I’ve made passing mention of and posted videos and articles from a number of great conservative or otherwise right-leaning commentators, authors, columnists and pundits whose work I do or have enjoyed. I’ve been effusive and I’ve been critical of many of them, so I thought it might be an interesting exercise to give the list a thorough run-down as a sort of bibliography of my outside influences. I’m sure if you’ve read any of my past postings you can tell that I come to my own conclusions, so for the most part I consider these folks resources and kindred minds rather than role models or mentors, but on occasion they even manage to teach me a thing or two, and I consider that priceless.
This list will not encompass the websites I visit or have visited–that will be a post of its own since this is likely to go on for at least three or four more installments–nor will I aim to spend a lot of time on luminaries such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, or other titans of libertarian or conservative thought. This will be mostly about the voices that are accessible in smaller (mostly) bite-sized chunks, who address their messages to a broad audience and grab them with wit or humor or courage. They will also be in no particular order.
Paul Harvey–I start off the list with an old favorite, a giant of a man who was essentially the lone voice in the wilderness for a long, long time. I remember listening to Paul Harvey News and Comment on the oldies stations my dad liked to play on the radio, and noticing even as a child that his version of the news was subtly different from what came from the television and the big three networks. Paul Harvey set the standard for blending news and current events with interesting vignettes and a personal touch of humor, and I think he’s where I learned you can hear someone smile as he told a funny story. But more than that, Harvey’s message carried a subtle but clear respect and love for middle America and a quiet reverence for American values. I’ll always remember how he would report on a murderer being given the death penalty by bluntly stating “A killer was killed in [state]” and going on to tell briefly about the crime. He never preached or grandstanded (grandstood?), the constraints of his format didn’t allow him time to wax eloquent, but he relied on gentle wit and plain honesty to get a message across that was tangibly different, even if you couldn’t quite put your finger on how. I don’t honestly know how long it has been since I last heard him on the air but he was an American icon and one of the forerunners of the modern alternative talk radio media.
Steven Crowder–Steven is a younger upstart commentator who exemplifies using humor and irreverence to help get his message across. Seriously, nothing is “going too far” for Steven. He is big on debating his leftist opponents and will often have them on his shows; I kind of get tired of listening to them snivel but Steven’s a pro at taking the fight to them, either in that context or in rebuttal videos where he systematically dismantles leftist nonsense. Steven has also literally taken the fight to the left when he was covering the public sector union battle in Wisconsin and some union thug took a swing at him, or when he crashed a feminist event claiming to be transgender. As iconoclastic as he can be Steven is actually one of the more intellectually consistent and conservative voices out there. He’s not the biggest Trump fan in the world but he wasn’t going into election night telling his audience we were going to lose nor is he out there now ripping into every last thing the man does. Steven Crowder is definitely one of my favorites.
Sean Hannity–I have no major beef with Sean Hannity, but I don’t know, there’s just something about him that doesn’t sit well with me. I like and appreciate his full-throated support for Donald Trump and his positivity during the campaign, but in a lot of ways Hannity strikes me as a whiner and an also-ran, like he’s trying really hard to be a cross between Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly (who I don’t really know). I don’t know how he does on television, maybe that goes better for him, but he’s definitely not Rush Limbaugh. I’ll turn him on sometimes when I’m in the car or on the day after the election but overall he’s just not my pick. Don’t take that too negatively.
Glenn Beck–Until this election, I knew who Beck was, I’d read The Blaze from time to time, I’d read a novel that Beck wrote, and I’d heard that he was drifting towards the left and becoming something of a sellout. Then Beck came out fiercely against Donald Trump after that ridiculous Access Hollywood nonsense debuted, when it was cool to declare that Trump was over because of something totally irrelevant, and ran his mouth insulting both The Don and everyone who did not turn their back on him because of this nothing. Then as if that wasn’t enough he went on and did a video with Samantha Bee (a repugnant lying waste of skin) where the two of them try to make nice over a cup of tea. Uh, no, sorry Glenn, you’re alienating the wrong people and catering to the really wrong people. May you live forever, sir, I’m done with you.
Gavin McInnes–I like Gavin. In a lot of ways he’s like an older, more ranty Steven Crowder. He has a show on Rebel Media and appears on a lot of other shows as well (including Steven’s), and sometimes I don’t know how he can pull off his parody alter-ego Miles McInnes (the Canadian evil twin who worships Justin Trudeau) without vomiting. When Gavin gets going his rants are just a joy to behold, you can feel the pent-up frustrations of decent people everywhere flowing through him. That said, I do have a few issues with Gavin. One, he tends to be a bit of a scold and dismissive, not of leftists but of middle of the road stuff he just doesn’t understand and considers unmasculine. Video games (and GamerGate with them) are a prime example of this. Two, for someone who puts so much emphasis on men and dads and being an antifeminist it seems a lot of his solutions for society’s ills end up being “men need to man up and get married and stop living the single life whether they enjoy it or not,” which is really ignorant of how bad a deal marriage often is for men today. He doesn’t seem to give a moment’s thought to what a guy might actually want, he’s just very derogatory towards men who don’t think shackling themselves to a woman is their best course of action–and this doesn’t have anything to do with whether there are kids involved, by the way. Third, he has an odd obsession with condemning masturbation, like self-service is some kind of societal ill, and this ties back into his “man up and get married” hangup. So while I don’t go for everything he has to say, I’m there for when he blows his Scottish stack any day of the week.
Alex Jones–I’ll wrap up today’s installment with the kingfish of InfoWars, Alex Jones. If you’re familiar with the name you’ve probably heard it in less than flattering contexts. Let me start off by saying I don’t consider myself an Alex Jones fan, I don’t agree with a lot of the things he says and I think his presentation style is somewhere between Chicken Little and a leaf blower–he’s loud, he’s bombastic, and he’s always crying wolf about something. That said, I give the man major credit for being who he is and not giving a good damn, and given his critics and the seriousness they seem to take him with I know he’s got to be on point enough to be worth listening to. Jones is one of the “fake news” bogeymen that the mainstream press and the Democrats hold up as a threat to democracy and somehow manage to do it with a straight face, and it’s Jones’ over-the-top nature that really tells you more about the people who find him threatening than an occasional rant about the government putting something in the water to make frogs gay. Another commenter, I think it was Sargon of Akkad, described Jones as a humble vitamin supplement salesman in response to someone else attacking him as a threat to American democracy, and really, if Alex Jones is a threat to the left, they’re even more pathetic than I thought. All that said, I also give Jones credit for what many others dismiss as “conspiracy theories” such as his overarching obsession with globalism, because many of them are grounded in facts that powerful people just don’t want known. I don’t share his sense of urgency about them but these things are not made up, and I find it reassuring to know there is someone on a hair trigger watching even if he jumps the gun from time to time. As the presidential campaign drew to a close I found myself watching Jones’ YouTube channel more frequently and whatever you might say about him, he proved to be right in the end. In a world where even those who know better will go along to get along, a voice that will always dissent is necessary, you just have to know how to listen to it.
To be continued…