Rush Limbaugh believes that “the Left” will attempt to ban the sport of football. This strikes me as unlikely, although it is possible that the game will decrease in popularity in a few more decades, for that is the way with all such pastimes. And if that should come to pass, Limbaugh has left himself with a convenient scapegoat: the nebulous “Left”.
While making this prediction, Limbaugh mused:
“You know, nothing in the fifties, Leave It To Beaver was never as great and peaceful, painless, and idyllic as people’s memories make it. But there were things about the past that were worth preserving that aren’t being preserved. We have a genuine cultural rot taking place and an overtaking of our culture — the chickification and the New Castrati and so forth. I’m just telling you, it’s gonna happen. Somebody is going to propose banning football as it’s played, whether that thing the league fears or not happens — and it may even be a member of the media that suggests it.”
The first three sentences of that excerpt are fascinating. The first and second are so because Limbaugh immediately and instinctively thinks of the 1950s as a “good time”. He is careful to qualify it, of course, but it’s still the first thing that sprang to his mind as an example of things “worth preserving”. It’s not even relevant to his football point, because football didn’t really catch on until the 1960s. It’s a gut reaction.
(It also ought to be noted that, in a convenient coincidence given the topic of my last post, that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was talk of banning football, but it was nixed by Theodore Roosevelt, who simply called for changes to the rules of the game, rather than its abolition. The parallels with his approach to socialism previously discussed may be of interest.)
The third sentence of Limbaugh’s is really quite something. He, like most nationalists, is quite keen on preserving traditional gender roles. However, it seems to me that one could oppose football even from a nationalist perspective, by arguing that harming oneself in a meaningless game is simply not a productive way of serving the nation. Not that I am interested in making such an argument. I like watching football, after all.
I may be wrong, but I believe Limbaugh has articulated an entire worldview in these three sentences. The 1950s are supposed to have been the zenith of “traditional values”. (Here’s what I have to say about that story.)
The 1950s are really quite important, I think. I have never tested this, but I suspect it may be possible to know a person’s politics quite completely by listening to the tone with which they say “the 1950s”. For the cosmopolitans, it is a time of repression and discrimination and ridiculousness; for the nationalists… well, you have just seen for yourself.
A final note: I wonder if the Limbaughs of the world ever stop to think that the groundwork for the prosperity in the 1950s was laid by FDR. Probably not.