Sunday, August 9, 2009

The New Yorker's Sympathetic Portrait of Michael Savage!!!

I was completely astounded by an article (here) in the August 3 New Yorker by Kelefa Sanneh.

Sanneh writes about Michael Savage, whose show I periodically hear on WINA -- I think it's on around 8 or 9 PM. Actually, I think WINA may have cancelled the show at some point last year because of controversial remarks Savage made about autism.

I'd have described Savage as the most right-wing of all the right-wing radio hosts; his comments on immigrants and "Islamo-fascists" are particularly offensive.

The incredible thing is that Sanneh's piece is quite sympathetic, portraying Savage as an independent thinker who is engaged by the deepest philosophical questions (and who has a fun habit of crazy free associations).

One of the take-aways is that Savage delves into politics as much to distract himself from his own fatalistic thoughts as for any other reason:
"Savage never quite seems able to convince himself that the forces of righteousness will prevail; indeed, he often gives voice to a sneaking suspicion that it doesn't much matter.

Sitting on his deck, he cheerfully admitted as much. 'I watch shows where they're digging up a mummy from four thousand years ago, bothering a tomb ... That person shaved, brushed his teeth with a stick ... And now what? Who the f*** knows what his politics were?"
The other really interesting thing is that, prior to becoming a radio host in 1994, Savage (who until then went by his given name, Michael Weiner), was a prolific writer of books about holistic medicine!! Unbelievable!!

Having read Sanneh's article I definitely want to listen to Savage again -- something tells me I'm still going to be put-off, but he sure seems like a more complex guy than I'd have previously given him credit for.

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