Starving them isn’t working.

So, it must have been a million years ago, when I was fooling around with talk radio in Fort Wayne, an action-packed chapter of my life I already bored you with, when the wife of the station owner told me that she’d recently scored a new show that was going to be big. I should check it out, she said.

“His name is Rush Limbaugh,” she said. “He’s on his way up.”

She was certainly right about that, and as WGL was among the very first stations in the country to buy his show, I had the luxury of getting to know the host and his show before anyone had noticed or written about him. And I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I listened to him for 10 minutes and told someone, “This is a fat guy who cannot score with chicks.”

I hadn’t seen his picture, I swear. I could just tell. I’m witchy that way.

Anyway, soon he was well-established and very successful, and his various bits were familiar, one of which was the various songs he played to introduce certain “updates,” as he called them. The homeless update, the feminazi update, etc. For Carol Moseley Braun, he played the theme from “The Jeffersons.” Movin’ on up, to the east side, and so on. So I added “racist” to “fat guy who cannot score,” and I’ll stand by that. And while Rush Limbaugh is not the first troll that modern conservatism produced and certainly won’t be the last, he was one of the first I encountered as an adult. Alas, there have been so many more.

There’s an old internet saw that says you shouldn’t feed trolls. It’s certainly my instinct, but lots of people must be throwing them popcorn, because one of the truly horrifying things about the current era is how successful a troll can be. You can say any old stupid-ass thing, call people terrible names, repeat bullshit until you’re blue in the face, and you’ll get…a book contract, a cable-news gig, a sinecure of some sort. Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, Tomi Lahren — it’s a crowded business, but there’s always room, and a paycheck, for one more.

Of course I’m thinking now of Kevin Williamson and his fun hang-the-whores opinions, which finally cost him his new job.

Media, Right and Left Twitter – which is to say, the nucleus of Twitter itself – went a little nuts about it. Many dumb things were said. A few smart things were said. Hysteria was deployed, as was reason. In the end, I’m a walking shrug emoji; if you wanted the bigger paycheck and bigger platform and bigger profile a “mainstream” publication offers, perhaps you should be a little more mainstream, in the sense that you shouldn’t cavalierly call for the execution of a significant percentage of an entire gender, asshole.

Maybe we should stop rewarding trolls. Maybe that’s a good start. Maybe this is a bullshit justification:

Williamson uses colorful and sometimes rash language. He didn’t have to detail the grisly form of punishment he would inflict on women who decide to terminate their pregnancies. He chose to do so because he enjoys provoking a reaction. But The Atlantic knew that about him before it hired him.

Maybe “provoking a reaction” shouldn’t be an end in and of itself. Are we short of reactions these days? Do we really need more? I know, I know — reason and moderation and compromise are BOR-ing! and facts are for the Olds, man, but I’m thinking 30 years of letting trolls bait us into outrage hasn’t been productive. That’s one reason I find the Parkland kids so impressive. They just laugh in the faces of these people, laugh and then organize boycotts. More power to them.

History will not be kind to people like Rush Limbaugh. I suspect he doesn’t give a shit about that down in his Palm Beach mansion, his wife-of-the-moment off doing Pilates somewhere else and crossing big red X’s through dates counting down to key milestones in the pre-nup. But it’s all I have at the moment.


A long read, but worthwhile, on how police and prosecutors built their case against Larry Nassar. Females all around, for the most part. I liked this passage, and forgive me breaking my three-paragraph rule:

Munford started the interview asking what Nassar had changed about treating patients since 2014, when Amanda Thomashow told police and an MSU Title IX investigator that Nassar had sexually assaulted her. The two investigations ended without repercussions, although new protocols were put in place for Nassar when treating patients at MSU.

Nassar said he’d tried to adapt his techniques, then asked his own question.

“Has there been another complaint?” he said. “I’m just, like, confused right now.”

Munford redirected him back to talking about his changes since 2014, hoping to learn if the description of anything he had stopped doing matched what Denhollander experienced 16 years earlier.

When Nassar began making excuses about why he wasn’t following the new protocols, Munford later said, she knew he was being intentionally inappropriate with patients.

“I lecture on this,” Nassar told her. “That’s the thing that’s frustrating. It’s so, you know, the sacrotuberous ligament, it runs from the pubic symphysis, the falciform process, it runs, it’s like the pelvic floor.”

“OK,” Munford said.

“People don’t understand this stuff,” Nassar told her. “So you’re really coming in, the way I describe it, you know, even in some of the videos is, is that if you go towards the labia and go lateral, so you’re going in and apart. And that, there’s muscles that attach to the ligament. And so as you’re treating that, you can feel the release. And that’s, like, a great teaching thing, too.”

The spiral into technical terms in Munford’s interview illustrated how Nassar evaded prosecution for so long. His medical explanations convinced Meridian Township police not to pursue charges in a 2004 investigation. Medical information also was part of the unsuccessful 2014 case.

He couldn’t explain why he had visible erections while this was going on, however. But “sacrotuberous ligament” — that was enough.

OK, weekend dead ahead. Enjoy yours.

Posted at 9:27 am in Media |

40 responses to “Starving them isn’t working.”

  1. Suzanne said on April 6, 2018 at 9:48 am

    I thought the big story of yesterday was that a reporter on Air Force One asked Trump if he knew about the payoff from his lawyer to Stormy D and he said, “No.”
    His lawyers have got to either be stupid, incompetent, or being paid enough to put up with this crap. It’s all so surreal.

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  2. Beobachter said on April 6, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Dexter @43 from previous post.. re the TV show Counterpart, an aid for us was the very detailed wiki:

    It contains episode recaps, links to articles, etc.

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  3. Jason T. said on April 6, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I have a friend who saw Sacrotuberous Ligament at the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh in 1974. I think he said they opened for Blood, Sweat & Tears.

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  4. Dorothy said on April 6, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Deborah in answer to your question in the previous comments/post, the answer is no. I’m not at liberty to tell where he is. He left in January, returns in August. It’s part and parcel of being in the military, but that doesn’t mean we are happy about it. But he makes us quite proud nonetheless. He really likes what he’s doing but of course misses his wife and baby girl tremendously.

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  5. Deborah said on April 6, 2018 at 11:30 am

    When we lived in St. Louis my husband designed the federal courthouse there in the 90s, he got to know a lot of the federal judges because he was asking them a lot of questions about their spacial needs in their courtrooms. One of the judges was a Limbough, a cousin of Rush. The judge told my husband that the family was embarrassed about Rush, it always came up in conversations. They were from some town south of St. Louis along the Mississipi river, I forget the name of it.

    Dorothy, I hope your son stays safe, that’s got to be hard on everyone.

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  6. beb said on April 6, 2018 at 11:35 am

    The argument for the hiring of Kevin Williamson was that he would challenge the assumptions of their readers. (Same was said about mean of the New York Times’ questionable hires.) No, what would challenger reader’s assumption would be an argument that Women’s freedom and equality BEGINS with the freedom to terminate a pregnancy at will.

    Other ideas to challenger readers is that capitalism causes income inequality and job insecurity. That immigrants are helpful to our economy and the perenial favorite — the rents are too damn high!

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  7. Deborah said on April 6, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Make that spatial not spacial in comment #5 and it’s Limbaugh not Limbough.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 6, 2018 at 11:53 am

    The trolls are in charge. We need some mama goats to come along and knock them into the stream and watch them float away, because the billygoats are just not up to the job.

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on April 6, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Long before the internet, being “controversial” was the cheapest and easiest way to get media attention. You could write a column saying old people are useless and should be ground into dog food, and if you could find a newspaper with editors stupid enough to run it, voila! You were a “controversial columnist.”

    The kicker was “if you could find.” The internet removed that necessity by making everyone their own editor/publisher. Now everyone who has idiotic and offensive opinions, and/or wants attention, can say just about anything.

    The Williamson thing IMO was a misconceived attempt by someone in the “old media” to accommodate themselves to this new paradigm. Apparently the doofus who serves as the Atlantic’s chief editor forgot, or never realized, that there was a reason people who say abortion patients should be hanged got shut out of mainstream media. There’s no “maybe” about his justification being bullshit.

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  10. Mark P said on April 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Suzanne, I thought the big story was that Trump denied even knowing about the ND agreement which means it truly was not completed and is therefore not enforceable. Thus Stormy can talk all she wants about the “president” and her having sex shortly after the birth of his son. Maybe there will even be video.

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  11. Suzanne said on April 6, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Well, yes, Mark P. If he didn’t even know about it, why would his lawyer go to all that trouble to pay out the money and why would they have tried to sue Ms Daniels to keep her quiet for something Trump says he knew nothing about? Makes no sense any way you look at it.

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  12. basset said on April 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Deborah@5, that’s Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I was there for a flood years ago and couldn’t help but check the phone book, quite a few Limbaughs there.

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  13. David C. said on April 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I wish I remember where I read it, maybe Mother Jones, but the article said the cause of many of the RW lip flappers was the demise of local radio. They outlined how many of them got their starts as morning zoo DJs and when that gig went away lip flapping was what was available. Seems plausible to me.

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  14. beb said on April 6, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Mark P, Suzanne and others… In his book, The Making of Donald Trump David Cay Johnson described several instances when Trump was put in the Witness Stand and denied knowing anything about people he had previously boasted about them being best friends. So when Trump denies knowing anything about the affair, the NDA or who paid the $130,000 he’s lying. And he does it so often that lawyer know he’s an unreliable witness which is why he can’t find any capable lawyers to defend him.

    Getting back to Williamson for a moment the thing to remember that the media leans conservative. Hiring conservative bomb-throwers isn’t an aberration, it’s the norm. The biggest scam over the last fifty years is to convince people that the press was somehow liberal.

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  15. Mark P said on April 6, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    beb, I assume that Trump is lying, and that his lawyers had a cow when he said he knew nothing about Stormy and the NDA. All he had to do was keep his mouth shut (hahahahahahaha), but now he has undermined his own case.

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  16. Heather said on April 6, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Oh man, on Twitter the conservative guys were out in droves about the Williamson thing, loftily proclaiming that they welcome “diverse” viewpoints and that’s how they “learn and grow,” etc. I’m guessing if Williamson were a woman advocating that men should be hung if they contribute to an unwanted pregnancy, they wouldn’t have quite the same attitude.

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  17. Suzanne said on April 6, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    As far as Trump going after China with trade, the farmers in my area are selling their soy beans faster than Usain Bolt can run.
    But no, we aren’t in a trade war & Trump knows what he is doing.

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  18. Sherri said on April 6, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    If you are a dipshit interested in penning thin critiques of the #MeToo movement based on supposedly intellectually rigorous standards of guilt, while also publishing drivel about how Democrats should be nicer to you on Twitter, we invite you to apply.

    McSweeney’s. Written before Williamson.

    Apparently, the Atlantic was shocked to discover that Williamson really believed what he said, rather than just being a troll. Personally, I don’t think it makes a difference whether he believes it or not. I care less about what you believe than about what you do.

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  19. Icarus said on April 6, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    did someone say “Cape Girardeau, Missouri?” we drove past it on the way to and from Memphis this week.

    and speaking of trolls…

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  20. susan said on April 6, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Here is something that is truly frightening. This is the headline:
    Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And ‘Media Influencers’ DHS is calling it “Media Monitoring Services.” Uh huh. After you read the article, get on the horn and call all of your Congress people. I will assume the ACLU will jump on this as fast as they can.

    I wonder if Faceberg is involved…it’s right up his a$$.

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  21. alex said on April 6, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    What a timely blast from the past at the first link. It’s got trolls making bullshit arguments in bad faith and the grotesqueness of the last Giuliani marriage. And Nancy’s description of Frank Kovas’ mustard-stained shirt and pilled-up pants has had me laughing out loud all day.

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  22. Deborah said on April 6, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    They just pulled somebody out of the lake near my building. They were frantically doing CPR and I don’t know what all. There were 2 divers and tons of life saving vehicles. I saw them finally load the person into one of the vehicles. This is the second time I’ve seen this from my window. The water must be awfully cold. The vehicle with the person in it is still there.

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  23. Deborah said on April 7, 2018 at 8:21 am

    I can’t find anything in the local news about a drowning so I hope that means the person lived.

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  24. Linda said on April 7, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Wow. Talk about full circle. Your 2007 post had a link to a story on Rudy Giuliani’s then-newest wife. Two days ago, the Post said Judith is filing for divorce, and will likely be fighting over property. Color me shocked.

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  25. Deborah said on April 7, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    I went out twice today, running errands getting ready for a dinner party tonight. It is cold in Chicago, sunny though.

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  26. Dexter said on April 7, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot. (…and he still is, I presume…I avoid that fat fuck studiously.)

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  27. Dexter said on April 7, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Oh, these darn KIDS!

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  28. Bill said on April 7, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    MAGA = Make America
    Great Depression Again!

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  29. Dexter said on April 8, 2018 at 4:00 am

    There’s a spot where I park to walk my doggie. It is an official parking spot accessing a county-owned field. Lately there have been many used condoms and the wrappers on the ground. It is a busy road and I can’t imagine people having sex right there. I suspect it that stupid fad of condom inhaling.

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  30. alex said on April 8, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Speaking of condoms on the ground, here’s an opportunity for a lesson in Chicago architecture. When I lived in East Lakeview, the hookers would take their johns to the parking garages at the bottoms of four-plus-one buildings to consummate their transactions and deposit the detritus.

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  31. Roger H Frost said on April 8, 2018 at 9:44 am

    “The NT is clear that every Christian needs to make the local church a central priority to life, and one of the simplest ways you can do that is to be with the church as often as possible. I hope that you will prayerfully evaluate your practice in light of Scripture and the spiritual needs of you and your family and that you will throw yourself into the life of the church.”

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  32. Deborah said on April 8, 2018 at 11:05 am

    I see a lot of people making a stink about the residence floors of Trump Tower not being sprinklered. In fact it is not unusual at all for buildings built before a certain date not to have sprinklers. It’s very, very expensive to retrofit sprinklers into buildings and it’s also ugly. No one in our building wants sprinklers and we aren’t required to have them (yet). A few years back the Illinois legislature tried to pass a law that all residential high rise buildings had to have them, no matter when they were built, but it didn’t pass. Some say it was just meant as a gig to Chicago because there are few residential high rise buildings in Illinois besides in Chicago. Downstate IL is not fond of Chicago even though most of the state taxes come from here.

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  33. Deborah said on April 8, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Good old crony capitalism, Texas style,–regional-govt–politics/sid-miller-put-doctor-with-revoked-licenses-rural-health-panel/HrhVMVDYxSXl8A7GZo2a7M/amp.html?__twitter_impression=true. Wait until you read that this guy married his 15 year old stepdaughter.

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  34. Suzanne said on April 8, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Roger @ 31: what is that quote from? I like it!

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  35. Jakash said on April 8, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Interesting article @ 30 about Four Plus Ones in Lakeview, Alex, but I didn’t notice a citation for the particular reference in your comment. ; )

    We lived in one for a while when we first came to town, and, though I understand the hatred for them, they are a pretty efficient and affordable option in an area that becomes ever-less-affordable for many. Also, I never noticed any of the said detritus around the parking lot — perhaps we had a more considerate class of hooker in the neighborhood. The worst aspect, IMO, was the seemingly paper-thin walls.

    I think the complaint about parking, while valid, is quaint. These days, the new trend is “Transit-oriented developments,” which get a waiver on parking requirements, in fact “A 100% reduction from residential parking requirements if replaced with alternative transportation options, such as a car sharing station on site, or bike parking.”

    Anyway, say what you will about Four Plus Ones, at least I never lived in a “Dingbat.” ; )

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  36. Deborah said on April 8, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    The night doorman in the building we used to have a unit in occasionally got a clear view of couples having sex on a low wall in front of an adjacent building. He didn’t elaborate if it was always the same couple or if either the man or woman was the same each time. Could have been prostitutes working one of the bars down the street I guess.

    I was coming down with something a few days ago and then I seemed to be OK. We had some people over for dinner last night and today I have a full blown cold and am coughing my head off. I feel bad that I probably spread my germs all over the food those poor people ate. This is the first cold I’ve had in well over a year though. I blame it on the cold spring we’re having.

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  37. Deborah said on April 8, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Our current building used to require that if you wanted a unit you had to purchase a deeded parking spot in the garage as well, for a pretty penny at that. They don’t require that anymore, more and more people wanted units but didn’t want the hassle of having a car. We got rid of our car when we moved here and don’t regret it at all.

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  38. Dexter said on April 8, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Deborah, this is a little off your topic about sprinklers, but I thought of another thing people in big buildings sometimes, rarely I suppose, deal with.
    In 1977 I and my wife attended a lecture in what was then called The Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago off LSD. I happened to be sitting beside a lifelong Chicagoan whose name was John Adams and he like to brag “I live in the last house in Chicago.” He actually did, way south on State Street.
    Anyway, halfway through the talk there was a tremendously loud boom; the room shook a little and old John Adams’s color left his face. “What was THAT”, he said. I didn’t have an idea, no clue. We sat there in that conference room and waited a few minutes…nothing. Old John said “You never know just what is coming next in this city.”
    Anyway, in the hotel lobby, on a Saturday night, nearly all the men were in coat and tie in the lobby, and the ladies were all attired in sharp dresses. Mrs. Dexter and I walked into the lobby and searched for our elevator bank, dressed in jeans and I in my old army jacket, and a guy from our event spotted us and asked , “You are here for the talk…”. We said yeah, and he escorted us to the proper conference room. We stood out like elephants in the room amongst the suits…that dude knew where we were going.

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  39. basset said on April 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    so did you ever find out what the noise was?

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  40. mm said on April 10, 2018 at 10:02 am

    re: Rush Limbaugh. I remember the first time I heard him on the radio.

    New York used to have great talk radio. WNBC called themselves “Your Conversation Station” and had various talkers on various subjects with call-ins. My favorite was a guy named Brad Crandall who was on in the evening. He used to invite the listeners to sit with him down by the railroad tracks, open up a can of beans and watch the trains go by. He could talk about anything.

    WOR had Rambling with Gambling in the morning, Arlene Francis, The Fitzgeralds, Martha Deane, John Wingate on the overnight. The daytime shows had in studio interview guests. John Wingate would take calls and also had guests.

    WABC after they gave up top 40 had a great host in the morning named Gil Gross (who also could talk about anything) and during the day had Bill Bresnan with financial advice, a psychologist, home improvement questions and at night Art Rust, Jr. with sports. He seemed to have been to all the great historical games. His brother was my cousin’s gynecologist.

    I used to have WABC on all day while I worked. The afternoon time slot was held by an interesting guy named Michael Jackson (not that Michael Jackson) who was syndicated. One day Rush Limbaugh replaced him. My immediate thought was that this was one bag of hot air. It seemed that he was in love with his voice and was doing scales with it. I remember him mentioning that he’d gone to the grocery store where they had scanners that called out your product and he was buying liquor and objected to that. I think he said he had been in Sacramento for his last gig. I don’t remember him being particularly political. I just thought that compared to the interesting and knowledgeable Michael Jackson he was a dud.

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