"White America Has Lost Its Mind" Revisited: Where Are Those Crazy White Folks Now?
In September of 2010, the Voice published our cover story "White America Has Lost Its Mind." At the time, we thought the disease of crazy white people infecting the national zeitgeist was at its most noxious state. However, that period was before Donald Trump took birtherism to a whole new level, thrice-married adulterer Newt Gingrich took to protecting marriage (when he wasn't lecturing the "food stamp president" or hectoring black folks about food-stamps), and the entire Republican party declared war on
birth-control people who have sex women. It almost makes the summer of 2010, in those early days of the Tea Party when healthcare reform passed, look like a halcyon era of first-rate mental health and civil public discourse.
We were honored when Drew Friedman illustrated the "White America" cover. But we realized, glancing at the asylum tableau last week, that the crazy white people he captured in cartoon format aren't doing so well. Let's take a look at the rough ride those five straightjacket wearing leaders of the right have had in the intervening months, especially in the past week.
Rush Limbaugh As we type, Rush is
apologizing sincerely to Sandra Fluke covering his ass to try to stem the tide, after some nine sponsors have dropped his show. Though Rush may have said he "did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke," Daily Kos jovially points out Limbaugh attacked her some 53 times over three days.
There is nothing for Rush to be crying about here. The first two advertisers to pull out, as it were, were mattress companies, corporations whose line of business is, quite often, people having sex. They're in the business of people fucking, Rush! Sleep Train couldn't have Rush shilling for them after (despite his own Viagra use) he became the new anti-birth control scold.
And, as one brilliant tweet put it, the sponsors' departure represented everything free marketeers like Rush believe in:
Another thing Limbaugh didn't seem to count on was what happens when you take on a college educated white woman. Rush has been saying nasty, racist things for decades, and Carbonite and ProFlowers didn't much seem to mind. But when he took on Sandra Fluke (and the 99 percent of women who have used birth control at some point), the internet hit back and the radio bully met his match. Rush has gone so insane that he didn't realize that if he'd just kept making fun of people with Parkinson's disease, black people, and the poor, he could still be shilling for AOL!
Andrew Breitbart Breibart died last week at the age of 43. His last piece of writing, a non-apology apology tweet in the Limbaugh style, captures the energy that he lived his life with and left the world with:
Sarah Palin Back in the fall of 2010, Palin was still toying with the idea of guaranteeing Barack Obama's re-election (even if unemployment was at 20 percent and Iran attacked the United States) by running for president herself. Her political popularity peaked when a painful Icarus moment sent her reeling back to the Alaskan tundra. It was the day she vehemently assailed the "blood libel" smear against her after the Gabriel Giffords shooting, just hours before President Obama spoke in Arizona and reminded the nation of why they still liked the idea of hope in dark times.
Since she announced she won't run for president, a story she didn't even bother to announce on Fox News and which even the New York Post relegated as a blurb deep inside the paper, Palin's political capital has crashed spectacularly. Even her PAC, in the age of Super PACs, doesn't seem to be giving her a seat at the table very often. (Perhaps that's also because she has a track record of backing losers.)
Glenn Beck Beck's time at Fox News came to an end partially because of the efforts of @StopBeck, a twitter campaign started by Angelo Carusone, the person behind @StopRush. Beck left Fox at the end of his contract to start GBTV, where he is no doubt raking it in from minions who gladly pay to hear him; still, he's left the national conversation, earning him a shared spot (with Keith Olbermann!) on the Voice's list of the "100 Most Powerless New Yorkers."
Dr. Laura Schlessinger After she'd quite had her fill of of berating a black woman married to white man for questioning his white friends saying "nigger" around her, Dr. Laura went into exile from her widely heard traditional radio program. She's now on Sirius, still judging callers over the phone, but toiling away in subscriberland obscurity like Howard Stern (minus the stint judging America's Got Talent.)
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