Brevity Is the Key to Making the Complex Understandable

RUSH: David in Denver, Colorado. Great to have you with us. Hello, sir.

CALLER: Good afternoon, Rush. I just wanted to take the opportunity to really thank you for making any life easier in two respects. One, we've got this constant inflow of information that's coming into us all the time, from all sides. It used to be that, you know, we only had the three networks. Now we've got all of this, internet and all this other information, and it's so nice for me to be able to skim through that information in the morning and then catch your show in the afternoon or when I'm done with work, listen to the podcast, and be able to understand what all that means. The second thank-you is helping me... I can't share this with anybody, but helping me in getting a gift for my wife. Without much research, I went out and purchased Boll & Branch sheets for her, and I didn't tell her that they were recommended by you.

RUSH: Why not?

CALLER: Um, because she's kind of like a Rush widow, you know, like with football.

RUSH: She's like a Rush widow? Ohhhh, I get it. I get it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. She kind of gets mad that you spend so much time here.



CALLER: Yeah. I married up. So I've got to, you know, constantly be... (chuckles) You know, I've gotta be earning that. So, yeah. But they came in the beautiful box and everything. I don't want to get off my original topic but they came in original box; she was ecstatic. I didn't worry about anything in terms of the quality. She pulled them out; she loved them. We put them on the bed that night and she was just in heaven. So thank you for that as well.

RUSH: Well, you're more than welcome. Look, I appreciate your comments here on being able to understand things here. One of the things that I've always strived to do is make the complex understandable. I have an operational theory about something. If I cannot explain it to myself, then I don't try explaining it to anybody else, and there's a whole lot of stuff out there that's complicated. And there's different kinds of people. There are people who communicate by writing, and they are verbose.

They use many more words than are necessary when compared to the spoken word. The more words you use, the more complexity you are including. So I have to take a lot of things and strip 'em down. You can take... What I try to do is take a 10-paragraph news story, and if I can make it into one paragraph, then I can explain it to you. If I can't take those 10 paragraphs and boil 'em down to one paragraph, then I set 'em aside until I can.

Everybody can be edited. No matter how much you think you've taken out, there's still a lot more to take out. A great artist will tell you -- be it a painter, a photographer, a great artist, a wordsmith like me -- will tell you that when you're putting the final touches on something, it's what you take out, not what you add. Attention spans being what they are, they're dwindling. If the oven is to communicate, to make a connection and then hopefully be persuasive, you have to boil everything down to its essence as best you can.

And even I, once I start going on something, the more I understand it, the more verbosity I tend to use. So I'm trying to always pare things down. But it's been an objective of mine. And I'll tell you, it's getting harder and harder. Journalism... I don't know what they're being taught, but the degree or the level of skill and talent in writing today, in professional journalism, is lacking considerably. When you have to read a sentence three times to understand what whoever wrote it meant, that makes me mad.

It makes me mad that I'm being forced to waste my time here, and I'm not talking about technical things like science or specialized medical terminology. Just basic sentence structure -- you know, with commas in the right places, the right kind of punctuation. So I appreciate you noting taking the complexity and making it understandable, because it's something that I've had to work on for myself to be able to make complex things understandable to me and then find a way to pass 'em on. So I'm very, very flattered that you noticed.

This article originally appeared on Rush Limbaugh

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