RIP Rush – “He Made A Huge Difference”

I’ve always been a procrastinator, but this is different. I’ve been trying to find the words for several days, with little success. Just because you know something is happening in advance doesn’t mean it’s any easier when it actually happens. Such is the case with my man Rush Limbaugh, whose talent on loan from God was called on Ash Wednesday.

 

The Doctor of Democracy, our Maha Rushie, had been diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago, but continued with his radio show, albeit with frequent days off (I assume for treatment, appointments, etc). Then in October he made the devastating announcement that the treatments weren’t working. Around Christmastime he stated that doctors hadn’t expected him to be alive to see the holiday season so he was thankful for “extra innings”. His last radio broadcast came on February 2, and just over two weeks later he was gone.

 

I was introduced to Rush Limbaugh by my friend Greg in 1991, just in time for the 1992 election season. His books The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) and See, I Told You So (1993) were eye openers. I’ve seen Rush called many things this past week, but to my surprise I haven’t seen anyone refer to him the way I would…as a teacher. Everyone always likes to ask “Who was your favorite teacher??” or “Name a teacher who changed your life”, and of course most have atleast one from high school or college they hold in high regard, but my favorite teacher of all time just might be Rush Limbaugh. Certainly I learned more from him than what I rote memorized in high school, and I barely remember anything I heard in a college classroom (the social aspect of those years were much more meaningful to me, and I don’t feel bad about that).

 

Rush taught me about self-reliance. Rugged individualism. American exceptionalism. The brilliance of our Founding Fathers. He helped me understand media bias, and was a trailblazer in railing against political correctness. I learned more about economics from Rush Limbaugh than all the college professors I had combined. He had…unique…perspectives on race relations, feminism, environmentalism, and any other hot button issue one can imagine. His opinions angered a whole lot of people, but in my opinion he was usually spot on in his assessment. He had an uncanny ability to see thru the…ummm…poppycock…and tell us what was really going on. Hint: most of the time things aren’t what they seem…politicians lie, “journalists” lie, and all those celebrities who like to show off their alleged intellect usually have no idea what they’re talking about. That’s why so many of those kinds of people hated him…he understood their dishonesty, ignorance, & hypocrisy and wasn’t afraid to call them on it.

 

One of my father’s Dadisms has always been “I love you & will do anything I can to help you, but I will NOT defend you when you are wrong”. It is not my intention to put Rush Limbaugh on a pedestal. He had failures & made mistakes. He was married four times. He had a much publicized addiction to pain killers. He pushed the envelope on the radio and in doing so stepped over the line more than once. Sadly those shortcomings were constantly seized upon by those who disagreed with his sociopolitical opinions, and he was portrayed by some as an evil minion of Satan.

 

The odd thing is, those that know him best have always painted a far different picture. They will tell you that off the air he was shy, respectful, and quite generous. I never met Rush in person, but in listening to him I wasn’t offended or felt like he was all that shocking. Over the years I have found that many people who “hate” him never actually listened to his show. At best they may have heard a sound byte that left a bad impression, but if one is being intellectually honest we all know that the media often manipulates such things to further their chosen narrative. Rush Limbaugh became The Boogeyman who represented everything leftists despise about conservatism, and he willingly took the bullet. He always said that to really understand him you had to listen to the show consistently for a few weeks, and I found that to be true. He used humor like a surgeon wields a scalpel, and oftentimes intentionally tweaked the media just to get a reaction (and they rarely failed to live down to expectations).

 

Over the years I would occasionally play a game with myself. I’d hear a story, form an opinion, then try to think about it thru the prism of what Rush might say about it. Inevitably, once I was able to catch up with his show (made so much easier thru modern technology) I would realize that I had been on the right track with my thoughts, although he had an uncanny ability to point out things that I’d missed. The point though, is that thru the course of three decades I learned so much that I wouldn’t have if I’d never become a Dittohead. I suppose some will assume that makes me a misogynistic bigot, but when those accusations start flying I know immediately that I’m dealing with an uninformed ignoramus who never actually listened to the man I enjoyed & admired. I am in regular contact with people who spew obtuse MSNBC & CNN talking points almost daily, so I know the type. Thru trial & error and a lot of missteps along the way I’ve learned to accept those folks and appreciate their more positive contributions.

 

Sadly there are a fair number of people out there whose unhappiness & anger are too much to overlook. Such was the case in the immediate aftermath of Rush’s departure from this mortal coil. The comments on social media, while completely predictable, were no less infuriating. There have been liberals who passed (Supreme Court Justice RBG for example) and I never felt compelled to post something like “Thank God for cancer” or “Rest in Piss”, and that’s thanks to parents who raised me better. I guess everyone isn’t as fortunate as me. Isn’t it funny that “fact” checkers & community standards (whatever that is 🤷🏻‍♂️) are nowhere to be found in that scenario??

 

I listened to & read a lot of coverage of Rush’s death for a couple of days, with much of it being unsurprisingly disrespectful. However, one viewpoint in particular stood out. My apologies for not being able to give that person proper credit because I cannot remember who said it, but someone opined that Rush Limbaugh “made a huge difference”. One of the things he used to say when he was still the only game in town on conservative talk radio and The Internet was in its infancy is “I AM equal time”. I believe it was in response to certain entities calling for the return of The Fairness Doctrine (you might want to study it a bit…there will soon be a renewed push to revive it). Mr. Limbaugh was very clear in his opinion that the media, entertainment, public education, and other powerful parts of our daily lives have long been controlled by The Left and the populace indoctrinated without us even realizing it was happening. That indoctrination has only gotten more bold & pervasive, but many of us are no longer ignorant of it and occasionally even fight back. Rush Limbaugh deserves nearly all the credit for that. He almost singlehandedly saved talk radio, and in the process awakened millions of people to malevolent machinations that had been occurring for decades. Without Rush there is no Bush Dynasty, Fox News, Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, or Donald Trump. I shudder to think what Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, & a likely Hillary Clinton Administration would have done to our country if Rush hadn’t been around to hold their feet to the fire. Certainly our Supreme Court would look far different and be way more radical. The next wave of conservative pundits wouldn’t be enjoying the level of success they’ve achieved without Rush as a forefather. Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Candace Owens, Ben Shapiro, Steven Crowder, Tomi Lahren…they all owe him a significant debt of gratitude, and I think they know that. I’ll even go so far as to ponder what the 2020 Election might have looked like if Rush had been at full strength this past year, although I don’t think even he could’ve stopped the theft that occurred (that’s a rabbit hole I won’t dive into right now).

 

“He made a huge difference”. I don’t think I’m venturing too far out on a limb when I say that most of us would love to have that said about our life. I’ve had way too much time to think about my own legacy this past year, and without going too far astray I’ll just say that I don’t think I’ve made much of a difference to anyone or anything. When I am gone it will be as if I was never here. Rush Limbaugh?? Well, he is deeply missed already, but thankfully he spent thirty years changing the world three hours at a time.

 

What’s next?? I have no idea. No one can replace El Rushbo, America’s Truth Detector. I saw someone compare him to Johnny Carson, and that seems like an appropriate analogy. A bunch of late night hosts have come & gone since Carson left the stage, and while most have adequately entertained us none have equaled The King of Late Night. Such will be the case with conservative talk radio & punditry. There will be shows. Someone (probably multiple people) will even sit behind the golden EIB microphone for the foreseeable future, but there will never be another Rush Limbaugh…a teacher/entertainer/communicator who expertly balanced humor, wisdom, righteous indignation, mischievous rabblerousing, connecting with an audience, & accessible analysis of complex issues. And he made it look easy.

The 2020 Sammy Awards – Part I

Awards Season has arrived!!

Greetings Manoverse, and welcome to the 2020 Sammy Awards!! It is with no small amount of trepidation that we take a look back at a year that most would likely just as soon forget, but after taking a hiatus from these awards in 2019 the decision has been made to press on. We’ll do the best we can to do our little tongue-in-cheek review of all the ups & downs of the past twelve months with as much positivity & mirth as possible, while also treating certain subjects with the respect & gravitas they deserve.

 

This actually seems like the perfect time to bring back The Sammys. After all, it’s a fake awards show, so there is no social distancing or masks required, although if you feel it necessary to get tested for Covid-19 when we are done that is your decision. This year’s show would obviously be broadcast on Zoom and perhaps Facebook Live, although those damn “fact” checkers might be a problem (thanks to that affluent douchebag Zuckerberg). At any rate, as always, we consider The Sammy Awards to be much cooler that The Oscars or The Grammys, and much more relevant than anything presented on MTV.  We originally invited the lovely Hilaria Baldwin (wife of actor Alec Baldwin) to be our host, but unfortunately she is quarantining after contact tracing determined she may have been exposed to The Coronavirus (or, as she is calling it, The “Spanish” Flu). Fortunately we found a last minute replacement (actually a major upgrade), and it is a huge honor to welcome an Academy Award nominated actor and star of legendary films like Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, & Scrooged. Please give a warm welcome to Bill Murray!!

 

After an amusing opening monologue from our esteemed host it is time to present our first award. To do that we are thrilled to welcome back not only a former NFL lineman & Hall-of-Fame broadcaster, but the winner of multiple Sammy Awards who recently departed ESPN (he’s a white male so he no longer aligns with their wokeness) after two decades of awesomeness. Eat a donut in honor of Mike Golic Sr!! And the nominees are:

 

 

The Thrill of Victory Award

 

Las Vegas Raiders

I’m not sure on field expectations were all that high for the Raiders coming off a 7-9 record in 2019, their third losing season in a row. However, everyone associated with the team and the entire fanbase had to be psyched about a change of scenery to Sin City. Then Covid-19 happened, so instead of playing in front of 65,000 screaming fans at the brand spanking new Allegiant Stadium the Raiders got to play in an empty or nearly empty venue (the rules seemingly differed for each team and changed weekly). But while that is sad there is hope for the future. The Raiders finished 8-8, nearly making the playoffs. America’s Playground will bounce back, and there are strong reasons to believe their new hometown football team will be part of the recovery.

 

LSU’s National Championship

It seems like a lifetime ago, but the Bayou Bengals beat Clemson on January 13, 2020 to claim their fourth National Championship in football. Unfortunately they were unable to follow-up on that success this season and finished with a 5-5 record.

 

Kansas City Wins Super Bowl

QB Patrick Mahomes was the 10th choice in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, meaning nine teams passed on him. In just his third season Mahomes made those nine teams look totally foolish when he led the Chiefs to a win over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl to claim their first Lombardi Trophy in a half century.

 

Dodgers Win World Series

The Sickness negatively affected sports in a multitude of ways in 2020, and one result was a truncated 60 game MLB regular season. To be honest I was facing my own challenges last summer and paid very little attention to baseball, but the Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in a World Series that no hardcore fan outside of Los Angeles will ever remember with much reverence or respect. Congrats I guess.

 

Brady’s Move

Regardless of what the talking heads say I will never recognize Tom Brady as the GOAT, but I was thankful to see him leave the hated New England Patriots after two decades and six Super Bowl victories. His move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave us the opportunity to find out who was more responsible for the Pats’ success…Brady or head coach Bill Belichick. The result?? New England missed the playoffs for only the second time since 2000 (the first was 2008 when Brady went down with a torn ACL in the opener and missed the rest of the season), while Tampa finished 11-5 and will be making their first playoff appearance since 2007. I have to admit I am somewhat surprised how it all shook out.

 

Lebron Gets Another Ring

The NBA had their season interrupted by The Sickness and had to play the entirety of their playoffs in a “bubble” in Orlando, FL. At the end of the day the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat to win their 17th title. Lebron James is now 36 years old and has played in the NBA nearly half his life, winning four rings in the process. He may not be the greatest player on the planet anymore, but he’s still better that 95% of the league.

 

Tyson’s Comeback

Mike Tyson last fought professionally in 2005, losing to a guy no one had ever heard of. It was an ignoble ending to the legendary career of The Baddest Man on the Planet. Flash ahead to November 2020 when Tyson fought an 8 round exhibition against former Olympian Roy Jones Jr. The bout was scored a draw, but the sad part is that it took place at L.A.’s Staples Center in front of no fans. Under normal circumstances one can reasonably assume a raucous packed house would have made the event truly special, but it wasn’t to be. At 54 years of age it is unlikely that Tyson will receive many more opportunities, but it would be great to see him go out with a big crowd in attendance.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

The Kansas City Chiefs. 2020 was a pretty tough year for sports. Events were cancelled. Players & coaches tested positive for the virus and had to miss games. Seasons were abbreviated. Stadiums were empty. Fortunately KC won their championship before all of that was an issue. And it probably isn’t the last time they’ll be competing in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs look like they could be a team to be reckoned with for many years to come.

 

We feel like 2020 was such a traumatic experience that some cathartic laughter might be a good idea. To help us do that it is a pleasure to welcome back God’s Comic Brad Stine!!

 

 

After Brad Stine has tickled our funny bone with his unique brand of clean comedy it is time to present our next award. To do that it is a pleasure to welcome one of America’s funniest character actors. He has had roles in a variety of television shows, including Hearts Afire (a 90’s sitcom starring John Ritter & Markie Post), Reba, and Boston Legal, but his fame rose to new heights during the pandemic by way of hilarious & heartwarming viral videos, providing us all a chuckle when we really needed it. Please show some love for Leslie Jordan!! And the nominees are:

 

 

Favorite Viral Videos

 

Tipsy Bartender

Skyy John is an actor/bartender from The Bahamas. Apparently he has been doing Tipsy Bartender videos for several years but I am a little late to the party. The videos themselves are pretty short, but they are the perfect blend of informative & entertaining. I knew I was going to like Skyy when he made his affection for blue curacao (an orange liqueur) evident because Blue Hawaiians were one of my favorite drinks back in college.

 

Family Feud

Nothing is more of an indicator of the shifting winds of entertainment than Family Feud. How so?? Well, while I am rarely inclined to sit down & watch an entire half hour episode I’m more than happy to watch brief videos highlighting a particularly amusing question or a totally stupid answer that elicits a hilarious response from host Steve Harvey. I’m old enough to remember original host Richard Dawson kissing every female contestant on the lips…something that would be considered weird & inappropriate by modern standards. Instead, Harvey’s charm & comedic chops make the program entertaining, especially in small bites.

  

BatDad

Back in 2013 Blake Wilson purchased a Batman mask from a Target in Florida and began posting Vines of himself interacting with his wife & children while wearing the mask and talking in the low pitched throatiness popularized by Christian Bale’s version of The Caped Crusader in the Dark Knight movies. Seven years later Vine no longer exists and BatDad is divorced from his seemingly unamused wife Jen, but the videos are still going strong.

 

The Holderness Family

Penn & Kim Holderness used to be talking heads on TV news programs, but soon after posting some videos on YouTube in 2013 they became a lot more famous. Their videos consist of parody songs and other comedy bits poking fun at slice-of-life Americana like Hallmark Christmas movies & of course dealing with quarantine. They are quite talented & funny, and their two children seem to enjoy being part of the show.

 

The Williams Sisters on Instagram

Kimberly Williams-Paisley & her sister Ashley Williams are both actresses. These days they mostly star in television movies, but Kimberly’s very first acting gig was in 1991’s Father of the Bride (one of my favorite movies of all time), while I still remember Ashley from the sitcom Good Morning Miami that only lasted one season almost twenty years ago. During the pandemic they have been going live on Instagram once a week, and it’s just a conversation between two sisters. They cover a wide array of subjects, laughing hysterically the entire time. Ashley especially has an infectious laugh. I have come to appreciate simplicity, and the charm of two sisters just having fun talking to each other and letting us eavesdrop is undeniable.

 

 

and The Sammy goes to…..

 

Tipsy Bartender. I don’t even drink anymore. I sowed my wild oats in college, but now, more than two decades later, you are much more likely to see me drinking skim milk or iced tea than liquor, and my favorite kind of beer is root beer. Mixology has always intrigued me though, so I enjoy watching various concoctions being created even if I know darn well I’ll never drink it myself. It’s kind of like my affection for The Food Network despite the fact that my own culinary efforts rarely go beyond throwing something in the microwave or cooking spaghetti then tossing a jar of sauce over it. If you enjoy an occasional adult beverage these videos are fascinating and a lot of fun.

 

 

Our next award is a very special honor being given to a person who has been an influence in my life for thirty years. To make the presentation we are pleased to welcome two young ladies who have likely looked to our honoree as an inspiration in their own careers as political pundits and will carry on his legacy for many years to come. Please give a warm welcome to Candace Owens & Tomi Lahren!!

 

 

The Duffer-Herrell Lifetime Achievement Award

 

Rush Limbaugh

 

When I was in college my best friend Greg gave me a book entitled The Way Things Ought to Be. I had heard a little bit about Rush Limbaugh, but I thought he was a shock jock that I’d not find entertaining at all. I was wrong. I read Rush’s book and it was a revelation. He made so much sense, opening my eyes to ideas I’d never known I always believed. Over the next two decades I was an avid listener of his daily talk show, and really enjoyed the TV show he hosted all too briefly in the early 90’s. I am well aware that many people don’t like Rush at all, but I think a lot of those folks are misinformed. Though he has mellowed in recent years I readily admit that back in the day he could be quite abrasive, oftentimes intentionally offensive, and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I believe his reputation for being outrageous has always been overblown. More than once I have encountered people who claim they hated Rush but hadn’t actually listened to his program…something I’ve always found to be intellectually dishonest. You might not agree with his political beliefs, but Rush is hardly Satan’s evil minion. To be honest I think he was ahead of his time. People weren’t quite ready for his brutal honesty, refusal to kowtow to opposing ideas, and faux bravado three decades ago, but now everybody is copying his shtick and turning the volume to 11. Rush was a major player in the conservative movement of the mid-1990’s, and the Clinton years when Slick Willie was the perfect adversary for Rush to play off of were definitely the golden age of his reign over talk radio. I haven’t listened to his show all that much the past several years because I am not as into politics as I used to be. I no longer have the stomach for intense debate with people who will never try to see my point of view no matter how conciliatory I am toward them. The ballyhooed mean-spiritedness assigned to Rush pales in comparison to how divisive and malicious people can be these days. He’s kind of like the classic horror movies from the 1930’s…sure they are horror films, but they aren’t nearly as gory & violent as modern horror films. In that same way Rush’s alleged malevolence almost seems quaint when compared to what is presented every day & night on the cable news channels. At any rate, I spent countless hours thru the years learning from Rush, being entertained by him, and awakening to the indoctrination pervasive in so many powerful entities that shape & dictate our lives. Sadly Rush Limbaugh’s time in the public arena is coming to a close. He is battling lung cancer and has already lived longer than expected. I am sure there are people who will celebrate his demise, but I am not one of them. If you are I will say a prayer for you. To Rush all I can say is godspeed and thank you for everything you have meant in my life.

 

 

This feels like a good place to pause, but please stay tuned for Part 2 of The Sammy Awards…coming soon!!