Those of you who don't live in North America are fortunate not to be sharing a continent with Rush Limbaugh.
If you're among the lucky few who haven't heard of Limbaugh, he's a vile, porcine rabble-rouser who is, unfortunately, the most brilliant practitioner of that most doleful form of public discourse, politically conservative talk radio. I believe that we do ourselves no favors by underestimating our enemies, so I will acknowledge right here, up front, that Limbaugh is the best of a really appalling bunch. He knows his audience and their prejudices intimately, his frame of reference is enormous, and he possesses a kind of brutish, blunt-object eloquence that's uniquely persuasive to those who believe that "progress" is a balls-out retreat to a less inclusive, less dark-skinned, less female world.
He's also a drug abuser who deputized members of his household staff to fill prescriptions for literally thousands of tablets of junkie popcorn -- Hydrocodone and Oxcodone, to name two. Most people who did this would go to jail, but in Limbaugh's America, of course, some swine are more equal than others, so when the investigation became public, he avoided prosecution by submitting to a backbreaking 30 days in an outpatient program. Three years later he was arrested and booked (although not handcuffed) for "doctor shopping." Once again, justice was swift and severe: he was held for one grueling hour, and then arranged to have all charges dropped in exchange for paying $30,000 to offset the cost of the investigation. To Rush Limbaugh, $30,000 is beer-can change.
American justice may be blind, but she listens to the radio.
Limbaugh recently reached a new low, which is the moral equivalent of sinking a deep shaft at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. A female college student--whom I won't name because I think what Limbaugh did to her is the verbal equivalent of a sex crime--was denied the opportunity to testify before the panel of rickety, prune-mouthed old men appointed by the U.S. Congress, in its infinite wisdom, to look into government policies regarding women's health and reproductive care. (This is the legislative version of the Victorian tradition in which the ladies "withdrew" after dinner to discuss brands of lavender-water and the latest tatting techniques while the men smoked cigars and settled the issues of the day.)
If she had been allowed to testify, the young woman would have said that she felt that birth control should be covered by government funding. Her sentiments led Limbaugh to label her a "slut" and a "prostitute" and to suggest that, if she wants the American taxpayer to fund protection for her more intimate moments, she should videotape them and make them available to us all.
This sewer talk could be dismissed as the addled rantings of a drug-deluded pill popper except that Limbaugh is widely regarded as one of the beacons of the Repuglican Party, a sort of wide-waisted Delphic oracle for the release of trial balloons. In an election year in which some Repuglicans have scaled new heights of fundamentalist Christian rhetoric, this Elmer Gantry-like condemnation of female sexuality is more than a bit chilling.
Elmer Gantry, of course, was a hypocrite, advocating a morality he didn't practice. It's worth noting in this regard that Limbaugh, pillar of rectitude that he is, was caught by U.S. customs on his return from a "vacation" in the Dominican Republic with a great many Viagra tablets in his luggage -- tablets prescribed for someone else. (Shades of Oxycodone!) Limbaugh made a joke about it, saying, among other things, "I had a great time in the Dominican. Wish I could tell you about it."
Please, Rush, don't. I beg of you. Don't. And please don't show the videos.
P.S. Limbaugh "apologized" this morning, saying that when he called the young woman a "slut" and "a prostitute," it was not intended as "a personal attack." Well, everything's all better now.