Monday, September 29, 2008

Savage Nation

Often on late night drives I tune into Michael Savage. We do not agree on every issue, but he is independent, and consistent in his beliefs to a point where all his listeners know that he is being honest and on the level. This is a quality that Rush Limbaugh lacks in his thick layers of double talk and synchronized Fox-News talking points. I find it makes Savage, even in his most ludicrous moments of rhetoric more compelling.

He endorses a Libertarian-tainted conservative nationalism. He hates big-government, illegal immigration and call Liberalism a mental disorder. Strangely he has a hatred of liberalism, when so many social conservatives consider him to be a liberal. But politics are like that.. there's a gray scale between the extremes. I like that he defies his party when he smells hypocrisy. He is too competent to suffer fools. He recently spoke out against VP-hopeful Sara Palin.

Savage rose to prominence so recently that we actually know exactly how he made it into radio. Savage, then known as Micheal Weiner, was a friend of beat poet Alan Ginsberg, and writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti. they attended beat poetry readings, and at least some homosexual flirting in correspondence. Weiner was a social worker, and a writer of nutrition books. His career was erratic but displayed a high literacy and ability to adapt.

His conservative bent began to display itself. He applied to be the dean of Graduate Journalism at the University of California, Berkley. He lost out to a Vietnam War protester. He sued the school. He went to his book publisher with a book called Immigrants and Epidemics. it proposed that immigrants were the cause of epidemics. The publisher wouldn't touch it in the middle of the AIDS crisis. He revolted. More here

He felt inspired and in 1994 right after the rejection he recorded a mock radio talk show and mailed it out to 250 radio stations. KGO-AM picked him up as a fill-in for Ray Taliaferro. ithin a year he had his own program at KSFO-AM. He soared to number one. His popularity was a genuine phenomena. By 2006 Talk Radio Network syndicated him coast to coast and he had over 10 million listeners. He's backslid a bit in recent years with the failure of his NBC TV program and the picketing at KNEW and WOR.. but he's still in the overall top 5 for talk radio. You can't beat that.