Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bum's Rush

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.

Tim - Sundays


  1. He doesn't feel bad about anything he said, just trying to save the sponsors who withdrew from his show. I surely hope she's talking to lawyers to sue for the pain and suffering he's caused her. And, for more than just 'beer-can change'.
    I hope that the world at large doesn't think that all Americans are like Rush.

  2. The best post I've ever read in my whole life. Signed, the mom of a now 7 yr old girl who will need birth-control pills when she first starts menstruating for medicinal purposes because of her complicated health condition. I'm pretty sure she isn't nor will be a 'slut' when she receives her first prescription, the same time I pick up her other life-saving prescriptions. And we won't have forced her into prostitution, like some poor children in other countries. Personally, I think prostitutes should just be given birth control. I mean do we really want reproductive accidents on such a regular basis? And why are we not seeing such a debate for prescription coverage for erectile dysfunction? Medicare covers it if you are over 65. Many insurance companies partially cover it so the co-pay is high but it is still not "full price" in standard pharmaceutical prices. Furthermore...why is this even an issue? Who gives a shit? Take the Pill, don't take it. It's a written prescription. Cover it fully, partially or offer programs to help get it in the hands of those who can't afford it. Perhaps Rush and Congress can spend these valuable hours figuring out how to help the already born children whom are without food or shelter, or helping people in dire straights because working two jobs isn't enough, or those who can't find work and are unable to feed their family and heat the house. My food is terminally ill. That's what I worry about. I don't care if Sally down the street takes the Pill - for health reasons or good sex. I do care if there is a 14-year-old girl who is abused on a regular basis and should be on the Pill but can't get it. This debate is a ridiculous waste of time and energy. (Congress, how about tossing this and getting to work on flipping' gas prices before we go back to horse and nuggets.)

    1. Darn auto correct. Terminally ill daughter, not food.

  3. Limbaugh started out on his radio career in my hometown. According to Wikipedia he was fired, told by management that he "would never make it as on air talent," and moved on to another town.

    In other words, Pittsburgers did their part, it the rest of the country that blew it.

  4. Wonderful post. You note Limbaugh's "apology." I have a friend who is an excellent teacher, now retired. She says Rush's "apology" says just what teenage bullies say--"It was just a joke. Everyone understands that." Bullying brings violence and suicide, not just among teenagers but among others bullied such as gays, women, people bullied because of their race, religion, or appearance. We need to speak out against bullying at every turn, especially when it is done by "celebrities" like Rush.

    A bunch of us in the US are writing Mr. Limbaugh's advertisers asking them to drop the show because of the violence it encourages through Rush's bullying.

    Thanks for this post.

  5. What we all should be doing is contacting the FCC to get him off the air permanently because of his obscenity in general.

  6. Ironic that the "slut" Rushbo was taunting was, in fact, speaking on behalf of a friend who needs contraception for health reasons.
    Also ironic is that Rushbo doesn't seem to understand contraception. It doesn't matter how many times you have sex per day, you just take one pill. He makes it sound like a woman has to pop pills constantly to keep up with her enormous sex drive.
    One more irony: his apology wasn't really an apology. It was a "I should have used better words" to describe how this lady is, in fact, a slut.
    And another: Rushbo's whole complaint was that taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for women to have sex. As it turns out, students are paying in full for coverage; the contraception part was taken away because Catholics don't endorse contraception; that cost was taken up by insurance providers. So the whole concept of taxpayers have to pay for this woman to have sex has no basis in reality.
    Rushbo doesn't speak for all Americans, but he does speak for a great many of them and his purile rantings are listened to by 20 million people daily. He is the spiritual head of the Republican party and what he says has great influence and can greatly sway voters who take him seriously.
    FoxNews had a female anchor and two female guests discussing the matter as it happened, and they all took the same tact as Rushbo, albeit in more tactful terms. It's not like Rushbo is an exception to the rule. He did it in such a crude fashion that it backfired.

  7. Sheesh, Tim, why don't you pick on someone your own size instead of a pipsqueak like Rush?

    Loved it. :-)

    By the way, did you ever notice that there's only a one-letter difference between Rush and Bush? I'm sure there's something of astrological significance there. Maybe it means they're both a dush? They both gush from the wrong end. I just wish they'd both hush. (Let's not even go near 'lush.') But after 8 years of Bush and what seems like eternity of Rush, my mind is turning to mush. Perhaps someone could give a push at an opportune moment? That would be a kick in the tush...

  8. Rush's rage against women correlates with his supply of viagra-which the taxpayer pays for. It seems that the powers that be want men to have sex, but they don't think women should have sex. Now I ask you-what kind of a conundrum is that? When I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper on the love/hate relationship men had with women-in the Renaissance. Times haven't changed much, at least in part of the populace. And, Everett, you made me laugh, which is probably the first time in this whole despicable incident. Now make me laugh over Sanctorum.

  9. The young woman testifying in front of the Democrats was speaking about oral contraception being covered by health insurers.

    As the second poster mentioned the pill is often prescribed to women for reasons other than birth control. It is often the first course of action for women who want to conceive. It is often prescribed for women who have highly irregular cycles.

    What is almost funny is that Rush doesn't seem to know how the pill works. The student testified that over the course of the three years in law school women would have to pay $3000.00 for the pill. Rush called her vile names because it seems he thinks she was saying she was going to have sex 3000 times. Viagra works differently and Rush knows how it works because he was caught carrying a prescription bottle with a name other than his. Of course, Rush may have just been focusing on the fact that the discussion gave him the opportunity to express his misogyny again.

    Rush hates women. His primary audience is men. If men don't turn Rush off and let him know why, they are tacitly agreeing that their wives, mothers sisters, and daughters are what Rush claims them to be.

  10. Well, Lil, if I were channeling Rush "To Judgement" Limbaugh, I'd have to point out to you that Rick Santorum rhymes with Sick Rectum.

    Just saying...

    Fortunately, I'm too nice to dive into that cesspool of behavior!

  11. This story made it across to the pond to the UK, where the few 'shock jocks' we have are no more than bar-room bores and about as popular. Even the craziest crackpot columnist in our defiled and degraded (and as it increasingly turns out, corrupt) right-wing press wouldn't go anywhere near the foul territory where Rush pitched his flaccid flagpole. I'd like to think that pressure might be brought to bear on those who use his show to advertise but i presume he's just too popular, and that lame excuse for an excuse was a way to prevent him following Glen Beck down the U-bend.

    Coupled with the pronouncements of Rick Santorum - again reported widely over here - and the image, for those who don't know better, of a society hurtling headlong into some reactionary, evangelical abyss with only a few right-minded secular folk fighting the good fight continues to grow. I know the President is a failure in your eyes Tim, but governing anywhere near the left when half your electorate seem to be in la-la land must be pretty damn tough. Right know he seems a reassuring figure of sanity to those outside the US looking on in slack-jawed disbelief.

  12. Thank you, Everett. This does invite a lot of puns, etc. Helps with the sick making rhetoric.

  13. I don't agree with Tim either on the president. On inauguration day in 2009, Rush Limbaugh announced to his sycophants that he was going to do everything in his power to guarantee that "this president fails." He has so much influence over the Republicans and the right wing, that the Republicans won the House of Representatives. The Democrats are the majority in the Senate but only by a small majority. The Democrats are so afraid of losing their seats in the 2012 election that they don't support the president. The miracle is that Obama has been able to accomplish anything at all.

    Obama is hated by the right and that is in no small part due to racism. The night Obama was elected, I was on two telephones, one for each daughter. One daughter was at a house party, the other was in a bar in New York City. Everyone wanted to be with someone when the results were announced. When we knew Obama had won, there was joyous noise and tears. I think most people felt as I did. The noise was celebration that we had won after eight years of Bush. The tears were a celebration too; we realized that as a country, we were better than we thought we were.

    Slowly and quietly, President Obama is getting the job done. I remember every president since Eisenhower. I have never been as proud of our leader as I am of Obama. He is morally upright, committed to family and country. When I see him and the First Lady I am proud that these two people are the face of the United States.

    I am a Catholic. Rick Santorum represents the Catholic church as it was in the 1950's,before Vatican II. Can you imagine that man representing the multi-cultural United States. Santorum is too far right to be a legitimate possibility (I hope). Romney is simply abhorrent. Romney is campaigning on his success in turning around failing companies. His stock strategy was to get rid of the workers. Unemployment is higher than it has ever been and he will put more people out of work. He has said that he won't do anything for the poor because enough is being done for them now. Then he says he is going to dismantle their safety net.

    As I recall, you wrote a book that had Mormon characters. Right now there is a flap going on regarding the Mormon practice of holding ceremonies to baptize Jews who were killed during the Holocaust.

    I, too, look on in slack-jawed disbelief.

    The daughter who lives in NYC was on her lunch break one day when all the cross streets were closed. Obama had been at the UN. She saw him as he went by. He was waving and smiling and she said it made her feel safe just to see him. Please God sanity wins out in November,

  14. Anonymous 1, even Ron Paul backed up your point today, going on the record to say that Limbaugh isn't sorry, just trying to hang onto his advertisers. This is, in fact, exactly the kind of reaction this gasbag wants -- his ratings always jump when he says something waaayyyyy over the line.

    Anonymous 2, thank you so much for the praise, but it's easy to write about Rush. He's such a horror show. One of the lingering effects of our religious heritage being from one of the Desert God religions is the unspoken assumption that female sexuality is dark and evil and must be controlled (the mother Christians most idealize is, of course a virgin) and that male sexuality is somehow natural and good and expressive of the life force. The Congressional panel was ALL MALE. The witnesses (I think) were ALL MALE. The far right would rather a thirteen-year-old rape victim bear a child than that she should have access to contraception or (God save us) abortion. Problem is, their interest in the unborn child stops the moment it's born, which is when liberals begin to worry about it.

    Jeff, I don't blame Pittsburgh for Limbaugh, but the Steelers???? Jeesh.

    Joe, that's exactly what Limbaugh is, a bully. And he's a mean-spirited, semi-fascist, sexist, misogynous, racist bully. Even measured against aberrations like the low-hairlined Sean Hannity, the nasal rageaholic Mark Levin, and the utterly batso Glenn Beck, Limbaugh is in a class by himself. His status as the nation's most-listened-to radio personality does not speak well for America.

    Thank you, Naomi. I appreciate it.

  15. Beth, I disagree that we should be agitating to have him pulled off the air. I think freedom of speech is endangered enough in this country without shutting down radio shows because they're loathsome.

    Very funny, Nick -- I hadn't thought about it. He does seem to think you have to take more pills if you have more sex, although that may be a natural assumption on the part of someone who used pills that DID have a quantitative effect. Twelve, fifteen Oycodone, and he was in the Rush Zone. It's been interesting to see the Fox clones (the incredibly vile Bill O'Reilly, for example) back Rush up, only to be left high and dry by the apology.

    Made me laugh, Everett. Although you left out that neither Rush nor Bush knows how to blush, and both need to.

    Lil, exactly right. The far right thinks it's fine for men to have sex but not so good for women to do it, which may be why all these Republican "family values" Congressmen are sitting in toilet stalls tapping out Morse code with their penny loafers.

    Beth, Limbaugh's audience is 72% male and 28% female, and I suppose the only question that raises is, Who ARE these women? Faux News, on the other hand, draws more women than men, although not by much -- 52% female, 48% male. There's no doubt that Limbaugh has female trouble -- among other things, he's had four wives, three divorces, and no children. Once again, Who ARE these women?

    Dan, some of his sponsors HAVE ditched him, but there's a rotating lottery for what's called "spot buys" on any high-rated show, and even if all Limbaugh's continuing sponsors packed it in, El Rushbo's commercial time would still be sold out. Santorum, or "Sanctorum," as I've seen it misspelled, is backpedaling from some of his more insane statements, such as saying that the separation of church and state makes him want to vomit, but one of the problems Romney faces (almost never directly talked about) is that he's a Mormon, and one of the undertones of Santorum's "just-back-from-my-30-days-in-the-wilderness" tone is that he's a fundamentalist Christian and Romney belongs to, ummm, a sect.

    And my problems with Obama are not rooted in his not being different from these extremists. They're rooted in his not being different enough. A "moderate" Democrat these days is farther right than a "liberal" Republican of 30 or 40 years ago. Also, Obama doesn't fight the fight he talks, which became apparent (to me) the moment he capped his "hope and change" campaign by selecting as his vice president one of Washington's most egregious insiders and hacks, a guy who thinks a "principle" is someone who runs an elementary school. Nevertheless, I'll hold my nose and vote for him, which is actually a way of indicating tacit acceptance of the fact that the American political system is rigged to deliver us no candidates we actually want to see in office. I understand why Ron Paul's backers are so enthusiastic -- they've got someone who actually (usually) means what he says.

  16. Hi, Beth --

    I do indeed have a different opinion of President Obama than you do, although I voted for him and even gave him money. He is, to me, the most disappointing political figure in modern memory, because he invited us to put such high hopes on them, and then he equivocated his way through two years in which he had both houses of Congress behind him, spent most of his political capital on health care, backed the Bush wars, increasing out presence in Afghanistan and not pulling us out of Iraq until it would have embarrassed him in an election not to have done it, bailed out the banks and the insurance companies (supporting Wall Street at the cost of Main Street) and abandoned those who have been foreclosed on, identified lots of entities that were "too big to fail" and made clear through his policies that most of the rest of us were too small to protect, did nothing at all about the spiraling deficit except light fire to more money, failed to rein in defense, failed to slow the growth of the government, failed to protect consumers against banks, failed to hold up his end on women's issues until elections were drawing near, went after Internet privacy and WikiLeaks rather than the chicanery they exposed, and I can go on for pages and pages. In the end, I think he's just another professional politician with his hands in the pockets of the military-industrial complex, a species that, if natural selection did its job, would be extinct by now. He made us believe he was a leader, and he's just another politician.

    But that's just me. I don't like any politicians at this point. This nation has been ridden into the ground by politicians.

  17. I think the reason Rush is confused about how birth control pills work is that he thinks they're like his Viagra -- necessary to get it up, each and every time.

    Wonderful rant, wonderful comments, I agree with everything that's said here.

    Here's a modest proposal by a Ohio legislator to treat men's health issues with the same caring and concern as all these wonderful men claiming to speak on our behalf do.

  18. Beth, I wrote my response before you wrote your second note. We'd probably have to talk in person for hours before we found common ground. As I say, I'll vote for him, but not with any joy.

    Lisa, dead on. And the Ohio proposal is hilarious and makes perfect sense. TRAVEL DIGEST just published an issue on the ten cities with the hottest men and the ten cities with the hottest women. With exactly one exception, all 20 hotties were Caucasian, and the cities in which they lived were as white as Finland. And that's STILL not as bad as the masterminds in Congress empowering a panel on women's health and reproductive issues without a single woman on it.