Sunday, November 8, 2009


“Awwwww folks, you just hate to see that kind of thing happen...not!

I believe...yes, I'm almost certain that it was a British poet of some renown from the latter 20th century who famously and through wasp-stung lips howled “You Can't Always Get Whatcha' Want”. It was a simple mantra. One that we, the little people, common folk have always known to be so. It is not a chiller of dreams, but rather a simple statement that sometimes, a grand plan will come asunder like so much sodden tissue paper in spite of one's mightiest efforts to succeed. These things happen sometimes “just because”—maybe the “karma” isn't right...or the timing is a little bit off. And other times it's a direct result of something the desirous person has done or said that dashes the opportunity...a seemingly unrelated statement or deed(s) so ugly and so damning that when the dreamer's chance comes around and he or she must be deemed worthy or not by peers—that ruling is often...well, “not”.

Of course, if you proudly leave a tornado-like wake of destruction behind you—millions of people meanly defamed simply because they are differently colored than you, or are less-abled than you, are a different gender or are differently sexually inclined than you, then you dramatically increase the odds that down the road a piece, said ugly sentiments and deeds will be recalled and considered by those beyond you who hold sway over your dream's coming to fruition.

Bluntly put, there is often a price for a lifetime of assholery.

To which I say, 'Hello, Rush! Nice to see ya'. Enjoy that virtual “fantasy” football team of yours, because that's about as close to “owning” an NFL team as sane folks'll let you get.

Thus was the tale of Mr. Limbaugh's doomed, would-be co-ownership of the St. Louis Rams. His nearly three decades worth of vile and incendiary statements, stands, and stunts were weighed when it came time for him to try and move away from the sordid ghetto of batshit talk radio he helped build and perpetuate. A ghetto where he is the soiled and stinking “King”. It turns out the neighborhood beyond (NFL Team Ownership-ville) where he wanted that second house deemed him undesirable and would not let him move in. There is a delicious irony in that metaphor's working against him, when you consider the numerous exclusionary and flat-out racist blatherings that have oozed from his fat head over the years. And his anger over some of the rough remarks being bandied about under his byline not being his is equally laughable. It's a dodge. Note that his squall wasn't 'I've never said anything racist!', but rather 'I didn't make the racist statements a few people have attributed to me in recent days!' His mewling about oppression and some sort of denial of his rights has been an exceptionally sweet treat—especially when one recalls his recent circus-elephant dancing when President Obama's lobbying of the International Olympic Committee to grant Chicago the right to host the 2016 Olympics went for naught.

Ol' barnacle-bottom could sure enough deal it out then, huh?

“You know, human beings are human beings, they have jealousies. This is the IOC's show, it wasn't The Obama Show. They came over there, they tried to hijack the whole thing and the IOC bitch slapped them. It's no more complicated than that.”

“Sigh!” You've just gotta love his “entertaining” use of violent, misogynistic language (Um...“bitch-slap”? Really?) in his little post-Olympic-diss end-zone dance there, dontcha'? But, to take the ol' football metaphor a wee bit further (“chortle!”) down the field, the problem when you dance in the end zone at another team's expense is that sooner or later—and in this case, pretty much on the next Goddamned play, you're going to have to eat a touchdown against you and endure a mocking dance or two at your own expense.

Homeboy has if you've noticed, not taken it well, kids.

He's railed about the unfairness of it all, being dropped from the Rams' buyers' consortium and bleating like a sheep at the abbatoir door about lies set against him (Actually, Limbaugh whining about “lies” against him is like the master burglar complaining to his landlord to put extra locks on his apartment's door 'cause some thief might break in'). How he's being witch-hunted and and McCarthy-ized. A couple of his more abraded-knuckled pals have dared trot out the Dallas/Dynasty-era chestnut of his being a victim of...yes, a 'High-Tech Lynching'. He's even threatened to take the considerable moolah he was going to sink into the team's purchase and by cracky, sue those vile scalawags who besmirched his integri-fucking-ty!

Please...those ducats have already been re-allocated for his next five sex-tours of faraway places where the chickies don't know him and thus won't immediately puke upon his sweaty-browed introduction. And does he really, really want people looking even a little bit closely at the known record of the awfulness he is lead-pipe-cinch documented as spewing? Really?

His anger over this smackdown is interesting though, and...if you know anything at all about him historically, pretty easy to explain.

Number one, he's a frustrated jock, who played the old “if you can't do it, talk about it” bit of wish fulfillment to the ever-lovin' hilt. He hitched his lead-filled caboose to professional sports as a broadcaster of little renown (after a couple of Top 40 stints under such memorable monikers like “Rusty Sharpe” and “Jeff Christie”) and spent a lot of time cozying up to equally politically retrograde actual athletes. When that career fizzled out, he rolled into the world of political talk radio like a five-ton boulder, crushing everything in sight, and re-making the landscape—using a potent potpourri of hate, lies, ridicule, and a brash hyper-certainty that played to the angry rubes looking for a loudmouth leader to worship and rally their “Falling Down” anger around. It worked like magic, as he became wingnuttia's most prominent loudmouth leader in the media—his talk show at its peak pulling in close to 15 million lemming-lobed listeners per week. There were the so-called “books” he “wrote” of consciousness natterings transcribed from tape by his pals Johnny Fund and Joe Farah. Best-sellers, the sense that right-wing books have come to be known where they are “mayfly” classics that are born, flit madly about and then die with no legacy. He got rich off 'em as well as the radio show—super-quick and tried to parlay that “face made for radio” success into television success...

...Which being kind, did not work out quite as well.

Doing radio every day, he could sit on his considerable ass and pontificate for a while, and when he got tired, simply go to an hour's worth of filler—a.k.a. sycophantic calls from atrophy-brained fans squealing ego-fellating “megadittoes” at him. No such chance on T.V. He had a live audience, but as is the case with live TV audiences, if they weren't as they say, “feeling him” he could not count on them eating from his hand like his AM Radioslaves. In fact, they were quite capable of going rogue and chewing his pudgy hand down to a nub. What's more, he didn't translate well beyond radio as he looked exactly like a three-dimensional caricature of what you'd expect of a stuffy, harrumphing, conservative scold. His show was a wingnut proto-“Daily Show”—minus all the funny, and a likable host that is.

And back to radio it was for El Rushbo—and there he has stayed ever since—which is the root of his present frustration.

Ambition...ohhhhhhh, sweet ambition...can be a kick in the mother-fucking nads, especially when said ambition outstrips what you bring to the table in terms of talent, or class. He tired pretty quickly of being boss fly atop the right-wing talk radio turd-pile. But his raging hate and willingness to say the wildest things imaginable has locked him right-damn-there. Much as an asset as he may be to the politicos he pimps (he does get their message out), there has been nothing over all these years they could do to grow him past his tinny-speakered boundaries. There appears to be no self-selected second act for him. No page turn or broadening (pun unintended)—remember the failed “Monday Night Football” color booth gig he imploded on himself thanks to his Donovan McNabb tirade? He's much too toxic to actually move from behind his supposedly gold-plated microphone into politics and succeed, like his liberal arch-nemesis and fellow talk radio-er / now U.S. Senator Al Franken did. (And if you think that little power-move didn't rankle the hell out of him, I have a never-ridden, wild, magical unicorn to sell you. Cheap!)

This is a guy who in spite of his claims of brilliance, self-congratulatory bluster, and power of influence—albeit far more limited than he would care to admit—cannot get beyond the simple reality of what he actually is, namely the very popular afternoon-drive guy who takes over the egg crate-lined studio just after the jock from “Hee-Haw” signs off.

What's super-ironic about his abbreviated, attempted NFL team ownership is the way the whole deal's collapse held fast to the hard-line Rush-ian principles of free-marketeering. He was brought into the Ram's potential ownership group by Dave Checketts, former NY Knicks GM and stealth God-Squadder whose mounting series of faith and self-serving moves helped drive Coach Pat Riley out of town and damaged the team for a decade (i.e. Moves like penning the gutless, holy-rolling goofball Allan Houston to the worst and most team-crippling long-term contract in NBA history). As soon as the heat came down from all circles about Limbaugh's past lunacy, Checketts and his consortium did what any business group would do—they ruthlessly carved out the cancer that was damaging their chances at acquiring the desired commodity and kept on steppin' on. Limbaugh got the boot because he was a liability, a stumbling block and yes, an undesirable in a circle he assumed he would be a favored son in—the steadfastly wingnutteous ownership supermajority in the NFL. Now that's a hell of a thing, being told you are far too right-wing by a group that gave money to McCain over Obama to the tune of a three-to-one ratio but that's exactly what they did, jail-shanking the fat-cat dream of the wannabe baller / shot-caller, Rush.

But how did that happen, considering his near-fellow owners share maybe ninety-percent of his cave-spawned views? Well, the little thing ol' Rushie forgot was that the NFL wasn't like his beloved NASCAR, where the ownership and the performing talent were on the same page politically and culturally. The NFL while almost one-hundred-percent wingnut owned has a performing talent group that is a touch over sixty percent Black—with an exploding number of that sixty-plus percent at the once-exclusive, good-ol'boy cherished position of quarterback. This was a bottom-up “revolt” with the usually feckless players and their union spine-ing-the-hell-up and while not calling for a straight boycott or on-field protests, made it very clear to anyone who would listen that they were EXTREMELY displeased at the possibility of the likes of Limbaugh entering the ownership club—an unprecedented bit of mutiny and a P.R. nightmare for the game itself. In a league where players choreograph personal post-touchdown / sack performances with the precision of Hollywood special effects teams—with no input or real ability for the league brass to stop them, the potential for a supremely embarrassingly series of brass-balled, public call-outs against Limbaugh would have given the game such a black eye and called further attention to Rush's hateful crazy that it would have probably superceded the the 1968 Olympics “Black Glove / Black Power” medal podium protest firestorm.

This was not something NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his network partners at Fox, CBS, NBC and ESPN/ABC were willing to risk.

Rush forgot it wasn't the fifties / early sixties anymore, when his sort proudly strode the NFL ownership landscape like armor-plated, walnut-brained stegosauruses, where you had folks like the odious former owner of the Washington Redskins, George Preston Marshall, the not-quite-crypto-bigot whose racist sentiments and enforced bigoted policy manifested itself in team-destructive on-field decisions, and who as a charter franchise owner, led the league's unspoken decade-and-a-half-long color barrier during the height of his powers.

He baited and arbitrarily punished Black players and got away with it—the league percentage of African Americans was between six to twelve percent post-WWII, and those few were still operating under 'Robinson's Rules of Rectitude'—a term we'll use here to describe the 'stoicism in the face of bigotry' style pioneered by baseball's Jackie Robinson, who'd only smashed big league sports' color line a touch over a decade before.

Marshall was the last of the red-hot n*gger-haters in the NFL brass, and last to integrate his team (in 1962!) post the wild successes of Black stars like Marion Motley, Rosey Grier and Jim Brown on other squads. (And pressure from league brass attuned to the upheaval in America circa the Civil Rights Movement) He wasn't the last racist—because they still exist in large numbers in the ownership ranks, but he was the obvious hold-out of the age where men of his sort still expected Black folks to jump in a muddy gutter before thinking to share a sidewalk with him. And once the league signed a national contract with network TV, such open embarrassments could no longer be tolerated. Marshall's ways—financially damaging ways that is—to the expanding league turned him into a pariah, and his fellow team owners simply waited him out until he sickened and died off.

Rush however, thanks to his daily slams at Blacks, women, and anything not fat, pink-skinned and wee-hung like himself is far more dangerous than the cantankerous, cracker-tastic ol' coot Marshall ever was. Marshall never had millions of drooling, snarling fools checking in for his craziness du jour and acting on said lunatic gospel. He was an institutional racist, not the rabble-rousing demagogue. This isn't to say that the back-room bigot is any better than the street-corner screecher, but in so-called “polite” society, the latter is an embarrassment simply not worth being associated with.

Rush was thrown under the bus by the powerful people who share his opinions and personally like him but just can't exactly be seen out and about with him.

“But baby...of course I love you! I-I just can't bring you 'round the neighborhood...for your own safety of course, you know.” (BEAT) “Oh might wanna know, wipe your mouth. You sorta got something on it there.”

It is from here, this sad relegation to 'fuckable but duckable' by his more urbane pals on the right that his recent anger springs. And sweet son-of-a-sea-cook has it ever! First the tirades against the press, the NFL Players Union, Al Sharpton and hell, probably the ghost spirit of Walter Payton in direct response to this smackdown. Then, realizing one would guess that 'What is, is what will probably always be' for him, that initial “snap” grand mal-ed itself into a deeper mental splintering. Add in the fact that cravenly, he probably feels he just has to step up the crazy to stay relevant, what with his having been blown past on the old cultural relevance-ometer by his “friend” Glenn Beck, who now savvily markets in tears what ol' Rushie once did with cigar-juice infused spittle. But perhaps...just perhaps, we're also witnessing the cumulative effects of the most recent series of “hits” he's absorbed—the drug arrest, the Michael J. Fox tremor debacle, McNabb-gate, the Viagra / Le Sex Tour's exposure, his party's falling from power (in spite of his best-laid plans—and if so, we're looking with deep and chuckle-worthy irony at a reality-concussed brain reacting the same way an over-tackled NFL player's brain does after years of blows against it...with wild, erratic mood swings, dementia, and self-destructive behavior.

It's one way I guess, in spite of losing out on the whole NFL ownership bag for dear, old Rush to stay connected to the game he so loves.

Let's dance to that “connection”, shall we?