On the Friday edition of “Savage Nation,” right-wing talk show host Michael Savage said that President Obama is trying to destroy America by bringing “Third World haters” into the country and provoking white people to revolt against the government.But whenever I'm reminded of the ugliness of Savage's soul, I think back to the appalling profile of Savage that appeared in The New Yorker in 2009. That profile, by Kelefa Sanneh, portrayed Savage as an existential hipster and wildly inventive word-jazz artist cruelly deprived of the bien-piensant cult audience he richly deserves:
“The white man is a quiet man and a peaceful man,” Savage said, “and right now the white man is very, very quiet, and very, very peaceful, and like many dictators before him, Barack Obama thinks the white man will remain quiet and subdued forever. Hitler made that mistake; Hitler boasted that his supermen, his Hitler Youth, would easily wipe the floor with the GI Joes that were being sent over.... But it was the white man who defeated Superman in World War II. Let me tell you something else, you push the white man only so far, you’re going to have a reaction like you’ve never seen.”
Even in this world of born-again refuseniks, Michael Savage is an anomaly: a heretic among heretics....The only people for Savage are the mad ones! Savage saw the best minds of his generation destroyed by madness! ... Or, um, Obamacare. I forget which.
What he gives those listeners is one of the most addictive programs on radio, and one of the least predictable.... he delivers his analysis and his anecdotes in a vinegary New York accent, occasionally seasoned with Yiddish, and this voice alone conveys something of the nostalgia he feels for his boyhood in the Bronx and Queens, in the forties and fifties.
... Savage’s regular listeners ... know him to be, more days than not, a marvellous storyteller, a quirky thinker, and an incorrigible free-associater. He sometimes sounds less like a political commentator than like the star of a riveting and unusually vivid one-man play (he frequently dumps callers, even sympathetic ones, after about a sentence and a half), or a fugitive character out of a Philip Roth novel. Savage seems resigned to the fact that the majority of Americans, including many of his own listeners, just don’t get it -- just don’t get him -- and never will. He is a permanent resident of the political wilderness, sending daily dispatches back to the diseased civilization that the rest of us call home....
On his radio show that afternoon, Savage had played tracks by Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane, and he sought to draw a line connecting the music he loved as a boy, the herbal medicine he practiced as a young man, and the political philosophy he advocates now: in each case, he said, he was after a kind of freedom....
This is your "liberal media" -- always willing to give a vicious ideologue the benefit of the doubt, always operating on the assumption that it's rude to take one's own side in an argument, even when (or especially when) the person on the other side is an unreconstructed hatemonger. You go to the "liberal" press and read puff pieces on Megyn Kelly and tongue baths for Tom Cotton, and you think, Well, those two are within the pale, more or less. There are limits, right? Well, yes, there are limits. If you actually don a sheet and declare yourself a Klansman, as David Duke did, yes, the liberal media will allow as how you're really rather de trop. But short of that, any frothing hater can be an underappreciated genius in the eyes of the coastal media.