23 August 2013

Untitled Rush Limbaugh Rant #2

Didn't I just write about Rush Limbaugh? Well he's been ragging on the same exact topic the whole week and it feels like time wasted. He's talking about "Millennials," also known as the "ME ME ME!!!" generation or the worst generation ever, whom TIME calls "lazy, entitled narcissists."

Limbaugh brings up how they should not lose faith in the country but instead lose faith in the Democrat Party, seemingly ignoring the fact that politicians don't elect themselves, instead it is the people who put them in power (theoretically). The Democrat Party would not have any power if the people stood up to them.

And just what is a country? That is a difficult question to answer. While there is no ambiguity as to what the term "sovereign state" refers, and relatively little ambiguity as to what the term "nation" refers, a "country" is a bit of a head scratcher that occupies the grey area between the two. The United States is the state and "We the people" are the nation (discounting racist supremacist groups like La Raza and the Nation of Islam, as well as legitimate "sovereign" nations such as the Navajo, Blackfeet, and others), but as to what entity is the country is dependent upon who is speaking. Just for the sake of this article I will give a nod to the Greek idea of a polis and show preference for "country" and "nation" being largely synonymous.

If the country is the people of the United States then absolutely the country (in all its laziness or selfishness or whatever reason) is to blame for putting the people in power who have led to the destruction of the US economy and way of life. People get what they vote for, or don't vote for in the case of the millions who decided to stay home, permitting Zero from taking office a second time. America was not conquered by an outside force, it was taken over from within.

But that's not what I wanted to write about.

"I have it hear, folks, right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers.  This is an article from NPR.  And I would think a lot of Millennials listen to NPR."

Interesting side note: I first heard of NPR during my time behind enemy lines, getting expensive wallpaper at university. I was in an African history class (very disappointing, it was pretty much a sub-Saharan African colonial history class and didn't focus on the thousands of years of history that took place before the arrival of Europeans in the southern two thirds of the continent), and the professor mentioned how he was listening to NPR in his car on the way to class. Having never heard that word before I looked it up on the Internet later that day and discovered it was an unsuccessful radio news agency.

Rush continues "In fact, when I was in my twenties, nobody was even willing to take you seriously until you were 40.  You hadn't lived long enough to know enough to be trusted with enough when I grew up."

He spends maybe 15 minutes every day this week glorifying that disgustingly backward practice because it is familiar to him and therefor comfortable. For most of history societies were set up so people were ready for adulthood when they actually became adults, somewhere around age 15. Every social institution prepared people for the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood at the age when nature dictated, and people were expected to act like adults when nature dropped the bomb and said "you're an adult now, deal with it."

Then around the time when the Romantics came along and ruined absolutely everything, this thing called "adolescence" was invented where people who are adults are treated like children and made to endure many years of mandatory, mostly useless schooling (indoctrination). Now, I'm not suggesting the Romantics are directly responsible, but I've never let them off the hook for anything so I will implicate them in this fiasco as well (since it is familiar to me and therefor comfortable). Since then the age at which one becomes an adult in the eyes of society has run away from the age at which biology dictates, until now when someone age 26 is considered a "child" and can be covered under one's parent's health care.

I contend – and this is so important I think it warrants its own paragraph – that the invention of adolescence is responsible for the problems of the modern world. The longer you tell people they are children, the longer you treat people like children, the longer their minds will remain immature, hence the lazy, entitled narcissism of today's adults.

Remember, Alexander the Great conquered Persia at age 25 and became Lord of Asia before age 30, Jesus completed his entire ministry and was crucified before he was 40, and Ben Franklin retired at age 41 having made the equivalent of $3 billion in today's money. Steve Jobs started Apple at age 21, left fantastically wealthy in 1985 at age 30, before returning in 1996. Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft at about the same age Jobs started Apple and both were fantastically wealthy before Rush's magic age of 40.

And by this point I am approaching 1000 words and I have not even gotten to my main point (or out of the first paragraph of the story linked at the top of this page). If you have stuck with me this far, my valued couple of readers, you have my thanks.

Rush continues "My generation, we were inspired. We were pushed.... I couldn't wait to get out of home. I wanted my own apartment. I wanted my own car. I wanted all that."

"You know, when I was growing up, all the things I was told about America and about myself, hard work, prosperity, success, whatever that meant to people.  For some people it means material things.  Other people it means being the best at what they do.  You know, everybody defines happiness a different way.  But whatever it was, it was a given that it was possible.  It was up to you to get there.  Today, they're not being told that it's possible.  They're being taught that it isn't."

That's very good, having inspiration, drive, and a society which encourages (and expects) it. And I agree that the current generation is not being inspired by the power elite. Academia, the media, the whole establishment, are telling young people to keep their heads down, that success is bad, that achievement is impossible, that America will never be great again. This is all true.

I also want to point out here that Rush is saying that different people can define success in different ways, and that as long as they work toward achieving their own standards of success that it is all good. This is important because in a minute Rush will go in the opposite direction and say that success is all about how much stuff you can accumulate before you die (conspicuous consumption).

Rush begins to read from the NPR article (which I will write about in my next piece). He weaves a yarn about a 27 year old man named Zach Brown who lives in LA:

"Brown is friends with Rosenthal," somebody mentioned earlier in the piece, "who finds herself spending her spare cash less on things and more on experiences. 'I love going to the movies and I like going to concerts a lot,' she says, 'and I like listening to music. I use Spotify and I listen to Pandora and things like that, but as far as purchasing those things I don't typically do it.'" Because that's been stigmatized, 'cause it's material, it's right out of the communist manifesto. It's stigmatized. It's filthy. It's selfish. It's destroying the earth to own things.  If I buy a car I have to buy gasoline. It means I'm a polluter.  These people are being told they are virtuous living lives of literal averageness and no remarkability about them, no risk-taking, no fun.  There's virtue in all this.  It's just 180 degrees out of phase.

Now, here's the final line in the piece at NPR.  "The simple pleasures and the bare necessities. Perhaps Millennials are on to something."

"Living lives of no fun." Yes, "I love going to movies and concerts" really sounds like the words of someone who is not having one tiny iota of fun. No risk taking, no remarkability? It is impossible to draw those conclusions from that quote, or from the article for that matter. I won't go into too much detail because it will be the subject of the next post and I don't want this one to get too long and confusing, jumping all over the place, what the article actually says (versus Rush's straw man version) is that, instead of accepting the cultural stories that are "a given" as Rush says, Millennials actually think "what do I want for me instead of what society tells me I should want?" Consumption is no longer a knee-jerk reaction, Millennials are actually thinking whether they need something to be happy before shelling out their hard to come by money to fill their homes (or parents' homes) with useless crap.

Well, I'm sorry, folks, that's how they live. Those kinds of low expectations are why around the world so many people are trying to get here.... They're being told that there's virtue in not distinguishing themselves. There's virtue in not accomplishing anything. There's no stigma attached to that.  Achievement, success, those things are not fair because not everybody is.  In LA a grown man doesn't want to have a car.  Do you think that has any roots in traditional America?  A grown man.  In New York, it's another thing.  A grown man, 27 years old, in LA, an actor, what's he gonna pick up on his bicycle?  A makeup artist? 

What's wrong with an actor picking up a makeup artist? "This guy ain't gonna pick up chicks with a bike!" Says the man who rushed into three marriages that failed because he was more interested in spending his spare time after work staying home tinkering with ham radios and watching football on TV than spending time with his wives going out to shows or hiking or other activities that involved the outdoors and other people. Not the kind of guy to get dating tips from.

A grown man, not only does he not want a car, he thinks there's virtue in not wanting one and not having one.  "That's right, Mr. Limbaugh, that's the way we all should be thinking now.  This is how we will save the planet from global warming and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."  And this is how these New Castrati little sissies think.  Well, I don't know, folks.  All I know is that this kind of stuff is not what built a great country.  A 27-year-old kid who doesn't want a car, we're not talking about John Wayne there.  We're not talking Hercules.  Who are we talking about?

"A grown man who not only does not want a car but thinks it is a virtue not wanting a car." Nowhere in the article does it say Zach Brown does not want a car, and nowhere does it say he thinks people who want cars are reprobates. Rush is just making shit up here. If you read the article, instead of imagining naked ladies, you'll see it talks about being optimistic even if the economy has been destroyed and you can't find a job that pays enough to buy a fleet of black Maybachs, or a giant mansion that you only use four rooms of, or an acre of mahogany wood paneling in your library, or a private jet with your brand logo on the tail. Millennials don't think owning stuff is evil, they think, according to the article, that times are tough but we'll get through it and we should look toward the positive aspects of life instead of dwelling on the negative.

He goes on to imply that a grown man who does not want a car (nowhere does it say in the article that Zach doesn't want a car) is a homosexual and a weakling. I don't think I've been this turned off by listening to Rush Limbaugh since he praised the AIG executives for running the company into the ground and taking their golden parachutes.

What happened to "everybody defines happiness a different way"? All of a sudden everyone who uses a different definition from Rush Limbaugh is a deviant, a dirtbag, a loser. Everyone who does not want to buy things they cannot afford is crazy. You know what is 180 degrees out of phase? It's not Millennials not wanting to buy cars, it's Rush Limbaugh saying one thing and then five minutes later saying the exact opposite thing all the while blowing over a strawman argument and acting like anyone who is different from an insecure introverted techie radio show host is a fruitcake failure.

My mother, who's getting up there in years, told me "what matters in life isn't a bunch of stuff on a shelf collecting dust, it's people." She's absolutely right, and I take the time to remind myself that every day. If Zach is focusing on enjoying the little time he has on this Earth with his friends instead of buying a car and driving around thinking about being Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate banging some chick and her mother, then Zach definitely has his head on straighter than the average person and his heart is certainly pointing in the right direction.

Toward the end of his monologue Rush makes a cursory promise "I'm not gonna keep on with this Millennial stuff." I sure hope so, because it's annoying the hell out of me.

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