A BARFLY IS A BARFLY IS A BARFLY Limbaugh, Beck, Levin, and Hannity

I loathe the ad hominem argument — the “argument against the person.” 

But, sometimes, you just have to make an exception and use it.

This is one of those times.

Every bar has one.  You know, the guy who bellies up to the best seat – the one who makes sure to get there first and then sticks around to close the place down.  He’s got the best view of the whole joint but, more importantly, everyone  has a great view of him. 

He’s the guy that can get your attention with that resonant baritone  that carries so well – even in the loudest din.  When necessary, he can easily ratchet it up from 60 decibels (noise at a fairly crowded restaurant) to 120 decibels (a thunderclap or a typical rock concert).   Our guy is a natural-born blowhard with all the tools necessary for the task.  He’s got the pipes, the easy affability, and he knows that these gifts, being God-given, are his duty to use.

And he uses them non-stop.  He’s a wind-up machine, a veritable talking robot.    No one knows for sure what keeps him going.  Maybe it’s just part of the ineffable about what sustains this mouth-machine.  It’s not alcohol or anything artificial that induces his ramblings.   Our guy doesn’t need his tongue to be loosened with anything but a rapt audience – even when the audience is only the bartender.   However, the bigger the crowd, the more bombastic and stylistic the performance.  

A creature quite closely resembling this special breed of barfly is the radio talk show personality.  Who else has the ability to get up everyday and do nothing but talk?  Granted that radio talk show hosts usually have staffs who give them material to stimulate their instincts.  In that sense, they may have slightly less talent than the script-less barfly;  but they more than make up for that deficiency by their ability to turn their talent into a full-time job.   What we have here is a slight difference in nomenclature.  On the one hand we have barflicium uninterruptus gratis and, on the other hand, barflicium uninterruptus lucre.

One thing that you never want to do to either barfly species is interrupt it during the middle of a soliloquy (of course, almost everything spoken is soliloquous).  If you do happen to make this innocent mistake, be forewarned.  The first thing will happen is an uncomfortable pause followed by a re-doubling of the volume. “WHAT? NO? YOU”VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME? NOW LET ME GET BACK TO WHAT I WAS SAYING.”  And then, one of two things happens, as follows:  the interrupter separates and backs away, or a fight breaks out.  In most cases, people tend to just move away, shake their heads, and continue to let the verbal barrage continue.   For the people who have a sense of propriety about themselves, they either walk out of the bar or change the tuning dial.

Now, about the best of the best –  the world-class-millionaire-radio-talk-show-gasbags.  Maybe these jokers are entitled to their own special sub-species name, let’s say barflicium uninterruptus lucre grande.    Distinguished by the degree to which they have perfected the art of pompous and mindless yakking, they are indeed in rarefied air.  They are not just the bum at a bar; they have added ammo – microphones and well-heeled patron sponsors.   Large corporate/political types actually pay big money to this barfly sub-species  so that they can broadcast their noise pollution over the public airwaves.    Some sub-species are known to received 25 – 50 million in annual compensation for their bloviating.   If you’ve got the talent, it’s amazing what good Arbitron ratings can do for you.


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Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 12:17 am  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I like Rush Limbaugh. I’ve been a regular listener since around 1995, and generally agree with him about 90% of the time.

    I just discovered Glenn Beck a few months ago. I was working the night shift and the FNC rebroadcast of his show came on shortly after I got home. Now I try to catch it as often as I can. Sometimes I even listen to his radio program, but it’s not a part of my daily routine like listening to Rush.

  2. Thanks for your comments. It’s tough to get away from Limbaugh on AM radio. He’s on everyday for hours and hours – unbelievable, really. Try checking out FM stations or throw a CD on.

  3. Yeah throw on an FM station listen to a cd? Anything to take yourself out of reality. I give props to the people who take the time out of their busy schedules to be informed of current events.

    The author of this article is very talented, maybe he should use is gift to do something productive for his country.

    • First, thanks for you comments. And, I appreciate your generous compliment at the end.

      As you can probably tell from my article, what I dislike about many of the regular radio commentators is the venomous tone and the unrelenting message. It is reality alright, but just a very small part of reality presented in a disproportionate way.

  4. I enjoy your writing, even though we have a different ideology. I will bookmark your blog and check in periodically. I hope that you will add substance in the future. I find the talking heads you listed repetitive as you do, but they are accurate and substantive. Those that oppose their message rarely present facts or truth in their opposition. Most opposition mis-quotes what they have said, or does what you have, uses ad hominem attacks. It has become boring. I am always looking for opposition to my thoughts to force meaningful reflection. I dislike the echo chamber, I hope your future blogs will contain something worth reading.

    • Thank you for your comments. I’m not sure that I have an ideology per se. I don’t particularly like any sort of dogma from any point of view. On the other hand, I don’t consider myself purely a satirist either. Bottom line is that I guess I’m just a reflexive sort that hopes to recognize baloney when I hear, see, or read it.

  5. Liked this bit a lot but I think you could have taken it a little farther. I’ve been one of those dreaded ‘barfly bloviators’ for much of my adult life no thanks to the (‘Talent on Loan From God!) which created easy access to the public airways here on the eastern seaboard. Your ‘Tim Said’ character up above was happy to claim the benefit of the ‘accurate and substantive’ information (dis-?) he feels enlightens him from the subject bloviators (SB). Without hearing much from the opposition ‘Ol Tim finds the rare rebuttal lacking ‘facts or truth’. And that is exactly what our subject bloviators hoped to gain from ‘Ol Tim! I say this from personal experience: Learning how to be authoritatively credible is something that CAN be learned, as in this case by all those SBs and myself. I’ve been in high-dollar bars for several hours in mild but deep conversation, and actually had sane and intelligent solid Americans offer to support and finance ANY project that I would assemble with little or no further verification of my credentials! I’ve DONE that many times but usually then enlighten those now-conned innocents of the phoniness of my proposition. But there are Zillions of otherwise sane people in the world ready and willing to believe any bloviating carpet-bagger like our dear Subjects, and myself. ‘Ol Tim, there is no substance, there are no facts! Your subjects are simply disingenuous Con Men and you are their favorite kind of American — The Mark!

    • Good comments, Brick!

      You bloviated much of what I think, too.

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