Jonathan Wolfman's Blog
MARCH 12, 2012 7:11AM

Timidity & Evil

Rate: 29 Flag
     As with all bullies, the talk-show fellow has no go-to other than self-debasing fulmination when genuinely and consistently challenged, when people come to the moment when they say they will not be bullied any longer and show that they mean it. The man may, as he promises, replace his scores of fleeing sponsors, but he'll never be the same. The new ones will, he knows, scrutinize his words at a depth he has never before been forced to endure. He has been deeply wounded no matter how much money he has shored up because people such as he is do not live for money and the toys it buys. They live for that next-to-delirious sense in their chests and in their stomachs that they they direct, that they're untouchable.
     Even the Second War's S.S., arguably the last century's most feared and routinely destructive bully boys, had no idea what to do when, in numbers of southern French towns, Jewish leaders told them to go to hell when they demanded lists. Where Jewish leaders told Germans to drop dead, upwards of 80% had time to take to the hills and survive; so reports Hannah Arendt in her seminal Eichmann in Jerusalem. The fact that many --not nearly all -- of those Jewish leaders sacrificed themselves is besides the point; they stood up, Nazis stood  down.
     While the on-air misogynist is no Nazi, bullies such as he is, bullies such as those who ran in wild, madding packs to join the S.S., those who now in cowardice flee contemporary culture to join the kinds of hate groups I discussed here Friday...they are all fundamentally weak people.
             What success they have relies on your timidity.
Front Cover   If you read no other book on the nature of Evil, read this one, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on The Banality of Evil, by Hannah Arendt.

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A lesson from last week is that the attacks by the Right on women can be blunted if not ended.
I'm betting these snarling curs will be swept off the board come November.
It's the end of the hot Rush of foul wind! Really.
Reading some political sh-t this am.
made me angrier, if that is possible....
Sheila's possible... ... ... ps: we're gonna WIN.
You are right on point. Your few words speak volumes.
Our biggest enemy is cynicism, that belief that "nothing I can do will make any difference."

What bothers me is that it took so long for people to begin standing up against these loudmouthed bullies, who feel that they are the truth... The reality is that they are ignorant losers, who shout down everyone who they disagree with...
Yes, Rush must go. The question is how long will he hold his ground?
Good post/Rated.
Buddy he'll hang on but won't be comfy.
Ray sure tho at least it has finally happened.
Lezlie perhaps Ms Fluke has dented thst some. :)
When you have the majority of the republican politicians coming by to kiss your ring, a lot like the Pope by the way, it will give you a very big head to go along with your very big mouth. These jerks begin to think having manners and acting civilized doesn't apply to them. It never fails, sooner or later they always step in it!
I think the difference in this case is that, for once, The Big Fat Idiot Who Must Not Be Named attacked a common, sympathetic woman instead of a politician or celebrity. A woman with enough courage to stand up and protest, clearly and unequivocally. And with the great luck to drag the spotlight away from the Elephant in the Room.

Most of the time, Big Fat attacked public figures, people who were compromised, people who had a good life because of their fame or wealth or public power. He felt like the voice of the people who envy and hate people for their power. He seemed to give vent to that dirty little part of all of us, the part that reads supermarket tabloids and sneers, "Good, the bitch/bastard deserves it." And Big Fat led all those people down the primrose path to cruel, right-wing thinking.

Every once in a while, someone like Big Fat comes along and touches that dark part of our souls, and controls a lot of us. If we're lucky, someone has the courage, the intelligence, and the lucky timing to point out that Big Fat not only has no clothes, but doesn't look good naked at all.
Scanner so right....and Good!
Jon...this is so true. What Rush said is inexcusable and I am sure he will lose some of his audience. On the other hand his "ditto heads" don't have minds of their own. I mean think of it: "Ditto Rush!" I think that talk radio engenders a lot of these so called pundits to rave in a safe place. Not sure if they would do it in front of a live audience. And then they have the audacity to make millions selling books to their believers. And along came Glenn. No doubt building his own church.
Ande theirs is a special religious insanity, yes.
Excellent! Now who is going to stand up to those big fat bullies that are chasing public protestors with pepper spray and shooting tear gas missiles at peaceful people standing by and avoiding jail sentences for totally screwing up the economy with open scamming of mortgages?
Timidity is a trait to be avoided.
Mary yes; restraint is often useful; timidity isn't.
I think we need to go for more than "blunting" the crap that's out there. What do you think has been going on all these years and look where it has gotten us. When one side agrees to compromise on stuff they don't like, "Oh, it's just a tiny step and it gets them to hush up for a while," and eventually we get to here.

The other side fights to the death before compromising. They are running the show right now. We all know that bullies will find a new leader. Why don't we give them one of ours?
Phyllis yes. (And I'm available for a radio show.)
If advertisers keep dropping them they will go one by one.
So, Jonathan, what are you doing to get a show? You can set up a website and broadcast from it, to get started. Or YouTube. Or iTunes. Or...
P.S. Just went to your suggested pages. Is the third one spelled correctly?
"Timidity" can cut both ways: the Maddow blog had some good news this morning, reporting that major advertisers were so burned (hooray for us!) by the Limbaugh/Flukes controversy that their withdrawal is getting broader. Major advertisers are prophylacticly pulling back from other flamethrowers, for fear of the next consumer backlash.
A quote in the story ( says: "Rush Limbugh made the right-wing talk-show industry; he might just break it."

I, for one, am not that concerned that some highly opinionated left-wing talking heads (though I cannot think of as many, or any as offensive as Limbaugh/Beck) might suffer some advertising losses, too, if the overall effect is to make America's civil discourse less belligerent.
Karen thank you for this! (pal talk news network)
"The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil."
The Life of the Mind (1978), "Thinking"...

Herd mentality, to put it in Nietzschian terms.
Now HE would have made an interesting talk show host.
The man whom you allude to in this piece
is mortally wounded, you are right.
For just the reasons you say.
Gonna be scrutinized now on...
Gone will be that
"next-to-delirious sense in their chests and in their stomachs that they they direct, that they're untouchable."
Sp0nsors go where the money is. Rush is desperate for ratings. Beck has moved to Texas and is now re-inventing himself. What this tells me is that both of them are aware of their unpopularity and I'm thankful that social media expedites this outting process.
B. Yes. The internet's social sites do some good. :)
Absolutely right, Rush is in denial about what that exit of sponsorship means to his belief that he speaks and the world listens. You are right though, he is not a Nazi, he is an American Fascist. I have long wondered how many kids had their lives ruined over a couple of joints or a handful of purloined pills thanks to some conservative judge who decided that Rush was right about jailing user for long stretches with no early release when he himself was caught with thousands of illegally obtained Oxycontin tablets and was an addict as well he went to rehab instead. He walked from that one without having to give a dime or any time while others doing his will locked up and destroyed young people lives for lesser crimes.
Bobot and as odd as this may sound, I ws pleased when ACLU filed a brief for him in his case. That he was a junkie is beyond dispute, however, and I am glad the chair's being pulled out from under his bum.
Not strange at all, he didn't deserve it anymore than the people that his mouth sent to prison did.
Balt I would never advocate government censorship of the man. I do think it's legit for advertisers to pull out as a business decision.
I am not as confident as you, Jon, but I think the pendulum has swung about as far right as it can go and is ready to reverse its trajectory. Civil discourse will not make the headlines that hate speech has, so we will have to become content with less dramatic media. The courage to stand up and to refute the swill presented is essential to moving towards a more productive dialogue.
beauty I very much hope you're correct.
The big question becomes, why are so many so so timid?Why are some courageous? I have no doubt that standing up to bullies is the only way but for some reason they rarely get stood up to.
Fernsy far too many, yes. Yet a few brave people can get justice for many...tho greater justice would ensue, and faster, if more stood up.
It usually reaches a tipping point. Hopefully this was it. Glen Beck had it before him. Bill O' Reilly may be next.
Lea Let Us Pray. Or Prey.
May we all take a lesson from this, or at least take advantage of the opportunity to repopulate the rhetoric with facts instead of angels and demons. You can't stop others from being what Limbaugh is and you may never be able to elevate the perceptions of those whom he (and those of any stripe who employ those tactics) may attract. What can be done, while not so viscerally gratifying, is to move the discussion into the realm of fact.

Persistently applying standards of logic to Ad Hominem attacks and other specious forms of argument, before giving them substance by responding in kind, takes discipline and will admittedly be lost on those who have no basis for sound critical thought, but what's the alternative? My “Rush” is more of an asshole than your Rush?

Bullies and demigods who depend on those tactics rarely have facts at hand when confronted in that manner and if they do (or just make them up) then the debate has to be elevated to someplace where at least there can be an assessment of who's facts hold up. The alternative is what we've tried so far. To steal a catch-phrase, “Hows that working for us?”...

Rated. (A good quick resource to skin the specious cat: )
Sam thanks, and for the link!
I will never understand why some folks give any shred of credibility to charlatans on the airwaves. Of course Rush is not the first of these but he is one of the longest lived and foulest of his ilk. In my formative years I loved to roam the radio waves late at night and I recall hearing some crazy stuff, such as a show, Life Line, sponsored by H.L. Hunt and his company HLH products. This was a right wing hate show, mostly rabidly anti-communist, which heavily plugged the John Birch Society. Even at my tender age it was more than obvious that this show was a load of BS and I still can't understand why many others, then and now, can't or don't see it.
I'm optimistic only for the fact that as a few brave souls speak out, it seems more of the timid are becoming angry enough to join them. They may be quiet, but sheer numbers add volume - and votes.
Dicky we live in a nation where you can sell Autographed Photographs of Jesus and make a mint.
When I was a young teen, I used to babysit a couple of little boys whose parents had this really mean agerman Shepherd. This dog was intended to protect family, but of course, he didn't recognize me as a member of the family. They would have to blockade him in the kitchen at first whenever I came over, but this led to problems whenever the boys wanted a drink or snack. The dog scared me, but I had to learn to stand up to him. When I did, he accepted me and didn't try to bite me. I guess what I'm saying is Rush is like that dog, you hveto stand up to him.
That was too funny, Jon. But how true. ;)
cc of course that dog did provide a theoretical public service... ... ... :)
The Right Wing has gone WAY too far. They're not being banal, like George Bush was. When he blathered about " compassionate conservatism." They're tipping their hands and exposing themselves for what they really are. So...I hope they keep it up; it makes it so much easier to get out the vote, and so much harder for people tob say "Oh, there's really no difference between the candidates" as they did so disastrously in 2000. when people realize what they truly stand to lose through horrible policies, they vote to protect them.

Shiral YES. We must use this against them in November.
Thanks, Mr. Wolfman. There is one point in my earlier post that I think I should clarify. That the young lady managed to get such a response is largely due to luck. That is, to uncontrollable factors like timing, precise verbiage, a slow news day and maybe the stars of the zodiac moving into the "kill position."

The Fat One (and I don't mean Joey Fat One of the Backstreet Boys) has had predecessors in the media. Some people might think of Father Coughlin, but his logical descendant was Pat Robertson. I'm thinking of Walter Winchell, who used his voice and celebrity to hurt a lot of innocent people (like Josephine Baker) and boost the reputations of gangsters and criminals.

He didn't suffer a quick, dramatic turn of fortune and loss of fame. He didn't have anyone accuse him of misogyny or sexual impropriety or other crimes, and rapidly turn the nation against him. He just faded away. The Fat One is largely disliked in most American communities in which people wear shoes and sometimes socks, but he kept gathering wealth, fame power until this unlikely incident somehow changed everything.

For this charge to have suddenly undermined the Limbaugh empire is either a once-in-a-lifetime turn of fate, or it's a proof of God's intervention in human affairs that (given the circumstances) the Catholic Church will never accept or sanction.
A couple of things:

I agree with Rw but I've made this case on OS before. It is a mistake to write off large swaths of the population without a serious effort to make our case in language that relates to their concerns rather than ours.

I'm not at all sure that Bill O'Reilly is next because O'Reilly isn't quite as nuts as Rush. Rush has been in the hard-core vilification business for years; he attempted for no good reason to turn Hillary Clinton's name into an expletive. Think about it: Unlike her husband, she didn't cheat; unlike her husband, she didn't draft-dodge; she stood by her man; she gave up her career for a time to raise a daughter. What exactly in this recipe should have been so repulsive to conservatives? That's more of a Limbaugh thing than an O'Reilly thing - for Limbaugh, it's just visceral hatred.

I'm so glad advertisers are deserting him. It's more than about time. If I were in that business, I'd be embarrassed to have "Dittoheads" because I wouldn't want my listeners characterized as unthinking sheep. And yet, he's happy with that. That tells us enough.
A Parable:

Roller-Derby died for lack of TV viewers.

They could no longer afford the antacids the games advertized as balms to their stomachs, shredded apart by the avalanches of junk food they also advertised and which fans dutifully consumed.
Thank you, Jonathan! I couldn't agree more! This book looks really intriguing. I am putting it on my list!
"....sell autographed pictures of Jesus and make a mint."

(coffee expelled through nose)
It scares me to look at my fb feed and see so many people posting about how they can't wait till the election so that their party can make everything right again. Have they forgotten 2000-2008? Do these woman no longer want control over their wombs? WTF? Since when does a vitriolic windbag like Rush speak for humanity? Shit, when does Mitt or Rick speak for humanity?
So true! Love that last sentence. Their success is based on our timidity. How true that rings. The more people are willing to stand up for others (and themselves) the smaller those bullies become.