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Toxic Rhetoric The New Norm

by Tom King

Sometimes I'm embarrassed to be associated with talk radio. Hearing and reading Rush Limbaugh's latest tirade tying Robin Williams suicide to a "leftist" mentality of defeat is one of those times. Unfortunately the embarrassments and contempt I feel about the toxic damage that some in my profession do is becoming more frequent. I try to tell myself to take this stuff for what its worth. An old tradition of snake oil salesmen drumming up interest in their product. As he becomes increasingly irrelevant to legitimate political discourse Limbaugh needs to keep his name in the public eye so his pronouncements become more and more bizarre. But if it was just him we could probably ignore it for what it is. But the right continues to inundate us with this stuff. Whether its Limbaugh on women or the environment... Ann Coulter on ebola...Ted Nugent on racial purity...Cliven Bundy and his skewed version of states rights...or Michele Bachman and Sarah Palin on almost everything. I hear alot from the right about why moderate Muslims don't call out the extremists that hijacked their religion. I hear the right complain that the left doesnt call out people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson when they make some absurd statement. And I agree. But I never hear the right castigate their own. What would happen if someone like Scott Walker or Bobby Jindal or Rand Paul...or better yet John Roberts or Samuel Alito...or Billy Graham...would come out and say "Rush Limbaugh doesnt speak for me and his brand of "conservatism" is not something that is healthy for the country" Hell, I might even vote for someone with that kind of moral courage. The toxic nature of political discourse in this country (instigated mostly from the right) has damaged us in ways we don't even realize yet. And until someone prominent enough stands up, like Dwight Eisenhower did against the right wing zealots of his time, it will just get worse. Is that an America that you want to live in?

Noted the passing of another Hollywood legend this week. Lauren Bacall passed away at the age of 89. We had to watch and critique "The Big Sleep" for a class in college. I had never seen the film and it became one of my favorites. Bacall is smoking in this and you can see the chemistry with Bogart nearly melt the celluloid.

and then there is this classic from "To Have and Have Not"