I recall that, at a board meeting years ago, SOCCCD trustee Nancy Padberg (of San Clemente, that old hotbed of Bircherism) proudly noted her membership in the Rush Limbaugh Club.
Wow. Limbaugh is an idiot. But his particular variety of idiocy is anti-intellectual. He's the sort of "conservative" who was never educated—he dropped out of college in favor of a radio career—and who has come to believe, as have so many before him, that academia comprises clever but conniving elitists who make it their business to contemn the hardworking, commonsensical little guy.
That mindset is a variety of conspiracy thinking, a paranoid thing.
Ever read Richard J. Hofstadter? Two of his classics are The Paranoid Style in American Politics (1964) and Anti-intellectualism in American Life (1963).
Those books are indeed classics, endlessly cited and referred to. —But only by intellectuals, natch.
American politics has often been an arena for angry minds. In recent years, we have seen angry minds at work, mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated ... how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority. But, behind this, I believe, there is a style of mind that is far from new, and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style, simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind. (PSAP)
The case against intellect [in the puritanical American tradition] is founded upon a set of fictional and wholly abstract antagonisms. Intellect is pitted against feeling, on the ground that it is somehow inconsistent with warm emotion. It is pitted against character, because it is widely believed that intellect stands for mere cleverness, which transmutes easily into the sly or diabolical. It is pitted against practicality, since theory is held to be opposed to practice, and the "purely" theoretical mind is so much disesteemed. It is pitted against democracy, since intellect is felt to be a form of distinction that defies egalitarianism. Once the validity of these antagonisms is accepted, then the case for intellect, and by extension for the intellectual, is lost. Who cares to risk sacrificing the warmth of emotion, solidity of character, practical capacity, or democratic sentiment in order to pay deference to a type of man who at best is deemed to be merely clever and at worst may even be dangerous? (AIAL)Rush is very much a part of the paranoid and anti-intellectualist traditions in this country. He sees conspiracies. He demonizes "liberals." He relies on Straw Men. He occasionally appeals, fat-headedly, to the Bible. He takes hillbilly drugs and hums hillbilly tunes. He enjoys football.
Most of all, like his predecessors, he eschews (because he despises) reason. He relies on fear and fallacy. He is a classic demagogue.
So Nancy Padberg loves the anti-intellectualist barbarian Rush. As it turns out, she was even the President of the local Rush Club, so enamored is she of the fellow. But she's on the board of trustees of a college district! College: the traditional home of the "pointed-headed intellectual."
To the uninitiated, learning about "college trustee" Nancy's love of Rush is like discovering that the Prez of the American Philosophical Association is also a member of the Orange County Paranormal Society. It's like finding out that the head of the Philharmonic Society is a freakin' Dead Head.
Yeah, but this is Orange County.
I've never bothered to look into the RLCOC (pronounced “rilcok”)—not sure why. But, today, I somehow came across the club’s website. It's a mess. Much of it is literally unreadable, owing to inappropriate font colors, etc. It piles element upon element without rhyme or reason. It has never met a photograph (of one of its geezers) that it didn't like.
How fitting. Must be run, and consumed, by oldsters who don't know about the interweb and such. (My folks seem to think the internet is an actual place, maybe in Irvine. They fear it and its dark tentacles that (they imagine) seek the unsuspecting dollars of the elderly.)
Looks like our Nancy is no longer a club officer. The RLCOC website proudly displays a photo of the “Rush Limbaugh Club OC 2011 Officers”:
|That's Nancy at left; that's Floyd the barber at right|
The website is all that you might expect it to be. It provides a link to a hilariously paranoid video from Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network:
“WAKE UP AMERICA! Watch this scary video”:
For fun, you might explore the site. Here are some of the titles (etc.) that can be found on its motley and headache-inducing pages:
|From the RLCOC website|
• Obama Dispatches Union Thugs to Intimidate American Citizens
• Rush Limbaugh At CPAC: Doubles Down On Wanting Obama To Fail
• MAXINE WATERS (CA-D) ADMITS LIBERALS = SOCIALISTS!
• Obama Civility Flashback: He laughs at Wands Sykes Jokes: It's not hatred and vitriol when it comes from the left
• Bill Clinton fakes crying at Ron Brown's funeral [Gosh, didn’t Brown die fifteen years ago?]
• [Darrel] Issa: O'bama's [sic] Among 'Most Corrupt Administrations' [Issa? Now that’s rich!]
• America's Ruling Class – and the Perils of Revolution
• Barack H. Obama IS NOT A NATURAL BORN CITIZEN
• Obama Removes Jesus from Easter Message
• America Hangs by a Thread
• "Chickification" of U.S. military is "turning people soft"; there's "no room for that on the battlefield."
• Bringing An End To This False Prophet Obama!