Rush Limbaugh Is Dead. Long Live Rush Limbaugh Blackout Erasure Found Poem
In recognition of the passing today one of the most malign influences of modern culture, Rush Limbaugh, I present several takes on his life and legacy from a blackout erasure found poem based on the Washington Post orbit.
radio host Rush Limbaugh is dead. Long Live Rush Limbaugh Black Out Found Poems
Who deployed comic bombast
And relentless bashing
Of liberals, feminists, and environmentalists
Became the nation’s
Most popular radio talk-show host
And lead the Republican Party
Into a politics of anger and obstruction,
President Trump hailed him
“He is the greatest fighter
That you will ever meet,”
Rush was a teacher, polemicist,
Media critic, and GOP strategist,
But above all else,
He was an entertainer and a salesperson.
Mr. Limbaugh mocked Democrats
And liberals, (Libtards)
Touted a traditional Midwestern,
And presented himself
On the air as a biting
But jovial know-it-all
“With half my brain
Tied behind my back
Just to make it fair.”
Especially during the presidencies
Of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama,
Mr. Limbaugh played a leading role
In demonizing liberals
And pushing conservative elected officials
To hard stances on issues such as Immigration,
Government spending, and denial of global warming.
But in the general election,
Mr. Limbaugh embraced Trump.
The radio host and the new president
Became dinner and golf friends,
And Mr. Limbaugh emerged as a staunch supporter
of Trump’s battles against the news media
And the Republican establishment.
He railed against Trump’s impeachments
In 2019 and 2021
And allied himself with Trump
During the pandemic era
Insisting that the illness the virus causes
Was no worse than the common cold
After Trump lost the 2020 election,
Mr. Limbaugh echoed the president’s
Baseless allegations of electoral fraud
And suggested that pro-Trump states
Consider seceding from the union.
Trump, Mr. Limbaugh said,
“Represents an uprising of the people
Of this country against Washington.
Against the establishment,
And it had been building
For a long time,
Since Perot in 1992.
Trump was just the first guy
To come along
And weaponized it.”
Like Trump, Mr. Limbaugh mastered
The art of portraying himself
As a man of the people
Who fought the elites
Even as he relished a luxe life
In which he collected
$5,000 bottles of wine,
Owned a $54 million private jet,
Outfitted the vast salon
Of his Florida mansion
In the manner of Versailles,
And socialized with top corporate
And political leaders.
Mr. Limbaugh often praised Trump
For succeeding despite never having won
Over the kind of people
Who ran large media organizations,
Wall Street firms and political parties.
Mr. Limbaugh dubbed himself
The most dangerous man in America
The most dangerous man in America
“His effect as an enforcer,
Keeping Republican politicians in line,
Was greater than that of a president
Or the party’s national organization,”
Or, as Mr. Limbaugh once put it,
“Things only take off
When I mention them.”
At the peak of his popularity,
Restaurants across the nation
re-christened their empty overflow space
And piped in the show,
Filling seats at lunchtime,
With fans who called each other
Because they agreed with
Every pearl of Limbaugh’s wisdom.
I first hear about Rush
When my two siblings became
‘Ditto heads” in the 1980s
And tried to convert me
I listened once to his show
And never turned him in again
“He was the Elvis of broadcast radio,”
He knew politics very well
And he was extremely successful
As a businessman,
But the thing he’ll be remembered for
Is he was a genius
At performing on the radio.”
Although critics of the show spent decades
Decrying it as offensive,
His fans defended Mr. Limbaugh’s
Iinsults as funnier than slashing.
He won attention
From far beyond his radio audience
With barbs aimed at gays; Blacks; liberals; feminists,
Whom he sometimes called “feminazis”;
And environmentalists, whom he derided as “tree-huggers.”
He won gleeful “dittos” from listeners
Who believed that American culture
Had become too politically correct.
He spawned a mini-industry
of anti-Limbaugh books
and radio hosts who pronounced themselves
appalled by his comedy bits,
such as an “AIDS Update”
that presented nasty nuggets
about gay people
to the strains of Dionne Warwick’s “
I’ll Never Love This Way Again.”
For a time, he dispatched
hostile callers on his show with
In which he played the sound of a vacuum pump
Before hanging up on the listener.
His first book, “The Way Things Ought to Be” (1992),
Sat atop the New York Times bestseller list
For six months;
It spelled out his political philosophy,
At performing on the radio.”
A blend of nostalgic yearnings
For a more united and homogeneous America
Comment: a time when white men ruled the world
And minorities knew their place
As did woman
And gays were in the closet end comment
and an energetic embrace of individual rights.
“I believe in the individual,
in less government,”
“That God placed man in a position
Of having dominion over nature.
[and] That racial relation
Will not be enhanced,
Or prejudice eliminated
by governmental edict.”
Rush and the Rise of Trumpism
By the time Trump took office
as president in 2017,
the talk host who also called himself
had been nudged off center stage.
In the end,
he was overshadowed
by Fox News Channel
and more-extreme right-wing outlets
such as Breitbart News, Infowars,
OAN, and Newsmax
which owed their existence
to Mr. Limbaugh’s pioneering
of conservative talk as an alternative
to the “drive-by media” —
his derisive term for what he saw
as a scandal-hungry,
liberal-dominated national press corps.
Mr. Limbaugh’s influence
could be heard in Trump’s denunciations of
Decades before Trump entered politics,
Mr. Limbaugh gave the news media prominently
billing in his catalog of villains
College Drop Out Makes Millions
In 1972, he dropped out of Southeast Missouri State University
After one year to take a job as a Top-40 DJ in McKeesport, Pa.
“He flunked everything,”
“He just didn’t seem interested
in anything but the radio.”
He avoided the military draft
by winning a medical deferment based,
on a “football knee”
and a cyst on his rear end.
Comment: Kind of like his hero’s Trump
Trumped-up (Pun intended) bone spur deferment
Rise of the Radio King
With his booming voice, bad-boy comedy,
and boastful persona,
was a master of Top-40 technique.
His show was always coming at you from
the “Excellence in Broadcasting” studios
Song titles were announced
with pseudo-British pronunciations
Although Christie’s show was all about the hits
and not the politics,
he aimed his funny bits at targets
such as feminists and hippies.
One morning in 1973,
he came out of the song “
Love Can Make You Happy”
with the quip, “
Women’s liberation theme
song there for you.”
a station in Sacramento
offered him a talk show.
Far from leaving his DJ years behind,
Mr. Limbaugh modeled his new program a
After the basic format of Top-40 radio,
replacing the songs
with listener phone calls
but otherwise retaining
the elements of what
had long been radio’s
most alluring programming:
jingles, rock “bumpers”
(the snippets of songs
that led listeners
in and out of each segment),
teases about what was coming up
after the ads,
and constant self-promotion.
Mr. Limbaugh’s daily dicing
of California politicians,
spiced with comedy routines
and news updates
packaged with pop tunes,
was an instant hit.
As Mr. Limbaugh
became a local star,
radio was undergoing a revolution.
made it possible for many stations
to air the same programs cheaply,
and federal regulators
stopped enforcing rules requiring
balance in political programming.
He had an immediate
a knack for making headlines
with his put-downs,
as when he blasted
and declared animal rights activists
to be “a bunch of kook burgers.”
“I represent a group of people
who aren’t heard
from very much in the media,
the average normal American guy and his family,”
“I have the unique ability
to take the opposing point of view
and just nuke it,
laser it out of existence.
I am addicted to self-praise.
“People say, ‘
You believe the stuff you say?’
That’s for you to figure out.”
“I like to illustrate
Absurdity by being absurd,”
‘I simply validate’
Democrats and Republicans
Alike credited Mr. Limbaugh
With political influence
Well beyond that of any radio host
Since Walter Winchell half a century earlier.
In 1994, freshman Republicans in Congress
made him an honorary member
of their class.
Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska
who was the Republican candidate
for vice president in 2008,
used a Limbaughism
for her big applause line in speeches:
Republicans are not just the party of no,
But the party of Hell No. “
Mr. Limbaugh boasted that he gave
millions of Americans instructions
on what to believe about politics.
But at other moments,
he presented himself
as a mere mirror of public opinion.
“I don’t orchestrate,
Dictate or otherwise cause people
I simply validate.”
A caller once confronted him on a TV show
Saying, “You’re a manipulator,
And you’re evil.”
“I’m a harmless little fuzzball,”
Mr. Limbaugh replied.
“Nobody makes you listen to me.
The show is about having fun.”
Rush Limbaugh isn’t saying
he wants the country to split
into red and blue factions
as a result of conservative fury
over the election results.
As he attempted
to make it clear Thursday,
he’s just saying that
other people are saying it.
“I know that there’s a sizable
and growing sentiment
for people who believe that’s, we’re headed to,
whether we want to get there or not,
“Now, I didn’t advocate for it.
I never would advocate for secession
I’m simply repeating what I have heard.”
He didn’t say where
he’s heard anyone float
the notion of states seceding,
let alone spell out how
such a neo-Civil War separation
might take place.
But Limbaugh’s ambiguous flirtation
with the idea
maybe his special contribution
to conservative media’s rock-solid support
of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.
“I think that we’re trending toward secession,
“I see more and more people asking
what in the world
do we have in common
with the people who live in, say, New York?
What is there
that makes us believe
that there is enough of us
there to even have a chance
at winning New York?
Limbaugh’s drift into radical theories
came after weeks of egging
on Trump’s claim
that the 2020 vote
was riven by fraud,
cheating him out of a second term.
On Wednesday, Limbaugh noted
that he had read recent blog posts about
“how distant and separated
and how much more separated
our culture is becoming politically
and that it can’t go on this way.”
But then he took his hand
away from the flame:
“I haven’t made up my mind.
I still haven’t given up the idea
that [conservative Americans]
are the majority
and that all we have to do
is find a way to unite and win.”
And with that final broadcast
The King of Radio
The shock jock of all time
Had his final words
On to the next world
Taking with him
The hopes and fears
Of his army of ditto heads
He will not be missed
Or the reality-based community
But no doubt a future Limbaugh
Will emerge from the fetid swamps
Of the alt. Right reality
Rush is Dead. Long Live Rush
The End Is Near