Sunday, February 21, 2021

Rush and Tulips


I haven't yet mentioned the death of Rush Limbaugh, but it's been percolating in my brain now for several days. Yesterday The New York Times ran four opinion pieces about Limbaugh, and it seems everyone has a viewpoint on his legacy. Here's mine.

As you can imagine, I was not a fan. The few times I listened to Limbaugh, his combative, swaggering, name-calling style turned me off right away. I think he did more to debase political discourse in the USA than possibly any other person. He not only drove the news media to be more outspoken and outlandish, he also pushed national leaders and ordinary citizens toward a brand of politics that was based on insults and grievances. That was basically his appeal -- he cast aside society's expectation that people should be polite and treat each other with respect. We're all suffering for it.

My friend Sue once said that Limbaugh was popular because "he gives people permission to be assholes." I thought that was a very astute observation. Growing up in the '70s, we'd all been drilled in tolerance and open-mindedness and "Free to Be, You and Me," and while that kind of thinking appeals to me, some people chafe against it -- especially those who feel angry or threatened by a perceived loss of entitled social status (i.e. straight white men). It's hard work to be tolerant, after all. Sometimes you have to push yourself, hold your judgement in check, extend some effort. Limbaugh punctured that expectation of tolerance. He told people it was OK to scoff at their neighbors and call them names and ridicule their views.

We're still dealing with the fallout. Our political culture today is poisoned by a lack of civility and respect on both sides -- but let's face it, the conservatives have mastered the art.

I'm not rejoicing at his death, but I'm certainly not sad. I do believe in a kind of karma, and while I don't know much about Limbaugh and his personal life, it seems to me -- with his four wives, drug addictions and blustering persona -- that he wasn't particularly happy. Whether that drove his on-air anger or vice versa, who knows?

Unfortunately, his death doesn't mean we're done with him. His on-air talk radio and TV imitators are still out there, stirring the pot. Oh for the days of Paul Harvey!


Here's a last portrait of our tulips, which are now in the garden waste recycling bag.

Yesterday was pretty quiet. I mostly rested after my long walk on Friday, finishing "Island of the Blue Dolphins" -- which I was happy to discover I still love -- and taking Olga to the cemetery for her daily outing.

I moved a bunch of our plants outside, mostly geraniums that were sheltering indoors for the winter, and I cleaned around the back door. It feels so good to have that space clean and open again. The temperatures for the foreseeable future are supposed to be in the 40s F at night and up to 60º during the day, so not exactly balmy, but not frigid either. The plants should be fine unless we get another Arctic blast, which is always possible.

(Top photo: Marylebone high street, on Friday.)

56 comments:

Moving with Mitchell said...

That street photo is charming. I agree with your take on Limbaugh, and am happy you left us with Olga and tulips. A great shot.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

A suitable farewell to Limbaugh. As for the top picture, I do not find it "charming". The guy is on his phone. What matters most in that moment is what is on the fellow's little screen and not the son whose hand he is holding. I see this all the time - even mothers pushing prams with babies looking up at them, wondering "Why is her phone more interesting than me?"

Peter said...

Limbaugh set the stage for Fox News and Trump. Sorry for those who loved him but glad he is gone.
Cheers

Bob said...

I agree with Sue that he made it fashionable to be an asshole, but what saddens me is that people wanted to be assholes. And racists and homophobes and misogynists and drug addicts and lairs and cheats.
Huh. Sounds like I could be talking Rush or the former president.

Now I'll smile at Olga and all will be well!

Vivian Swift said...

I, for one, will rejoice in Rush Limbaugh's death every day until Donald Trump gets his escort to prison. I don't care if it's a Georgia or New York state slammer, I just want Trump to be behind bars, and then I'll be able to tone down my glee that Rush Limbaugh is dead, to a more appropriate level of, let's say, profound satisfaction that two of the most vile men in America have got what they deserve. (Although I will always be sad that Limbaugh didn't die younger.)

Ms. Moon said...

I agree with you that Limbaugh was probably a deeply unhappy man. No one can live on a diet of hate that long without becoming sickened. He was vile. No doubt about it. And the ways in which he changed the discourse in this country will never truly be mended. If there had been no Rush on the radio, there never would have been a Donald in the White House.
And what a horrible legacy that is.

The Padre said...

Dear Rush, Hows Hell These Days? Reunited With Your Old White Chums And It Reals So Good...

Corinne said...

I think your description of Limbaugh is spot on! Our Governor (DeSantis in Florida) is calling for flags flown at half staff once his funeral arrangements have been finalized. Seriously...it's appalling!
Corinne
Jacksonville, FL

robin andrea said...

Thank you for writing this about Rush. I am glad that his voice has been silenced. He gave permission to so many to be so cruel. I can't even imagine anymore a world where such voices no longer exist.

Red said...

Rush Limbaugh received lots of help along the way to act like he did. He had fans and lots of applause. It's very sad that we have become so intolerant.

Sharon said...

As you might guess, I won't be shedding any tears over the loss of Rush. It's so unfortunate that he put us on this road to incivility and hate and left us with a vast array of hateful talking heads in his wake. Not to mention four years of a sociopathic narcissist in our faces every day.
I love your street photo. I had to see exactly what kind of shop T Burrows is.
Men's clothing! That pink front place next door looks interesting too. Olga looks like she's not too sure about you and that camera.

Linda Sue said...

Rush , a very bad human, blustering and bulldozing his way through this one precious life , intentionally hurting others and opening the door to bullying "free speech", Alex Jones, Palin, trump. He should have died sooner, like in utero.
The charm of the little pink building with its balcony plants , carrying on to the homely building, as encouragement I suppose. Wouldn't it be fun to make a happy shop there?
Tulips die beautifully, all sprawled out and twisty. They make beautiful photographs as they age.
Love Olga sympathizing with them in the same sort of spent way.

Linda Sue said...

window boxes NOT balcony- here is something that is just right-https://www.journaloftheplagueyear.ink/blog/ball-of-confusion

37paddington said...

My mom used to say if you cant say anything nice say nothing at all, and so I have held my tongue about Rush Limbaugh. But I agree with you in every respect. I did see one tweet where the person said, to those wanting to criticize Rush Limbaugh on the occasion of his death, she wanted to caution them to pause and think about...whether they were going big enough. I chuckled. All that to say, you were kind in your assessment. I won't miss him one bit, and how sad is that to say about a life.

Allison said...

It's good that he's gone. He was cruel man, and he encouraged that in others. He's part of the path to the last president.

Mary said...

In complete agreement with your assessment of Limbaugh.

Olga looks as tired as the tulips.

Margaret said...

Limbaugh was beyond an asshole; he was toxic and vile. As you wrote, he's sent us down a path of crudeness, rudeness and lying that many in the GOP continue to emulate. I don't celebrate his death, but I'm not a bit sorry.

Catalyst said...

Paul Harvey, like Limbaugh, made up stories and told lies on his broadcasts. But, unlike Limbaugh, Harvey's were not intended to do harm.

Tasker Dunham said...

Not risking any of our plants outside yet. This year, some have even met their demise in the greenhouse.

Linda Sue said...

also this house, is there ever enough stuff?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K6qceRqNzs&ab_channel=Homeworthy

Debby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angelicastar said...

Limbaugh did go out in silence. (lol) Maybe he knew he was on his way out. "Trouble don't last forever". His death was joyful news and he brought more hatred in this world during his time here. He should have been gone a long time ago. Our next go around should be Donald trump. This slut is still trying to keep his rioters stirred up. Death will end that saga.

My life so far said...

Rush sounds like he was angry, scared man. No idea why he was so afraid but usually hatred like that comes from fear and ignorance. I like what your friend said, gave people permission to be assholes, trump did that too.

ellen abbott said...

that's a great picture of Olga with the fading tulips. I'm not celebrating Limbaugh's death but the world is a much better place without him and frankly, I'm glad he's gone. yes, he has imitators but hopefully they will fade without Limbaugh leading the way. and if we get the Fairness Doctrine reinstalled, even better.

Ellen D. said...

I read somewhere that Rush made America worse. I thought that was true and what a sad thing to do with one's life.

Andrew said...

It must be good to start preparing for spring. Even from afar and not having listened to him, I couldn't help but knowing about Limbaugh and he sounded like an absolutely dreadful person.

The Bug said...

I agree with your take on Limbaugh. I also couldn't stand to listen to him because of his style - it made me so anxious! Love Olga and the tulips. You know I would have left them be for another week or two. Ha!

Janie Junebug said...

I like your friend Sue's assessment of Limbaugh's appeal. I see him as a precursor to the ugliness that many conservatives now embrace.

Love,
Janie

Steve Reed said...

I thought we needed a little bit of Olga's levity. :)

Steve Reed said...

It is remarkable how attached people are to their phones. I just don't think to gaze at my phone when I'm out walking around -- unless I'm lost and need my maps app!

Steve Reed said...

Absolutely -- he was a precursor to all that, just as Falwell was a precursor to Limbaugh.

Steve Reed said...

When a person has problems, it's much easier to blame them all on some "other" (whether it be gays or immigrants or blacks or China or whatever) than to take honest stock of their life. Many people choose the easy route.

Steve Reed said...

It is unfortunate for all of us that Limbaugh persisted for so long.

Steve Reed said...

Right?! I don't see how he wasn't eaten up with ulcers. He just simmered in all that toxicity for all those years.

Steve Reed said...

Ha! If there's any justice!

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I've seen that about DeSantis. That guy is a piece of work, though I think he's not quite as evil as Rick Scott.

Steve Reed said...

It is sad that his venom appealed to so many.

Steve Reed said...

I agree. He appealed to the darkest parts of human nature.

Steve Reed said...

I'm so glad you looked up T. Burrows! I didn't even think to do that. I assumed it was an old sign and probably unrelated to whatever's in the shopfront now.

Steve Reed said...

They do make a very picturesque bouquet in their deterioration, don't they?!

Steve Reed said...

I'll take a look at these when I have more time! I'm racing to get to work at the moment. :)

Steve Reed said...

Ha! I think it's possible to be critical of Rush without being mean or cruel. Because, exactly, it ultimately IS sad that he was so full of bile and spread it to so many other people.

Steve Reed said...

He definitely laid the groundwork for Trump, as someone said above.

Steve Reed said...

She was worn out! This was post-walk. :)

Steve Reed said...

It makes you wonder how long it will take to recover from his legacy. Or will we ever?

Steve Reed said...

Harvey was right-wing (and a bit of a huckster) but he wasn't toxic. I sort of liked listening to him even when I thought he was full of baloney.

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, this winter could easily turn on us and become bad again! It's still early! I'll just bring them inside again if that happens.

Steve Reed said...

I agree. How are you faring with all the weather drama, Angelicastar?

Steve Reed said...

He seems like he was weirdly repressed in some way. How does a guy churn through four wives, have no kids, and spend his days simmering in toxicity? Something was going on inside that guy's head and it wasn't healthy.

Steve Reed said...

I agree -- the world is better off without him. And a resounding YES to restoring the Fairness Doctrine! Eliminating that is what's led to all this distortion and partisanship.

Steve Reed said...

I think it absolutely is true, and I agree. I hope he knew it and it tormented him.

Steve Reed said...

Oh, feel fortunate you've never heard him! You're a better person for it!

Steve Reed said...

Exactly! It tied me up in knots to hear him, just as it ties me up in knots to listen to these other right-wingers and read their web sites nowadays.

Steve Reed said...

He definitely was, but he wasn't the first. I think Falwell and Schlafly and others helped build the bonfire that Rush ignited.

Angelicastar said...

I only lost power for approximately 5 1/2 hours and I texted center point and gave them my health condition and finally 3 hours later my lights popped on. I never lost water. As of Thursday I was hospitalized for 3 days. I would have preferred being home.(lol) You can't get any rest there. I came home Saturday night. I am okay now. My fistula was working and I had to go back in surgery and wait there for dialysis.

Janie Junebug said...

True.