Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Helping to Explain the Fragmenting of the Right

What can help explain the decline of the Right in this country? Glenn Greenwald thinks that part of it is quite simple: the face that they put forward in the form of conservative talk radio, is repulsive. From Greenwald's entry:

Last night, someone named Andrew Wilkow guest-hosted Mark Levin's radio program -- one of the highest-rated right-wing talk radio shows in America, whose host is selling more books to a right-wing audience right now than anyone since their leading intellectual historian compared liberals to Nazis with a smiling Hitler face on the cover -- and within the first fifteen minutes this is what he said:

"Perez Hilton, who I am now terming a vile sodomite . . . yeah, Perez, you’re a vile sodomite – doesn’t that word have a ring to it – sodomite -- and vile – vile sodomite – it just sounds so good to hear in my headphones – vile sodomite . . . . I’m not sure whose idea it was to have an overweight homosexual . . . What do gays constitute? They could announce the cure for AIDS on Logo and nobody would know for two weeks . . . And again, Perez Hilton, you’re a vile sodomite . . . and then this vile sodomite . . ."

It went on and on like that. He then continued:

"You, the idiot taxpayer, are paying the salary of that nice little boy, Rachel Maddow . . . Keith Olbermann’s nephew, Rachel Maddow . . ."

No one is saying that the entire Conservative movement endorses these ideas or this kind of discourse, in fact this is precisely the point that Greenwald is trying to make, that this is part of the reason the Right is in decline. But shows like Levin's are widely popular and act as the face of a movement that claims to be the primary voice of genuine populist opposition to the current Administration.

As Camille Paglia mentions in her most recent piece:

In a harried, fragmented, media-addled time, there is an invigorating simplicity to this political fundamentalism. It is comforting to hold fast to hallowed values, to defend tradition against the slackness of relativism and hedonism. But when the tone darkens toward a rhetoric of purgation and annihilation, there is reason for alarm.


trey said...

Its always the lesser of two evils. Its nearly impossible to get worse than the monumental vacancy of PC multi-culturalism which is the essence of almost all left thought.

trey said...

Let me qualify. It really for the most part is a nice and pleasant vacancy but in the end its an irresponsible avoidance of playing the heavy.

Chris Johnson said...


Just so I understand your point, you are saying that the type of speech that was quoted from the Mark Levin radio program (above) is the lesser of two evils? With the greater evil being "PC multiculturalism"?

trey said...

I just think over-serious commentary on talk radio is probably just more media echo chamber. Talk radio for the most part probably just provides some minimal entertainment for an over-30 captive audience stuck in traffic. What else is this audience gonna listen to, top 40 music? Rush Limbaugh (who I never listen to and would say I basically don't like) has been doing bombastic, loud-mouth political talk radio for over 20 years and some years people he really slams wins like Clinton and sometimes people he loves wins like Bush II. There would appear to be minimal impact. Maybe some really smart researcher can do some kind of detailed study on the impact of talk radio. (I just wanted to stick up for my guys, the Republicans, because you been really sticking it to them lately and I ain't posted in a while either.)