Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Martian Climate Truthers

It is very easy to hit the point of diminishing returns with Rush Limbaugh, particularly with the drip-drip-drip pace of a blog. I think there is value in the exhaustive Franken's Big Fat Idiot approach. If you're going to attack a despicable figure, there is something to be said for not stopping until you've left no stone upon stone and salted the ground so that nothing there will grow again.

Playing outrage of the week with someone like Limbaugh quickly degenerates into morbid repetition that ceases to inform and may perversely end up increasing the relevance and respectability of the subject. If you're going to quote Limbaugh, you need a better reason than simple offensiveness.

That said, it is worth checking in from time to time. Lots of people regularly listen to these shows. Not all of audience is in full agreement, but these rants are striking some kind of chord and some of them are definitely worth analyzing.

Take, for instance, the following passage noted by John Holbo at Crooked Timber.

Pay close attention to the underlying attitudes, the paranoia, the conspiracy mindset, the resentment and distrust of the scientific establishment.  A substantial part of the conservative coalition feels this way, probably not a majority, but a large enough block to have an effective veto in the Republican primaries.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: There’s so much fraud. Snerdly came in today ‘what’s this NASA news, this NASA news is all exciting.’ I said yeah they found flowing water up there. ‘No kidding! Wow! Wow!’ Snerdly said ‘flowing water!?’ I said ‘why does that excited you? What, are you going there next week? What’s the big deal about flowing water on Mars?’ ‘I don’t know man but it’s just it’s just wow!’ I said ‘you know what, when they start selling iPhones on Mars, that’s when it’ll matter to me.’ I said ‘what do you think they’re gonna do with this news?’ I said ‘look at the temperature data, that has been reported by NASA, has been made up, it’s fraudulent for however many years, there isn’t any warming, there hasn’t been for 18.5 years. And yet, they’re lying about it. They’re just making up the amount of ice in the North and South Poles, they’re making up the temperatures, they’re lying and making up false charts and so forth. So what’s to stop them from making up something that happened on Mars that will help advance their left-wing agenda on this planet?’ And Snerdly paused ‘oh oh yeah you’re right.’ You know, when I play golf with excellent golfers, I ask them ‘does it ever get boring playing well? Does it ever get boring hitting shot after shot where you want to hit it?’ And they all look at me and smile and say ‘never.’ Well folks, it never gets boring being right either. Like I am. But it doesn’t mean it is any less frustrating. Being right and being alone is a challenging existence. OK so there’s flowing water on Mars. Yip yip yip yahoo. You know me, I’m science 101, big time guy, tech advance it, you know it, I’m all in. But, NASA has been corrupted by the current regime. I want to find out what they’re going to tell us. OK, flowing water on Mars. If we’re even to believe that, what are they going to tell us that means? That’s what I’m going to wait for. Because I guarantee, let’s just wait and see, this is September 28, let’s just wait and see. Don’t know how long it’s going to take, but this news that there is flowing water on Mars is somehow going to find its way into a technique to advance the leftist agenda. I don’t know what it is, I would assume it would be something to do with global warming and you can—maybe there was once an advanced civilization. If they say they found flowing water, next they’re going to find a graveyard.

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