After yesterday's post, I thought a lot about how I can evaluate the rest of this transcript fairly without going back and reading original articles about the Churchill thing. Also, the original Churchill article itself. So I spent quite a bit of time doing that.
Then I read this transcript again. And I had some general thoughts on this experience and what it is turning into.
It strikes me, at least twenty times a day, that my long residence outside the US has made me very unaware of how the discourse is progressing there. Most of the things Rush says seem to be code phrases that he and his listeners have internalized that I don't share. At times it seems that he is speaking a different language, the language of oversimplification.
Many times I get upset by American pundits who try to write about things I have some knowledge of; for example, Middle Eastern culture, history, religion, whatever. They simplify everything to the point that I feel it is not only too simplified, it becomes incorrect.
The last time I was in the US and I tried to watch network news I had this reaction to everything they said. I wanted more detail. I wanted to know upon what they were basing all the glib phrases, all the catchwords. It seemed that the entire process was in a shorthand code and that there was an active avoidance of giving people too much information. It seems Americans would rather be told things that are wrong than to be told too much and get confused.
But the real world is confusing and very, very complicated. And I think Americans need to realize this.
When Rush reads a sentence about this Churchill professor and then says to his listeners, "That's the Left for you!" he is drastically simplifying everything to the point that it is no longer even coherent.
First of all, he is defining the guy himself (Churchill) by a single sentence taken out of context.
Second, he is defining the metaphor that Churhill used (comparing World Trade Center financial analysts and other employees to "little Eichmanns") as outrageous, presumably because Eichmann was a Nazi. There's no attempt to even understand why Churchill chose Eichmann as a metaphor (if he were just trying to call the financial people in the World Trade Center Nazis, surely he would have picked someone less obscure? Does it not matter to Rush what he actually meant or was trying to say?).
Third, having identified Churchill's term as outrageous and Churchill as equatable with the term, he identifies a group called the "left" as being completely equatable with Churchill just as he has already simplified him.
I have an idea that it would be fairly unfair for me to equate a huge group of people with Rush - even if they listen to his radio show and like it, I would still accept the fact that they are complicated human beings, and so is he, and he is not an emblem of them or vice versa.
I also can't dismiss Rush based on a single dumb thing he said. I have heard that Rush created the term "Feminazi". I could feign outrage with that term and categorize Rush Limbaugh as 100% outrageous because of that term, but I think this is kind of intellectually dishonest, in spite of the fact that the term is very annoying to me - because Rush is more than the sum of some silly things he may or may not have said - as is Churchill, I would assume.
But Rush himself practices this type of supercompression throughout this particular transcript. I have to admit it does not leave me breathless to read more of them. Perhaps I will try to listen to his show once or twice while I am back there this summer so that I can be positive that I am not being unfair or biased here.
I'll continue with the transcript next week. I feel very tired, for some reason.