Meet the Man Behind

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On the morning of March 7, Mario Lurig, a 32-year-old "author, web developer, and chocolatier" who resides in the Greater Denver area, was on the Internet, catching up on the latest happenings involving Rush Limbaugh, the word "slut," and a woman named Sandra Fluke. Lurig says he'd been following the story for days, particularly as a friend of his had been contacting advertisers and expressing her displeasure over the situation. Even though, as he says, the Internet had started to "move on to Kony," he was still staring at an article and thinking, like so many, of Limbaugh, "I don't like the guy." He continues, "He's inflammatory, it's what he does, and he does it well. But where's the humanity? Is there sincerity in the apology?" Lurig wondered, Is anyone defending him?

A quick Internet search led him to the available domain, And with that, an Internet joke was born. According to Lurig, his site has attracted 200,000 unique visitors, with approximately 2 more every second. This, even as "Rushgate" has slowed from a boil to a simmer. 

The concept of is simple. It's a one-liner, basically, functioning on the element of surprise -- what will you get when you go to such a site, which describes itself as "a fan site for supporters of Rush's opinions about Sandra Fluke and other matters"?

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Expecting outrage, when you click you instead find a succinct payoff on the joke, plus two news links, about advertisers dropping from the Limbaugh Show and the band Rush sending a cease and desist letter to the radio host. But mainly, it's the joke. Since the site's launch on the 7th at about 1:00 in the afternoon, people have shared it on Facebook some 16,000 times and retweeted it 1,400 times. It was on Reddit. As these things go, it's a viral hit. "Even at 3 a.m. last night it was getting a new visitor every 1 and a half seconds," says Lurig. "I never expected this. I thought, it was funny to me, and now when other people share it and laugh at it it makes my day better."

Lurig has the domain for a year, and though he's being urged to put ads on it (maybe he could pick up some of Rush's orphans?), says, "It's just a one-off joke! I would love to know if the people at Politico [their article is one of Lurig's links] are like, we're still getting traffic from this?"
If Limbaugh does something else outrageous, Lurig says, he might change the site again. But he says should also exist as a reminder. In this day in which news stories grab our attention and work us into a frenzy in a 24- or 48-hour period before we blithely move on to the next, "This is still crappy. He's still on the air, and people are giving him money to do what he does. It just feels wrong."
The biggest boon of course would be for Rush himself to comment and bring this all full-circle. "I'd love for him to come and say this is slanderous or something, and I'd say, 'How is this any different than what you do? Just because I don't have people paying me to say it?'" Lurig pauses. "I feel like I have the Internet behind me."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.