What Rush Limbaugh Knows About Blogging

I can’t stand Rush Limbaugh.

I think he embodies the need for white racist misogynist homophobes to blame their problems on anything but themselves. It might be women who won’t make sandwiches, gay people desecrating the institution of marriage (which already had a 50% success rate) or the immigrants that can somehow be so lazy and yet still take all of our jobs (meanwhile Rush is bloating himself into a stupor of over-consumption quelled only by illegal drugs). He is the worst sewage from the American broadcasting system and every day he spends on the air is a day wasted. But at least his magnitude keeps monsters like Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter in check. But:

Rush Limbaugh is an amazing entertainer.

Rush crystallizes a worldview and anchors a lifestyle for the uneducated but at the same time he provides one of the most useful things any consumer wants to have:

A reliable emotional experience.

Rush’s listeners know exactly what they are going to get when they tune in. They may even tune in because they vehemently disagree with him and feeling that disagreement and anger is a comforting and familiar place to be. As Dr. Phil would say How’s that workin’ out for ya? His disciples tune in to hear the latest wrongs being committed against the Straight White Male American and to learn the talking points for the day to use on co-workers and family members.

You know exactly what you are going to get every time.

When you tune in to watch the latest episode of 24 you know that you are pretty much guaranteed a roller-coaster ride as the writing team burns through ever plot twist in Western literature in under an hour and as the clock ticks the last few seconds of the episode there will be one! final! twist! that blows your minds and provides:

A reliable emotional experience.

Sure the show seems to be a bit long in the tooth now, but that first season is sharp and sleek and some of the best writing ever featured on television. You tune into 24 knowing that your emotions are going to get jerked around. You don’t go to a Wes Craven movie expecting hugs. It isn’t Last Angora Bunny Nursery on the Left.

When I first moved to Chicago I was living with three women I’d gone to school with – luckily it was a four bedroom with 2 bathrooms and a hallway out of that scene from Poltergeist. You know: when Jo Beth Williams goes upstairs to rescue her children and the hallway elongates and she keeps running and it gets longer and longer.

Anyway, the gals had a love of weepy movies and would bring home pints of ice cream and watch Joy Luck Club (so many scenes that tear your heart out), The Color Purple and Sophie’s Choice back to back.

Monica and Brigitte would try to hold back tears as Ciely and Nettie play patty-cake in the fields for the first time in decades or Meryl Streep makes a decision no mother should ever have to consider or that scene in Joy Luck Club where the mother pulls the babies in a wheelbarrow or when another gives her child a fateful bath or… well let’s just stop there before I have to get the tissues. Monica and Brigitte would try to hold in their tears until they were both on the edge of the couch holding hands and shuddering with grief and then one of them would say ‘Oh, girl,’ and the dam would burst. Then the credits would roll, the sugar coma would end and they’d drink big glasses of water and be ready to go about the rest of the weekend. They rented these movies, the ones that soak your shirt in tears because they provided:

A reliable emotional experience.

It is why I’ll watch some episodes of Seinfeld over and over again. To laugh and to admire the tight structure of an episodeOr why seeing Sarah Maclachlan’s ASPCA commercial sends me into a 48 hour mystery-building submersion into the rest of her works.

We all enter into a purchase, product, event or service we have certain expectations of what emotional hormones are going to pump through our bloodstream.

We are slaves to our glands.

Your blog is similar. What is the emotional experience your blog provides? Is it a dip into something deeper, a rant at something crazy, a look at something sincere? A recipe for something yummy? Are you passionate or provocative? What is the reliable experience your blog provides?

Expand it:

What is the reliable emotional experience your product or service provides?

For me, I think I do my best blogging when I can be a bit nutty and rambunctious – sometimes tacky – I think it echoes my former life playwriting – you’re expected to be a bit out there and be a bit more rant-aculous than normal folk. As a co-worker facetiously declared just yesterday: You know, the thing about Andy is he has NO opinions – on anything. Plus I come from a long line of know-it-alls. One of the biggest compliments I can get is when I meet someone in person and they tell me that I am exactly like my blog. That means I am truly communicating authentically to my audience.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *