by Art Chantry:
’tis a puzzlement. this mysteriously indecipherable logo has (over the last 20+ years) become one of the most reviled, dreaded, divisive and beloved (and extraordinary profitable) images in broadcasting history. we see it constantly – in news clips, product, swag, manifestos, private jets, billboards, etc. etc. etc. what the hell is it? what does it say? what does it mean? how can we stop it?!?
this is rush limbaugh’s logo. for years and years i’ve casually seen this thing pop up on my television screen (usually over rush’s head) and i’ve looked at it with my designer’s eye and wondered. what is it? i don’t get it. i thought for years it was a really bad amatuerish monogram-style mark (made of interlocking letterforms that created a whole image). but, is that really an “R” for “rush”?? and i can almost make out an “L”, but it’s not at the end, like i figger it should be. try as i might, i’ve never been able to wrap and distort a cap R in my mind into any shape that remotely resembles that squiggle, or a cap L into something that ended in two round blobs. i assumed it was just a REALLY BADLY DESIGNED monogram made out of some example of rush’s signature (an autograph or something.)
for a long time i also tried to make it into a picture that represented rush to me. my starting point was that famous profile/doodle ‘logo’ of alfred hitchcock that he used in the titles of his old telelvision show for years (that doodle was actually drawn by alfred hitchcock himself). so, i began to see those two rounded loops on either side of that vertival middle stroke as rolls of fat – like a double chin or maybe some belly flaps. that stuck with me for years as rush’s battles with weight-gain came and went (usually in sync with his drug addictions). for a long time, i decided that middle stroke was a big penis (for obvious rrasons – i think he’s a dick).
but, no. none of thiese ideas held up at all. for over 20 long years of suffering through this man’s endless blubberings of hate and vile nonsense and lies, i’ve pondered that trademark of his. i JUST DON’T GET IT.
well, turns out it’s a little weirder than i thought. that mark contains the letters “E.I.B”. no kidding. EIB. makes no sense. but, it’s an abbreviated acronym for the catch phrase “excellence in broadcasting”. it’s a brutal simplification of a catch phrase that rush has adopted as his ‘logo’. the phrase never really had any actually ‘title’ reference. it was never a company name, or the name of anything. the show of his has been sold so many times that any link was lost long ago and it’s now copyrighted by rush himself to promote his swag and brand identity. he’s co-opted the concept of “excellence in broadcasting” as his personal mantra and brand identity. ironic, isn’t it?
so, this ubiquitous little squiggle of mystery is what rush uses to sell his product to his sycophants. and trust me – they gobble it all up as fast as they also bought fake gold from glenn beck to ward off the coming apocalypse. i imagine rush has it tatoooed on his fat pimply shoulder blade. mystery solved. however, i have no idea who did this mark or under what process it evolved. probably never will know. just as well.
which brings me to another interesting rush story. since the very beginning of his show, he’s used a snip of the pretenders’ “my city was gone” as his theme music. that always bothered me. it made me often wonder what sort of politics chrissie hinds subscribed to. was she some closet right winger? it’s always a surprise to find put who actually is, ya know.
in the late 90′s, chrissie finally sued him over copyright infring
t (that’s when the laws finally tightened up enough for her to act). you may note that he still uses it. that’s becasue he and chrissie agreed upon a puntative ‘rental’ settlement – $100,000 a year to use it. all that money she donates to PETA.
the entire industry that surrounds rush must be riddled with stories like that.
AC:it’s also more like elvis presley’s personal trademark “T.C.B.” elvis would put this on his personal clothing and possessions and had gold jewelry made with a graphic version of it (with lightning bolts, i seem to remember) and give them away to cherished friends. it even became a catch phrase he tossed about in conversation. it stood for “taking care of business.”…
…bannantyne books used that same monogram back int he 50′s and 60′s. it’s on all of those richard powers covers. i think the ‘double B ranch’ monogram has been around around as long as god. so, it’s no great design achievement to come up with that particular combo….