrive in adversity, perish in comfort. Not that I have personal experience of the second kind.

Posted by: james wilson | Feb 16, 2008 7:04:36 AM

I have listened to Rush since his day one start on WABC NY in August of 1988, I have not seen or heard Rush in any way diminished. He is just as sharp and piercing and wonderfully witty as he has always been AFAIAC.

Staying #1 for 20+ years is nothing to sneeze at especially by those of you who are not even in the top #1000 of audience attracters ( in any medium).

As Rush says... we charge confiscatory ad rates because we can. More power to him.


Posted by: thedaddy | Feb 16, 2008 7:06:58 AM

I think you still don't get it. You're "annoyance", even in the further explanation, is based on a misunderstanding of her original post. She wasn't making a value judgement about the merit of social conservatism, so her appraisal of Rush's relation to that "leg of the stool" was neither praise nor criticism.

You seem like one of those culture-of-victimhood conservatives, who can only make sense of the world by imagining that all of academia and the media and art and science are out to get you. You have a grudge against law professors because you imagine they have a grudge against "people like you".

Well, bad news, buddy. If you think the man has been holding "conservatism" down for the past twenty years, you ain't seen nothing yet. Strap yourself in, it's going to be a wild ride.

Posted by: Joey Joe Joe Shabadoo | Feb 16, 2008 7:56:24 AM

One of the trials of blogging is being misunderstood, so I suppose it is only fair I should be misunderstood. I am not saying that Professor Althouse is saying that social conservatism is bad or good. Though the suggestion that she could be even implying the social conservatism is to be approved of strikes me as risible. I am saying that noting that Rush is not a social conservative, at least not in the sense of disapproving of smokin', drinkin', and carryin' on, has been a known fact, an assumption, a veritable landmark of popular conservative culture for about 20 years. To have it noted is a dreary reminder to me of the culture I live in.

I love to lectured to by liberals about how bad it is to pose as the victim. What can one possibly say to that? Rush has made a career out of remarking these sorts of ironies and hypocrisies.

Posted by: Tom Smith | Feb 16, 2008 8:08:23 AM

Professor Smith, how dare you! Did you not remember that, as a conservative, you are not permitted to express your annoyance at anything? As a conservative, you are permitted only to be the source of irritation for liberals. :-)
Seriously, though, I don't get it: Professor Althouse made an observation. You reacted. I didn't see the outrage in either. But then I'm a conservative, so my sensitivities obviously must be dulled.

Posted by: fedsocprof | Feb 16, 2008 1:28:30 PM

Joey tells us to strap in, we ain't seen nothin' yet. If Bambi makes it to the White House, and it looks like he will, I'd say he's righter than he ever dreamed. Sometimes the biggest shock begins when we get what we ask for.
There's a fair number of conservatives like me who are going to vote for Bambi, or Shrillary--and against the Trojan Horse-- and get all the puss out in the open, three Supreme Court appointments and all.
Sorry to get so far off topic, Prof.
So Althouse has discovered conservatism is interesting. There is a reason there is no liberal talk radio. You cannot get even liberals to listen to it. But I certainly wouldn't want her to draw any conclusions from that.

Posted by: james wilson | Feb 16, 2008 7:27:49 PM

I don't think I ever have encountered a writer who complains of being misread, misinterpreted, or misunderstood more than Ann Althouse. She demands retractions and apologies with such frequency that one could base a drinking game on her little fits of pique. Lord knows that would make them more bearable, as her recurring bouts of umbrage and dudgeon have grown more than a little tedious.

Posted by: The Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk | Feb 16, 2008 9:42:59 PM

"I love to be lectured to by liberals about how bad it is to pose as the victim. "

Don't get me wrong; I don't think this shift is a bad thing! Bad for you maybe, but I like it! By all means, so-called conservatives, whine your way to irrelevance.

The homosexuals have an agenda. The femi-Nazis are running the schools. The "media", made of huge multi-billion dollar companies, somehow has a left-wing agenda. People who don't believe in your god are oppressing you with a War on Christmas.

And now you're taking issue with Ms. Althouse writing in a tone that implies that the culture at large doesn't follow Rush Limbaugh. But of course the average american doesn't know or care anything about Limbaugh. He's an entertainter, with a show designed for the strain of man I'm talking about; put upon, fed up with modernity, a victim of the system. This despite the Republicans holding the reigns of power for the last 30 years. What will happen now that they've dropped them?

The stance of the victim has become the primary mode of conservative discourse, at least in the blogosphere, but more and more in the culture. Good.

Yes, the professors want to destroy what's left of this country. The liberals in New York sit in their skyscrapers, sipping lattes and resenting you fast-food swilling mongoloids for even existing. That's why they're always trying to raise taxes; it's to stick it to people who have jobs. They're going to flood the country with illegals, teach your kids they come from monkeys, and let the arabs win the war. And the only way to stop them is to point fingers.

Suggested targets include: Hollywood, Secularists, Professors, the Media. Rant away!

Posted by: Joey Joey Joe Shabadoo | Feb 17, 2008 6:12:14 AM

Such a good writing, or by I saw for the first time. I'm quite happy, you are a good writer

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