Image from Associated ContentSince Michael Jackson died, I've filled my short drive home with his music (no, I'm not obsessed, it's a 15-minute trip). Today, I'd had my fill of the Jackson 5, the Jacksons, Michael and even the Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger duets. So, instead, I flipped on the right-wing jabber on KXNT (sponsor of the stellar Sean Hannity Freedom™ Concert). Since my hours have been reduced, that puts me into the middle hour of The Mark Levin Show.
If I'm not mistaken, Levin is the 4th or 5th-rated talk show on radio. This would be impressive were it not for the top three, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael the Savage Weiner. Let's see, drug-addled gasbag, dumb as a box of rocks and certifiably insane, respectively. I see what each of the top three have to offer, though none of them do a damned thing for me. What Levin has though eludes me.
Like Savage, Levin has a barely tolerable voice, especially when riled. Which is often. This is usually seen as a liability in radio. Also like Savage, Levin is prone to paranoid rants, and idiotic nicknames for various people and entities. Unlike Savage, I believe that Levin believes what he is saying. I don't think he's an act. I think he believes he the smartest pundit going, and that he buys his own shtick. Supposedly, Levin is the guy who supplies the talking points that fill Hannity's empty head. And so, the theory goes, Levin was awarded with his own show.
So on my short trip home today, I heard Levin tearing apart journalists, and The New York Times ("Slimes" in Levinese) in particular. He first brought up economist Paul Krugman, and wasn't sure how to pronounce his name. No big deal, but then he called Krugman "freakish" looking, which is rather shocking coming from a face for radio like Levin. Next he went after Maureen Dowd by trashing her "dye job," but saying that it is black, when as far as I know, Dowd is a redhead. So as you can see, Levin has a tendency for personal rather than substantive attacks, right? But he wasn't done yet.
The core of his complaint was opinion columnist Frank Rich, who had written a piece on (saint) Sarah Palin. All through the bit, Levin portrayed Rich as a swishy, mincing gay man. This based on--again, as far as I know--the fact that Rich used to be a theater critic. Whaa? I only listened as I said, for a few minutes. And in that time Levin by his manner and voice kept up the anti-gay theme, with a sing-song voice, calling Frank "Richie," and more.
Now it's one thing to make fun of a public figure, be it with good-hearted humor, or even with a thick layer of snark. There are even ways to mock homophobia or homophobes using similar jocular jibes. I can even roll with lower humor than that, from shows like South Park or Family Guy. But there has to be actual humor, and a perceived absence of malice for that to work. There was no humor here, and Levin's voice drips with malice. I can't imagine listening to more than a few minutes of this show without boiling over into a rage. Levin gets stuff wrong, lies, distorts, and confounds logic. Inside of 90 seconds, I can find three things that aren't true in his rants. All with a voice that can make your ears bleed. Why is this clown so popular?