Friday, August 26, 2005

Pensees Sauvages

As promised, I am continuing my series on right wing AM jackasses. There is one schmendrick whose show I can only listen to a few seconds at a time: Bay Area looney conservative Michael Savage. Though I am now a confirmed atheist, I grew up Jewish, and I am sad to say that Savage is still technically a co-religionist. In the old days of pre-neo-conservatism, intellectuals came in only one flavor: upper-crust society honky. Since Jews weren't allowed in the country clubs and private schools of the monied elites, it is no surprise that very few of them made it into the upper echelons of conservative politics. For many of us, William F. Buckley (or at least Joe Flaherty's hilarious renditions of WB on SCTV) still serves as the ideal-typical conservative caricature. A few moments of Savage conveys the distance that conservatism has traversed since the Podhoretzes and the Decters and the Kristols stormed the fortress. Savage delivers every zinger (his favorite: "Liberalism is a mental disorder!") as if he was auditioning for the role of Tevye the milkman. Every call for the execution style slaying of the ACLU is delivered in the sing-song cadences of a Talmudic pedant. The thing I hate most about MS? His horrible patronizing attitude towards listeners. He makes everyone call him "Dr. Savage," though I believe his medical credentials consist primarily of having spent the 1980s peddling homeopathic snake oil. He obsessively and ostentatiously dumbs down his already boneheaded insights in response to any challenge from a listener. When further reductionism is impossible without pantomime, he hangs up. Why do people subject themselves to this? I understand the callers who try, in vain, to disagree, but what of those who call in to reinforce Savage's delusions of brilliance?

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