On The Radar

It's Berlin 1945 for talk radio.

By Steven Wells
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 23, 2008

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Illustration by Hawk Krall

It's like the last days in Hitler's bunker on talk radio, with not one but dozens of strutting, preening, insanely arrogant egomaniacs frothing at the mouth, barking out orders to nonexistent armies and screaming to anybody who'll listen that they were absolutely right all along, and it's the rest of the world that's gone totally fucking insane.

The list of things right-wing talk radio has actually been absolutely wrong about is staggering. Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda, how tax breaks for the rich were going to save the economy, why gay marriage is the first step toward people being allowed to marry their dogs, how women's liberation has destroyed society and so on.

But now, with the economy tanking, the GOP imploding, Iraq handed to Iran on a platter, a gazillion-dollar deficit and the rest of the world firmly convinced we're a bunch of inbred Garden-of-Eden-believing gun-nuts led by a monkey in a cowboy hat, talk radio offers no apologies. It just rants harder.

My favorite frother is Mark Levin, recently arrived at WNTP 990-AM, where he actually pretends to broadcast from a secret underground "bunker" (his word). Levin has the on-air personality of a very small and very bad tempered Yorkshire terrier. He doesn't rant--he yaps.

On the shows I've heard, he played schmaltzy patriotic standards, claimed Barack Obama is a Marxist, referred to Hillary Clinton as "her thighness" and asked a female caller for her measurements. His basic philosophy seems to be that Americans live in the best of all possible Americas, and anybody who suggests any way it can be improved is a crazy Marxist lunatic.

Oh, and that, "we are fighting an unarmed civil war in this country ... and the left is winning."

Levin's standard rhetorical device is to sedate the listener with a long droning babble packed with wonderfully archaic buzz phrases ("doofus dingleberries" and "Marxist front groups" are my faves) and then suddenly and shockingly burst into hysterical high-pitched hate-yapping.

I love Mark Levin. Of course I do. It fills my commie Eurosnob heart with joy to have all my worst expectations of cartoonishly moronic American right-wing assholery met so emphatically.

And while I'm not saying Levin and his fellow spittle-spraying right-wing nutjobs are U.S.-hating Manchurian candidates--Kremlin moles working for America's deadliest enemies--the question has to be asked: Could they possibly do a better job of making Americans look like life-loathing, equality-hating, gun-fetishizing, quasi-fascist religious fanatics in the eyes of the rest of the world if they were?

When the Antichrist comes, he'll come wrapped in the flag.

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