Tragic decades and the marketing response

Rush Limbaugh is a genius.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment. There.

Rush Limbaugh is almost single-handedly responsible for teaching a generation of partisans how to think about politics. It’s actually pretty easy.

Step 1: Never speak ill of your own. He learned this one from Reagan. It’s a winning strategy.

Step 2: Defend your own against everything. Do this by pointing at the other side and saying, “But he did it, too! Look! He did it before! So, you can’t criticize my guy for it! Eighteen wrongs make me right!” This gets the issue on a cyclical track that accomplishes nothing other than providing more fodder for the next day’s show…which is exactly what you want.

Step 3: Refuse to consider your opponent’s opinion because it is your opponent’s opinion. If all else fails, return to Step 2.

A lot of people might be surprised to know that I used to lean more right than left. Now that I lean a little more left than right, in the mind of the Ditto Heads, I might as well be burning flags, sleeping with Jane Fonda, and carrying on an unholy relationship with Mike Farrell.

It’s exhausting, really. There is no discourse and there won’t be. Rush made it possible (or, impossible, really), and for that he should be very proud.

I was reading a story on the election the other day, because, in terms of politics, reading is about all I do these days. I don’t watch cable news coverage and I don’t watch the polls. I read and don’t write about it, because, if I’m being frank, I’m not going to convince anybody of anything. The partisan followers on both sides have devolved and I don’t have the energy to debate reality with people who don’t want to talk.

That’s not the point, though. The point is what I saw in the sidebar of the article.

There is so much wrong with this Time Magazine ad that I barely know where to begin. I can’t decide if I was more offended by blatant marking based on the idea of tragedy or that the deaths of Tupac, Princess Diana, and Cobain were what made the 90s tragic. [“I mean, those were the years of Slick Willie’s administration!” chirped the Ditto Heads.]

My friend G-Rob and I spent about five minutes coming up with a list of decades that were far more tragic that the 90s. In a Top Ten list out of the last century, the 90s came in around #7. Make your own list and see what you come up with.

The point is this…when Time Fucking Magazine is marketing its product based on the idea that tragedy is a good selling point, I am ready to give up. And if the 90s gets the nod for the ad spot, Pricess Di’s picture instead of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building just makes me want to cry.

It’s a fire sale on tragedy. Find something to hate. Find someone to fight. Find something as tragic as the Nirvana front man stepping off the buckshot ledge. If you’re lucky, Lindsay Lohan might end up being straight after all and give you something to care about. In the meantime, I’m going to ask Rush if this decade is a tragic one or not.

My guess is he’ll be able to tell me sometime in early November.


I ran across this column which pretty much sums up why this year’s election is as useless as the last.