Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stickin it to the man...

Illini, Chicagoan, film critic...Roger Ebert is my kind of guy. I say that even though he gave Avatar 4 stars, and I would have only given it 2.

Earlier this month, though, I was really proud of him for this response to an outrageous Rush Limbaugh outburst.

It seems that Rush, with all of his wisdom and discretion, chose to suggest that President Obama is likely to steal money intended for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti through the official White House website.

Believe it or not, I can't say that I'm too concerned with another dose of Rush's absurdities; I don't expect much anymore. No, the real mind obliterator is that so many, upwards of 20 million people by some estimates, gobble it all up each week.

Do people really think that President Obama would do something like that? Did Democrats think President Bush was doing things like that? Is claiming such a thing really just some vague, cathartic boo-and-hiss session? Maybe venting is good?

Whatever the case, I'm glad that Rog decided to call him out. Shouldn't there be sociological consequences when someone who exerts substantial influence decides to just say things? The lingering question in my mind, though, has to do with the number of people who really identify with Rush. There are clearly millions of listeners, but how much stuff do they agree with? Is there an analogous personality on the left who is equally preposterous?

Just this evening, at the facility I work in, there was a group of about 150 conservatives, including some Republican county officials, who got together to watch the State of the Union (which I actually haven't watched yet). I have no doubt they made quite a ruckus over the president's speech. What I was most struck with, though, is that, even though there is a yawning chasm between us on the political spectrum, they were at least choosing to engage in the process. Maybe they hate everything the president stands for, and maybe they think the nation is disintegrating before our very eyes; but they showed up. They want their voices heard.

I'm not sure if I, or Roger Ebert, can muster the same respect for Rush as for a local gathering of like-minded citizens, but I suppose he has the same right to blabber on as anyone else.

I just don't know why they're paying him $400 million for it.

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