Sunday, May 12, 2013

Army of One

I started listening to Rush Limbaugh in the early nineties, about 1992.  A friend, Steve Tichenor, happened to drop by my apartment out of the blue.  As we sat in the living-room chatting, he asked me if I had heard Rush Limbaugh.  Steven knew I was a conservative and thought I'd be interested in Rush.  I had in fact heard him briefly a couple of times, but apparently hadn't given him much of a chance.  At the time I had been listening regularly to Point of View with Marlon Maddox.  After Steve's visit, I decided to give Rush more airtime in my house.

It didn't take long for me to become an avid fan.  Rush Limbaugh was the one conservative voice amid the vast liberal wasteland.  News mainstream media then, like today is biased left.   It was great knowing there was someone out there ....

 At the time I was working in a very liberal environment at Western Kentucky University.  It was a great environment with wonderful people working there.  I often took a small radio with me to listen to Rush's show while I pulled together departmental brochures.  I'd sit there behind a Mac producing print material for women's studies and multicultural awareness.  I'd listen to my liberal friends comment how 'Rush was Reich", that Rush was a 'fascist' or 'just an entertainer'.  Eventually I was told that I couldn't listen to Rush anymore.  I was told that NPR was the only station allowed in our department.  I started bringing earphones to work.

Back in 2009, an biography was written by Zev Chafets called Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One.  It's a book I know was out there but had never  got around to read it.  Gina gave it to me as a Christmas present, but I only got around to reading it this past week.  I read Rush's books The Way Things Ought To Be and See, I Told You So years ago.  Even though those books were published a long time ago, I thought I knew about as much as there was to know about him.

Zev Chafets doesn't agree with everything Rush believes and says, but Chafets writes as a Rush listener and someone who has gone to great lengths to know his subject.  I enjoyed this book more so than Rush's previous books because Rush is exposed warts and all.   Chafets doesn't have a political ax to grind.  It's apparent that he didn't set out to do a hatchet job on Rush, nor did he set out to gloss over Rush's faults.

I've been listening to Limbaugh for over twenty years.  I felt as if I knew the man after listening to him for countless hours.  I had some questions, but for the most part, like most of Rush's long time listeners, I felt I knew this guy.  There were parts of this book that I trudged through, not because of the author, but because I knew a lot of this stuff.  What is great about this book is that it offers the back-story to what we the listener do know.  I found myself saying "I remember that - I remember when he said that - I remember when that happened".  I would then learn something about those instances that I didn't know.
 This is the back-story that I doubt if Rush would've included in an autobiography.  I know if I were authoring an autobiography, I would have a tendency not to write about the flaws.  Flaws or not, Rush Limbaugh is an incredible individual.

I don't walk away from reading Rush Limbaugh, An Army of One any greater or lesser a fan.  I walk way with more of an understanding of him as a person, and a greater appreciation of the impact he's made in the political arena.  
Zev Chafets is the idea biographer for Limbaugh.  I hope he continues to write about Rush in years to come.  This book left off in 2009.  I'd like to see Chafets continue with Rush's story, because Rush is still making an impact.

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