This will surprise those of you who’ve read my reviews of books
by William “Let it Ride” Bennett and Ann Coulter
but Michael Savage doesn’t bother me all that much. He’s a crazy loud
mouth who presents himself as a crazy loud mouth, just like Michael
Moore is a wiseass who presents himself as a wiseass. Neither man tries
to pass himself off as either a scholar or a philosopher, they just
want to tell you what they think in an entertaining way.
What Savage thinks is, of course, insane, but that’s somewhat beside the point at hand. Savage is not a fraud or a shill for his party, which, in my book, places him above 99% of the people who’ve ever been on “Crossfire.” Sure, he doesn’t want his listeners to know that he used to go skinny dipping with Allen Ginsberg, but everyone has some skeletons.
The point of view Savage represents, albeit to a wacky extreme, is that
of the whiny Republican. One of the coups of the Republican party has
been to corner the market on machismo, characterizing any and all
liberal complaints as whining. Sometimes the characterization is
accurate, of course. Like at my old college, Sonoma State, or as I
think of it, A Coma State. One of the only outstanding features of the
school was its team nickname – the Cossacks. How cool is that!? But one
of the students accidentally read a sentence from his history book as
he was using a page to roll a joint and discovered that the Cossacks
had killed a bunch of Jews. If he’d kept reading, he’d have learned
that everybody’s killed some Jews at one time or another, including
bears, sharks and pretty much anything you’d want to name a team after,
including Jews. And that would be a really cool team name too. The
Sonoma State Jews.
Yeah, The Fighting Mengeles would not be an appropriate name
for a team, but this was ridiculous. It’s not like the Cossacks were
first and foremost Jew killers. What are you supposed to name your
team? The Lint? Anyway, whine, whine whine and after a few years the
team is renamed. Sea Cucumbers or something. That’s liberal whining and
it’s a reality. And the worst part of it all is that meanwhile, there’s
global warming, the war on drugs and other real problems that need
attention. Savage does an OK job making fun of these sorts of liberals,
for example, ridiculing Quanza.
Mostly though, he just does his own whining because, the
truth is, your average Republican is a much bigger bitch than you’re
average Democrat. Savage speaks for the kind of people who think
affirmative action is the greatest racial injustice of the past 100
years. “The Ivies all had to fill their racial quotas so our Chip had
to go to… Vassar.” Sorry for the cliche but, cry me a fucking river.
What makes right wingers of Savage’s stripe even whinier than liberals
is the fact that they are conformists. Consequently, they complain
about the slightest deviation from their agendas. They’re like that guy
from Sleeping with the Enemy who would go into a fit of violent
rage if one of the soup cans in the pantry didn’t have the label facing
out. See, e.g. Savage’s famous obsession with John Walker. Walker had a
liberal upbringing and joined the Taliban. Behold the consequences of
relativism and laxity! Our culture is on the precipice of total
Of course, this view is nuts. Walker is just one guy. Who
gives a fuck? Some kid ran off and joined a bunch of religious fanatics
in the Afghanistan. What could be more insignificant? What’s the ratio
of Marin County kids who go to medical school to Marin County kids who
joint the Taliban? 1,000 to 1? But Savage can’t stop bitching about
“Rat Boy,” the, single, misplaced soup can.
Savage is, of course, on the “liberal media” bitch bus as
well and he sites two main examples. One is “Rat Boy.” Savage believes
that Walker should always be referred to as a traitor. So when news
outlets referred to him using neutral language, they were actually
exhibiting bias. I’m just going to quote his second example in it’s
Here’s what I heard while watching a CNN report. I’m going to paraphrase for you:
Wolf Blitzer’s bearded mug shot fills the screen. He
says, “Let’s go to Afghanistan, to Nick Robertson. It’s been said that
despite five weeks of heavy bombing, the Taliban is still strong. How’s
there moral Nick?
We hear thirty seconds of delay.
“Yes, Wolfy, their morale is astonishingly good, despite the bombing. Let’s go to one of the soldiers right now.
We kill America. We kill you. You can’t hurt us, come on over. Death to the infidels-
Well, that’s it Wolfy. The Taliban are stronger than ever. They’re
powerful and they’re ready for more. Back to you at CNN headquarters.
As I sat on my sofa, I shook my head in disbelief…
Setting aside the issue Savage’s “paraphrasing,” the reasons CNN is
biased are 1) they actually interviewed an adversary 2) they reported
that the Taliban fighting force was still relatively strong and
motivated, which seems to have been true at the time. This is bias, not
because the facts are skewed, but because they aren’t skewed. Because
Savage doesn’t want to hear from the enemy. He doesn’t want
to know if they’re holding up. So “biased liberal news undermines
America” can be safely translated as, “moooooommmmmyyyy! I don’t like
this! Put on something eeeeeelllllssse!” And what makes the media
liberal, in the view of people like Savage, is the absence of a
uniform, right wing bias. Soup cans.
One last point. Some people think that Savage is funny.
For example, he calls Dan Rather “Dan Blabber.” He calls the the New York Times the Old York Times. LOL!
So yeah, Savage is more or less ok in my book, as far as having some
integrity. Aside from the whining, this book is mostly lunatic
rambling, written in impresively bad prose. Open a page at random and
you’re likely to find a sentence like, “A family is really no different
form a nation, only in size.” I liked the bad writing though, because
it accentuates the kookiness of the book. I’ve always gotten a kick out
of fringe nut jobs, from Lynden Larusche, to Art Bell, and I got the
same kick out of reading this book. It’s hilarious how Savage prefaces
a string of naked assertions with, “according to my research,” and how
every few pages he assures us that he’s being serious, or that he’s not
joking. I’ll make such an assurance myself. I’m not joking, I real do
enjoy reading books like this and listening to Art Bell. The appeal
goes beyond laughing at them. I guess I just find it fascinating that
people truly and passionately believe that British royalty secretly run
the world, or that centrist Democrats like Bill Clinton are secretly
radical socialists, or that one man sticking his penis in another man’s
mouth will trigger the downfall of society.
To some extent, Savage may be in on the joke. But who
cares? Although all the whining can get annoying, I had fun reading
Simpsons Reference: Savage calls liberals commu-nazis,
which is actually the name of the bad
guys in a McBain movie (well, it’s commie-nazis in the McBain flick.)
Savage is not working on the level of a Stalone or Van Dam movie, or
even a Charles Bronson Movie, He’s working on the
level of a fucking McBain movie. Incredible.