Donald J. Trump and Madonna have to appear near the top of any list of the ‘Vilest Living Americans’, but maybe the Viley should go to someone likely to influence many more others to follow in their own accursed footsteps — someone like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Ann Coulter.
Back when he used to be on TV as well as radio, Limbaugh pointed out, “Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is also a White House dog?” He then displayed a picture of Chelsea Clinton, who at the time was 13; an age at which nearly everyone looks his or very, very best.
“Holocaust?” he groused in 2009. “90 million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos, what’s to complain about?” More recently, he’s ridiculed Michael J. Fox for having Parkinson’s disease, and has been heard to observe, “I’m a huge supporter of women…I love the women’s movement, especially when walking behind it.” An unrepentant pig, our Rusty!
To enliven a harangue during which he accused President Obama of demagoguery, Limbaugh’s fellow former-disk-jockey-with-substance-abuse-issues, Glenn Beck doused a colleague with gasoline that a superimposed caption assured the viewer was in fact water.
He has expressed the view that that Cash for Clunkers is part of a government scheme to hack into Americans’ computers, and has likened Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler more times than Rush Limbaugh has offended women. Naming him ‘The Most Loathsome Person in America’ in 2010, The Buffalo Beast marveled, "It's like someone found a manic, doom-prophesying hobo in a sandwich board, shaved him, shot him full of Zoloft and gave him a show.”
More loathsome, Beast, than Ann Coulter, the Aryan from Darien (Connecticut)? One so doesn’t think so. Not in light of, for instance, her having responded to the assassination of Dr. George Tiller outside the Kansas abortion facility where he worked by saying, "I don't really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester…I am personally opposed to shooting abortionists, but I don't want to impose my moral values on others."
With your tacit assent, I shall call her ‘America’s Bitch’, and recall how she said of 9/11 widows who criticized the Bush administration, "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband's deaths so much." The cake-taker possibly being "I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East, and sending liberals to Guantanamo."
There is only one way to live in this cruel world, and that’s hopefully. Inveterate perceiver of half-full glasses as I am, I like to imagine that Limbaugh, Beck, and Coulter aren’t the monsters as which they so gleefully masquerade, but American counterparts to the brilliant UK satirist Sacha Baron Cohen. I have a dream that one day soon each of them will admit that what they’ve been doing all along is ridiculing intolerance, callousness and xenophobia by pretending to endorse them. “What,” they will gasp. “You honestly believe I meant any of that stuff?”
Even if they were in fact satirists, you’re thinking, do they not have to be held accountable for the ghastly behavior of the tens of millions of defiantly stupid Americans who don’t get the joke? I think not. The day that we demand that our artist not only create art, but also accept responsibility for what it inspires the most perverse or cretin-like member of its audience to do is the day art will perish. With “Piggies,” on the so-called White Album, George Harrison was guilty of writing an awful song, not of inspiring the Tate/La Bianca murders.