Howard Stern, Donald Trump, and the Rise of American Fascism

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"It was a big club that legitimized stupidity, bigotry, and the sense they'd been victimized by elite snobs..."

Jaime O'Neill, The Smirking Chimp - June 28, 2019

... "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." That quote is attributed to H.L. Mencken, who also gave us the word "booboisie" to describe the Boobus Americanus, that bedrock group of dumb fucks who dog our history, enshrined ignorance, are now turning up at Trump rallies, and jeered at the idea of evolution during the famous Scopes Trial in Tennessee back in the 1920s. Lots of hucksters and charlatans and peddlers of trash have gotten fabulously rich by targeting the deep reservoir of ignorance and bad taste incubated by a big chunk of people in this country, the deplorables and the dull normals, the incurious, the self-satisfied, the bigoted and benighted churls so severely limited in a range of ways that include lack of compassion, empathy, or concern for other people who don't think and act as they do.

There was huge money to be made by being an in-your-face asshole on radio. Stern is worth an estimated $650 million bucks (!). That's more than a half billion in case you're not among those accustomed to thinking in the millions. Thanks to his old talk show guest, Donald J. Trump, he pays an extremely low tax rate on that hard-earned gelt. Robin Givens, who gave him female and colored people shade for his racism and misogyny is worth $45 million, which ain't bad pay for playing the enabler to Stern, with her "ain't he a caution" chuckles at damn near any shit out of his mouth, from egregious sexism to none-too-subtle racism, and a smorgasbord of other slop that hardly made the world a better place over the last several decades. Nazis were known to love fart jokes, and Stern moved in to round up the fascists as his target audience. Fascism has its roots in ugly humor and bad taste, defining who the deplorables are before they ever give much thought to politics beyond the notion that women need to know their place and black and brown folks are getting too damn pushy.

Fascism in all its forms is more deeply rooted in culture than it is in politics, and American culture for the last many decades hasn't done much to make any of us better people, has it? People like Howard Stern set the template for the current state of things--the MAGA morons, the corrupted moral fiber of our business and industry leaders, the dumbing down of most everything, and the willingness to succumb to hate and fear that has been ramped up by politicians with increasing fervor at least since 9/11. Across the broad spectrum of American media--books, movies, music, TV shows, religious hucksterism, and even commercials---it's been a race to the bottom, with the bottom feeders reaping the biggest rewards. ...
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