Americans love blooper reels, because
sometimes it’s just more fun to watch someone suffer than it is to
watch them succeed. We ooh and ahh on cue to the misfortunes of
athletes, and sometimes even laugh. It’s sick, sure, but somewhat
understandable. Take, for example, the most common of all blooper
clips – a skateboarder is sliding down a staircase, and then he
loses control and falls onto the handrail. From the moment he makes
contact with the rail, smashing his genitals into his abdomen, it
is obvious that he is in a fair amount of distress, yet I usually
am entertained – amused even, laughing at this kid in saggy, torn
jeans get neutered by a handrail.

Kate Green

I tell myself, “He chose to suspend his genitalia precariously
above said handrail, and then slide down at high speed. I did those
sorts of things, I would expect every now and again to make love to
a staircase.” Sure. Maybe he deserved it. There is a blind, perhaps
unfair justice in that – he deserved it, so it’s ok to laugh.
Haha.

There are some things, however, that are in poor taste to laugh
at. Death, disease, addiction, permanent disfigurement – all good
examples of non-funny bodily misfortune. When Rush Limbaugh, the
�ber-conservative radio host, announced to his listeners
that he had become addicted to painkillers, the right thing for me
to do was to feel sorry for the guy, and offer my support that he
make a full recovery. And, I do. I feel sorry for him. He didn’t
deserve this. I hope he kicks his habit.

However, deep down, underneath any ounce of compassion I may
have for the man, I’m judging Rush, and loving it. Hey Rush, how do
you like them apples? You built your radio empire on being firm on
“family values,” the ambiguous moral code from where you and your
conservative friends spent most of the ’90s tossing rocks at
liberal America. You and your cronies blasted Bill Clinton for
smoking marijuana and supported impeaching him for marital
infidelity. You called Jerry Garcia, shortly after his death,
“another dead drug addict.”

You preached staying tough on (gasp!) drug users, saying in
1995, “Too many whites are getting away with drug use. The answer
is to … find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them
and send them up the river.”

But Rush, you won’t end up dead like Garcia, and you won’t get
“sent up the river.” Instead, once you found out that you were
being investigated, you used the money you made in the malicious
judgment of others to check yourself into rehab – rehab that most
addicts in America will never see affordable access to. No, these
Americans probably will end up in jail, where their odds of
becoming a repeat offender are astronomically high. Or, they end up
like Garcia – just dead addicts. I’m not a betting man, but I’d
wager that you won’t learn a thing. You’ll come out of rehab
“clean,” and go back to being unrelentingly intolerant of everyone
who disagrees with you.

With this in mind, millions of Americans, including yours truly,
have taken their respective turns kicking the man while he’s down –
and, I might add, felt justified in doing so. He earned it right?
Now that the tables have turned, can anyone blame the Left for
hitting back? Probably not, but we should have expected better – of
ourselves. There are deeper, more intrinsic lessons to take away
from this than the realization that even ideologues sometimes don’t
follow their own rules. We knew that already.

When you get right down to it, if liberals are to maintain any
standard of consistency, Rush’s shortfalls should be understood and
accepted; not cause for scorn and ridicule. Rush didn’t deserve
this disease, but he does deserve to have his situation treated
with the understanding that the Left, if Rush hadn’t been so
adamantly conservative, would have been generous in giving. The
fact that he has spent his professional career throwing punches at
the Left shouldn’t disqualify him from the traditional liberal
causes of tolerance and compassion – which have conveniently fallen
by the wayside given the chance to attack the fallen conservative
icon. How sad. It would appear that the hypocrisy for which we burn
Limbaugh at the stake lies not just on the conservative side of the
fence.

Adams can be reached at
“mailto:dnadams@umich.edu”>dnadams@umich.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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