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Brain Disease The psychosis of Rush Limbaugh
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"In Limbaugh's world, "there never was a surplus" under President Clinton. AIDS "hasn't made that jump to the heterosexual community," and cutting food stamps is harmless because recipients "aren't using them." Two years ago, Limbaugh said the minimum wage was $6 or $7 an hour. Last year, he said gas was $1.29 a gallon."

Brain DiseaseThe psychosis of Rush Limbaugh.

By William Saletan
Posted Friday, Oct. 27, 2006, at 7:49 PM ET

I once had a friend who listened to Rush Limbaugh three hours a day. He was a Republican operative. He sat in my apartment, wearing headphones, while I worked. He swore that if I put on the headphones for 10 minutes, I'd be hooked. So I put them on.

Inside the headphones was another world. Everyone in this world thought the same way, except liberals, and they were only cartoon characters, to be defeated as though in a video game. In the real world, my friend was unemployed and had been staying with me, rent-free, for two months. But inside the headphones, he could laugh about welfare bums instead of pounding the pavement.

I thought about that this week when Limbaugh went after his latest target: Michael J. Fox. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, has been appearing in ads for candidates who support government-funded embryonic stem-cell research. The ads promote this research as a potential cure for Parkinson's and other ailments.

On Monday, Limbaugh played one of the ads for his audience. "In this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh said of Fox. "He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has. ... This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two."

Where had Limbaugh seen Fox? "I've seen him on Boston Legal, I've seen him on a number of stand-up appearances," said Limbaugh. He pointed to Fox's autobiography. Fox "admits in the book that before a Senate subcommittee … he did not take his medication, for the purposes of having the ravages and the horrors of Parkinson's disease illustrated, which was what he has done in the commercials," Limbaugh charged.

In the book, Fox tells the story of his life in the real world—the world his body inhabited, as opposed to the make-believe world Limbaugh saw on television. Fox describes how, during "the years I spent promoting the fiction that none of this was actually happening to me," he learned "to titrate medication so that it kicked in before an appearance or performance … I did everything I could to make sure the audience didn't know I was sick. This, as much as anything, had, by 1998, become my 'acting.' " When he came out of the Parkinson's closet, Fox recalls, he chose "to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease … be seen as well as heard."

Here we have two completely different notions of reality. Fox's job was to portray characters in movies and on television. For him, Parkinson's was an invasion of the fake world by the real one. The medication, designed to hide this from the audience, became part of the fiction. In going off his meds, he was dropping the act.

Limbaugh's life story has gone the other way. His job was to explain politics, a branch of nonfiction. But for him, the fake world has overtaken the real one. He thinks reality is what's on Boston Legal. Anything that doesn't match this must be "acting." If you go off your meds on purpose, you're not revealing your symptoms. You're "portraying" them.

Radio, television, and the Internet greased Limbaugh's descent into fantasy. Years ago, a profile described him "holed up in his New York apartment with Chinese take-out and a stack of rented movies." In another profile, he "complained that he has virtually no social life." Click the video links on his Web site, and you can peer into his world. He sits in a soundproof studio. He never has to go outside.

In Limbaugh's world, "there never was a surplus" under President Clinton. AIDS "hasn't made that jump to the heterosexual community," and cutting food stamps is harmless because recipients "aren't using them." Two years ago, Limbaugh said the minimum wage was $6 or $7 an hour. Last year, he said gas was $1.29 a gallon.

Limbaugh has particular trouble distinguishing reality from entertainment. The abuse at Abu Ghraib "looks just like anything you'd see Madonna or Britney Spears do on stage," he told his listeners. Last month, he defended ABC's 9/11 movie against the document on which it purported to rely: "The 9-11 Commission report, for example, says, well, some of these things didn't happen the way they were portrayed in the movie. How do they know that?"

Last year, Limbaugh, who used a tailbone defect to get out of the Vietnam draft, accused a Democratic candidate of having served in Iraq "to pad the resume." He charged several veterans—including former Sen. Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam—with trying "to hide their liberalism behind a military uniform … pretending to be something that they are not." When war is just another television show, a uniform is just another costume. Liberalism is real; losing your limbs is a pretense.

Which brings us back to stem cells. Limbaugh says Fox's ads dangle a prospect of imminent cures "that is not reality." He's right. But the ads convey another reality: a man dying of a disease that might be cured more quickly if the government dropped its restrictions on research funding. Limbaugh dismisses this as a "script" being followed by Fox's "PR people" and "the entertainment media." Script? Entertainment? This is life and death.

I have another friend. He has Parkinson's. I've seen him on good days and bad days. That's how I know Fox isn't faking it. My friend doesn't see the destruction of embryos as a dangerous price to pay for stem-cell research. I do. But if you worry about the embryos, you had bloody well better look into the eyes of the people dying of these diseases. You had better ask yourself whether slowing research that might save them is an acceptable price for your principles.

If you can't—if all you can see is "acting"—then you need more help than they do. Fox's disease can only take your body. Limbaugh's can take your soul.

A version of this article also appears in the Outlook section of the Sunday Washington Post.

Source: http://www.slate.com/id/2152347/nav/tap1/

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Despite being somewhat irrelevent, this post is probably going places.

Rush is definitely a waste of space.

i stopped reading after "Brain Disease The psychosis of Rush Limbaugh"

But took the effort to make a few clicks to actually post this. Commendable! A good read probably doesn't miss you much.

So you did read "Current mood: cheerful"?

Blegh, he's disgusting. I hate him almost as much as Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter. Or just as much, maybe?

The picture you used for 'flaxen' doesn't make any gat dang sense.

Haha, I know. But he has the lightest hair of them all, so whatevs. I couldn't change the words!

i'm going to eliminate rush limbaugh after i'm done with ashlee simpson.

If only you could find a way to put them in the same place at the same time...

Good to see your priorities are in order :)

Whatever, he's a Republican and he probably uses Internet Explorer.

Both say a lot about a person's intelligence.

wait. what? i don't get it. i use internet explorer.

it's just dumb, sorry to say

Or the size of their hard drive. (My old 2003 laptop with added RAM can't handle Firefox. I refuse to buy a new one till the new Windows platform comes out)

life before firefox was a dark and scary place. i always wonder why people still use IE or Safari if they have a mac. it's crazy.

LOL! Firefox all the way.

I mostly use Firefox but it isn't perfect since it doesn't work on all sites; IE is better with flash sites

he probably also says, "No I swear, it really is 8 inches."

I used to listen to Rush's show on the radio for pure entertainment value. I could never take it seriously, because if I thought his large fanbase actually believed what he spewed, I'd probably have a breakdown.

~let me live in my fantasy~

Michael Savage is funnier, though.

You mean Michael Weiner. Seriously though I think Michael Weiner (Savage) doth protest too much about being gay. Ever see him in those sunglasses and leather jacket, His show is also based out of San Francisco. You do the math.

omg that's me and mike savage


*real quote, minus "blargh"

I have the same sick relationship with Fox News

my dad actually does believe it.
it kinda makes me sad ]:

I agree with him sometimes....

he's sortof right with the FOX incident....Fox was just trying to get support by showing the truth of parkinsons...which isn't wrong, just isn't really him....he doesn't do that in normal everyday life.

No, because he has medication. If he didn't have medication, if there weren't advances in medicine, then he would. Imagine what further advances in medicine could do for him then....

yes....and the use of fetus stem cells haven't done anything yet, and there is no indication they will

that being said, I do think fetal stem cells should be used, sparingly.

So that doesn't say a thing about the numerous other reasons why stem cell research would prove to help thousand of people with numerous new cures and treatments, one single case attesting to complete disregard is foolish.

You know this because you spend time with Michael J Fox during his normal every day life do you?

So really, what does he do in normal every day life? Smoke cuban cigars and drink martinis garnished with little dead baby swizzle sticks?

Someone put Fatty McOxycontin out of his misery already.

i just choked on my Rice Krispies. hahahaha

Anyway who takes Limbaugh seriously needs to have their head examined. CNN has turned against Bush and so has MSNBC and Limabugh's ratings have gone down 50 percent. People who listen to Limbaugh at this point would have been the same people who believed the earth was flat after Columbus sailed the world.




i agree, but the history nerd in me must point out that most people around columbus's time did actually realize the earth is round. it's just a fun part to add to the story to tell the kiddies and make it really look like he was valiant and intrepid when he was really just killing and raping the innocent. what a hero, that guy. im glad we have a national holiday to celebrate that kind of worth ethic. i've been reading too much howard zinn . . .

Ah Yes! Well then I stand corrected. Columbus was a nasty man as was Cortez too. Well then before it was proven the earth was round. I am sure even after there was solid evidence that the earth was round, you had that group that it was convinced it was still just as you have that group of people who still think what Rush says is true.

Rush Limbaugh is a loathesome troll.

I think the "e" was right in the first place.

While we're talking politics, let's talk about the hotness of BARACK OBAMA!!!

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Too bad he'll probably never be president :(

we can always dream. :)

No offense but why do you actually want him to be president?

because he's hot

and he reminds me of Wayne Brady

My mom loves him so much.

Sometimes family is awesome.

hell yeah he might!!!!!!


I bought his book! I've yet to read it though

Yea I'd agree but he's from Illinois and it's impossible for our politicians to not be corrupt, so him as presidential candidate would probably be a bad move for the Democrats.

What? He is totally going to be president. He won't run in the next one, tho. The one after is when he'll run and win. I'M PSYCHIC AND I KNOW.

2012 will be his year. I hope he can keep his sanity until then.

i met him once and it was the most awesome day ever.

I want him to be President too, even though I have absolutely no say in what goes on in America (yet). Mostly because when he is elected, 50 thousand racists will explode, and we can loot their houses for stuff to sell on eBay.

i thought parkinsons was not fatal? it's debilitating but the disease itself cant kill someone

Re: its not fatal....


2006-10-30 02:25 am (UTC)

Correct --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_disease#Prognosis

Since it breaks down the CNS, you're more susceptible to other problems which is often what kills those that have it.

I am not sure, but I believe that as a result, you can develop breathing problems and die of pneumonia.

Re: its not fatal....


2006-10-30 03:23 am (UTC)

My father has Parkinson's. Before they realised and put him on meds, he shook so much he couldn't feed himself, which in the case of someone with no supports who couldn't afford medication *could* actually result in death by starvation. Ew.

in the same way that AIDS doesn't cause death in itself, true. But i think that's splitting hairs.

Re: its not fatal....


2006-10-30 07:46 am (UTC)

it's not fatal in the same way hiv in and of itself isn't fatal. diseases like parkinsons or hiv can lead to opportunistic infections that will kill someone.

Re: its not fatal....


2006-10-31 12:19 am (UTC)

It's fatal in the way that many many many diseases are (HIV, cystic fibrosis, etc.). It wears at your nervous system until you are easily prone to other infections (most often bacterial) and then you die in really awful, painful ways.

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