Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Meal conservatism: cheap, childish, familiar

With all of the discussion related to the Fairness Doctrine, I found this article by John Derbyshire to be an interesting read. While he's clearly a conservative, he offers some thoughts on what is good and what is not so good about right wing radio. What struck me, especially from a local perspective was what he commented on when it came to what was wrong, some selected portions:
Much as their blind loyalty discredited the Right, perhaps the worst effect of Limbaugh et al. has been their draining away of political energy from what might have been a much more worthwhile project: the fostering of a middlebrow conservatism. There is nothing wrong with lowbrow conservatism. It’s energizing and fun. What’s wrong is the impression fixed in the minds of too many Americans that conservatism is always lowbrow, an impression our enemies gleefully reinforce when the opportunity arises. Thus a liberal like E.J. Dionne can write, “The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity. … Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans.” Talk radio has contributed mightily to this development.

It does so by routinely descending into the ad hominem—Feminazis instead of feminism—and catering to reflex rather than thought. Where once conservatism had been about individualism, talk radio now rallies the mob. “Revolt against the masses?” asked Jeffrey Hart. “Limbaugh is the masses.”

In place of the permanent things, we get Happy Meal conservatism: cheap, childish, familiar. Gone are the internal tensions, the thought-provoking paradoxes, the ideological uneasiness that marked the early Right. But however much this dumbing down has damaged the conservative brand, it appeals to millions of Americans. McDonald’s profits rose 80 percent last year.

Why engage an opponent when an epithet is in easy reach? Some are crude: rather than debating Jimmy Carter’s views on Mideast peace, Michael Savage dismisses him as a “war criminal.” Others are juvenile: Mark Levin blasts the Washington Compost and New York Slimes.


One could add scenarios like Peter Boyles, a Colorado radio show host calling Congresswoman DeGette as “Vagina DeGette” or some silly man who supposedly stated on the air here in Toledo that I was an "exercise in masturbation" and we could go on and on, which to me is one of the reasons I don't think right wing radio is that much of an threat, it's hard to take most of what is being said seriously. There are a few who do attempt to actually cover facts rather than play the never ending name calling game. But it's clear, there are those that enjoy listening to that type of "entertainment" just like there are those who watch South Park or any variety of programming that isn't my personal favorite...

When something is said that is offensive it's of course understandable people will react, which is why I used the South Park reference, it too has had it's time in the public line of fire. I was raised with the suggestion to "consider the source" which when done whether it's South Park or right wing radio, or even some of the left wing tv shows, they are all at times ridiculous...

7 comments:

Jason said...

Right wingers "dominate" the radio waves because they are successful in their programming. If you don't want to hear it, turn it off or turn on most cable news programs.

Lisa Renee said...

Or if you are like me and don't have cable? Don't listen/watch either.

:-)

Jason said...

Yes! An even better solution. I guess that's why you get paid the big bucks Lisa Renee! :-)

Lisa Renee said...

lmao - I wish, if that was true? I'd have cable.

:-)

Jason said...

Think how much time cable would take away from your blogging. I'd have to read more books.

Lisa Renee said...

Sometimes I miss it but thankfully with CSPAN and the Ohio Channel I can stay up to date.

The decision here was cable or the internet, I can live without cable, I'd hate to live without the internet. Doable, but not something I'd want to try.

Jason said...

It would definitely make blogging a bit more of a challenge.