By Matt Taibbi
Rush Limbaugh, who died of lung cancer yesterday, was once a top-40 DJ who broadcast under the name “Jeff Christie” at KQV in Pittsburgh:
Listen to “Jeff’s” rollicking intro for “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder. The man who would become infamous as a peddler of race politics really sells Stevie’s music! You can detect a trace of “America’s Anchorman” in his intro for “Garden Party” — by “former all-American boy turned hippie” Ricky Nelson — but most of his energy is pure radio.
When he went national in 1988 with a WABC talk show, it was built around a new character. “Jeff Christie” had long since made way for Rush, the “Doctor of Democracy,” man of “zero mistakes” who would tell drivetime audiences the real truths. Limbaugh’s virtuosity with the medium was key to the act. The tireless polysyllabic self-congratulation, which tumbled out of his mouth in breathtaking flourishes of gibberish braggadocio — he was “the most dangerous man in America,” with the “largest hypothalamus in North America,” who was “serving humanity just by opening my mouth,” with “half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair” — was for the benefit of a vast audience that was used to being told it was too stupid to understand its own interests.
Categories: Culture Wars/Current Controversies