A Lesson In Grammar

Posted: May 13, 2009 in Threat Quality

I was hoping to avoid writing things specifically about “politics” or “the news,” but this keeps coming up, and it’s pissing me the fuck off, so I want to say something about it.

At the White House Correspondents’ dinner, Wanda Sykes got some flack for saying that she hoped Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys failed, in response to his repeated assertions that he hoped the president’s policies for the stimulus and budget failed.

Let’s talk about this for a second.

Now, first of all, let me be clear:  I hate Rush Limbaugh, and do kind of hope that he’ll die.  I’m not going to try and kill him, and I’m not going to urge anyone else to kill him, because murder his wrong.  But, yes, he’s a fat bigot with appalling politics, is an unrepentant sophist and fearmonger, and is afforded entirely too much respect by his listeners.  So, yes, I would be happy if he died.  I’m a terrible person; fucking sue me.  (Note:  I don’t hate him because he’s fat; I just hate him a lot, so I can’t talk about him without saying something mean about him.)

To the meat:  Rush Limbaugh said, a while ago, that he hoped “the president’s policies would fail.”  There was, subsequently, a great ruckus regarding what he meant by that, and whether or not he had any particular malice against Barack Obama as a person (he claims he did not), and socialism socialism ZOMG, did you hear?  Democrats are socialist!  Strangely enough, not one person ever seemed to point out that what Limbaugh was saying had a very particular meaning that precluded all of these secondary meanings that we keep going on about.

Here’s what “I hope the president’s policies fails mean”:  it means “I hope we go into national economic meltdown.”  Why?  Because the policies are meant to stave off a national economic meltdown.  Saying that you want those policies to fail necessarily implies that you want what they are trying to avert to occur.

Now, maybe you BELIEVE that the president’s policies will fail.  If that’s the case, you need to use the sentence “I BELIEVE the president’s policies will fail.”  That way, you can say, “I HOPE they will succeed [and thus disaster will be averted] but I BELIEVE that they will not succeed, which is why I oppose them.”

Maybe you mean that you hope the president will not successfully be able to implement his policies.  Then, the sentence you need to use is, “I hope the PRESIDENT fails at implementing his policies.”  See, then you can say, “I HOPE that the policies will succeed [and thereby disaster will be averted], but I  BELIEVE they will fail [and they are thus not optimal plans], and therefore I HOPE that the president himself will fail [so we won’t have to deal with his policies].”

You might just believe that the disaster will avert itself, with or without the president’s policies, in which case the proper sentence would probably be something like, “I HOPE the PRESIDENT will fail to implement his policies, because there really is no crisis.”  Whatever, maybe you believe that, you can believe whatever you want, that’s fine.

The problem is that I think that Rush Limbaugh really DOES want the president’s policies to fail–not that he wants the president to fail to implement them, because that wouldn’t prove anything.  What he wants is for his listeners to feel like no politician is listening to them, that they are an underrepresented minority, and then for them (and Rush, by extension) to feel vindicated when those policies fail.

“Failed liberal policies,” as far as examples go, are usually things like the Detroit riots that are somehow the direct result of Johnson’s Great Society, or the Khmer Rouge genocide that happened because of the liberal decision to pull out of Vietnam.  I don’t know how anyone, given the examples we have to work with, can say “I hope for more failed liberal policies.”  Failed liberal policies seem to lead to civic breakdown and astronomical body counts.

But it’s easy for Rush.  See, Rush Limbaugh is rich, and he’ll be rich even if the economy tanks.  He’s already got eighty gazillion dollars he can live on.  If half of the country becomes unemployed, Rush himself will still be fine.  So, naturally he’d be opposed to any plan that would tax him higher (i.e., a liberal one), regardless of the consequences for the rest of the country–HE doesn’t have to suffer those consequences.

Or, well, unless it gets really bad and all the poor, illegal immigrants living in Florida flip their shit, break onto his gigantic residential compound, and eat him.  (Incidentally, this is why we talk about the growing gap between the rich and poor as being an inherently bad thing:  we’re trying to avoid a situation like the French Revolution.)

What all of this boils down to is:  Rush Limbaugh said exactly what he meant, and what’s so wrong about hoping the president’s policies will fail is this:  Fuck socialism.  Who cares how fucking close we are to socialism?  What the fuck does that have to do with anything?

People need work, they need to be able to get mortgages, we need to be able to fix our roads and our sewers and pay our police and fire departments and have LIBRARIES, for fuck’s sake.  What’s wrong about saying “I hope the president’s policies fail?”  What’s wrong is that you’re saying that your principles (assuaged by your money) are more important than any of those things.

  1. V.I.P. Referee says:

    “What’s wrong is that you’re saying that your principles (assuaged by your money) are more important than any of those things.” Best description of the fundamental divide in perspective between “Rush Limbaugh” fans and his critics, ever. It’s easy to preach and moralize from a comfortable home, keeping up energy and spirits with lots of food to eat and expensive hobbies to engage in. Rush Limbaugh is the manifestation of Ugly Capitalism and cult-leader mentality (making no reference to his rather unappealing exterior); he will sacrifice people to ensure his power and sell-off neighbors in an effort to underhandedly hoard resources. Clearly, I’m not a fan, but his behavior transcends biased political perspective–he’s a user, an overconsuming shark. He’ll consume his portion, then take a bite out of every other piece of pie, just to make sure no one else gets it. One last soapbox comment: It’s always those with the most resources that seem to have expectations that the poor should, exponentially, do more with increasingly less.

  2. Joe M says:

    What you’re saying is that you don’t care if the government dictates our lives as long as we have jobs and can pay to live in such a system of socialist slavery… yeah, sounds like a good plan to me.

    I am not a Republican or supporter of Rush Limbaugh by any means, both of them support huge government, however you clearly do too. The problem with modern politics in America is that both parties want more government and squabble over left vs. right, when in reality the real issue is authoritarianism vs. libertarianism. I will proudly admit I am an anarchist individualist; I think people should live for themselves and not be taken care of by a nanny state. That was the whole point of the revolutionary war: to become independent of the British government.

    When did everyone become so willing to throw their rights away because of a recession or even a depression? I would rather live in poverty and freedom than some kind of government-subsidized machine. Fuck socialism.

  3. threatqualitypress says:

    Your position is deeply retarded. I just spent five minutes trying to figure out how to begin a counter-argument against it, only realising that I can’t say one thing without having to have to point out why you’re an idiot about three more.

    Let’s just get down to brass tacks. You like being an anarchist individualist? Fine, great. There’s plenty of places you can go to where you can live according to your principles, instead of subsidizing this system of “slavery” that you’re talking about. I mean, if you really wanted that, instead of just not wanting to pay your taxes, there are.

    May I recommend Somalia? I hear it’s very nice there.

  4. Joe M says:

    May I recommend Cuba or Vietnam? Those are pretty good bastions of socialism

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