After the news of Rush Limbaugh’s death broke Wednesday, there was an immediate challenge for those who loathed the man: how to respond to his death at age 70. Many simply celebrated, which is … paradoxically, very much in the spirit of the man. I can’t celebrate anyone’s passing. Death is too central to the human condition. It casts too great a pall of grief over too many people beyond the deceased. The part of this I got involved in is noting that Limbaugh was a very talented broadcaster. He was also funny, though often in cruel and malevolent ways. Maybe not funny to you. But funny. Besides catching clips of his latest outrage from TPM or Media Matters I hadn’t listened to Rush in decades. But during his early years I listened a lot. I also watched his short lived TV show. Basically a failure. A face for radio. He was uniquely talented in his medium. This isn’t praise. These are facts. And they’re worth repeating because while they are certainly not the most important things about Limbaugh’s role in American public life you can’t really understand that role without recognizing these parts of it.
I raise these facts because they have an import beyond Limbaugh.