Saturday, October 17, 2009

Beyond Parody

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I tell you, folks, it's plumb discouraging.

I've said on several occasions that the problem with doing satire these days is staying ahead of reality. I make up something that's so absurd that I assume people will realize it's a joke, and then suddenly something comes along that makes that absurdity look positively normal in comparison.

Until recently, though, I thought I was doing a decent job of staying ahead.

Not any more.

You may recall that last week, I talked about the rejoicing on the Right over the fact that America wasn't getting the Olympics in 2016. Folks like Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh were dancing a spiteful jig because President Obama had lobbied to bring the Olympics to Chicago (which, despite what the wingnuts may tell you, really is part of America. Just like Hawaii). If Obama wanted it, their "reasoning" went, then it must be a good thing that it didn't happen.

I went on to suggest that, since Mr. Obama had recently signed an order forbidding federal employees from texting while driving, then obviously the thing for any good tea-party patriot to do was go out there and text away behind the wheel. The absurdity there was that anyone would actually think that it was a patriotic idea to do a dangerous thing because Obama said not to. It was a joke, I swear it.

Little did I know that they really have gone that crazy. As Exhibit One, I give you the de facto leader of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh.

Mr. Limbaugh recently pitched an epic hissy fit on his nationally syndicated radio show over, of all things, flu vaccine.

Seems that El Rushbo got his rage on because Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had done the unthinkable: She'd gone on TV and said that it would be a good idea if people got vaccinated against the flu.

Now, to any reasonable person, this would make sense. After all, the new strain of H1N1 flu is a nasty critter. The family and I had a mild brush with it ourselves, and I can certainly tell you we wish the vaccine had been widely available a couple of weeks ago.

Not Rush, though. He blew a gasket at the very idea. "Screw you, Miss Sebelius!" he shouted on the air. "I'm not going to take it precisely because you're now telling me I must!"

It should be noted that nowhere in any of Miss Sebelius' statements recommending the vaccine did she use the word "must," nor is there any suggestion in any public pronouncement that vaccination should be mandatory. The actual Sebelius quote is: "We strongly urge parents to take precautionary steps. Flu kills every year, and we've got a great vaccine to deal with it."

But apparently, even the suggestion that a swine flu shot would be beneficial to children, coming from an Obama appointee, is tyranny on the same level as the massacre at Tiananmen Square.

"It's not your role, it's not your responsibility, and you do not have that power!" Rush sputtered to a version of Secretary Sebelius that appears to exist only in his head. "How are they gonna make me take it if I refuse to take it? Who the hell do these people think they are?"

Umm ... actually, Rush, public health is actually part of Ms. Sebelius' role and her responsibility. It's the "Health" part of "Health and Human Services." But again, no one is "making" anyone do anything. You want to risk getting the swine flu, have at it, and I wish you joy.

But you folks can see my problem. You have a major leader of American conservatives going on national radio to holler at the top of his lungs that he's not going to do something that no one is trying to make him do.

You have a prominent Republican leader going completely ballistic because a member of the Obama administration "strongly urged" parents (a group to which he does not even belong) to get flu shots for their kids.

How do you even begin to parody these people?

13 comments:

Fran said...

Are we absolutely certain that Rush isn't some sort of huge joke being played on the American public?

I mean, of course he's a joke, obviously.

But. . .isn't someone gonna jump out of the media bushes and shout "Gotcha!"?

Randy Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy Johnson said...

You forgot onw thing, Fran. Rush IS a huge joke!

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Man, talk about having your work cut out for you.

Good luck staying ahead of the bleeding edge there. Ain't nothin' more comedic than reality.

C.L.J. said...

While I don't want to wish harm on anyone, I do hope that if he DOES contract H1n1, his nurses will replay the YouTube clip of his diatribe on an endless loop for the duration.

Montana said...

For so many years Limbaugh has spent his time on the radio mis-labeling or mis-characterizing others . Finally he had his judgment day.

Cormac Brown said...

Politics aside, we're talking about the same man who said, “The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.” Then he was actually surprised that the NFL owners rejected his bid for partial-ownership of the Rams.

It's simple, if you did as much Oxycontin as he did? You'd be telling us sell all of our crime and thriller books, for Danielle Steele and Barbara Cartland novels.

Dory Stewart said...

Oh, JD,

SURELY you've miss Rusty Limbo's point.....HE MUST have been joking?

This is the same (fill in at your own risk) that said the big 3 auto CEOs DON'T make enough money.

Poor old guy seems to be running out of good material....Wonder if Clear Channel will renew his entertainment contract.

Recent polls via David Brooks say Rush, Glenn Beck etc....don't have the popularity they claim....

I'm starting to liken Neo-Cons use of Clear Channel to keep the public in a 'sheeple' euphoria as something akin to Kafka's THE PENAL COLONY.

You've got the best RANT and RAVE blog.....;) Love it!

JD Rhoades said...

Cormac, if I did as much Oxy as Rush, I'd be dead.

Dory: thanks..I try.

Charlieopera said...

This is the same (fill in at your own risk) that said the big 3 auto CEOs DON'T make enough money.

And Apparently, the Democrats (and Obama) agree since they didn’t do a single thing in the way of regulation since the “crisis” … I remember them talking about “oversight” an awful lot prior to the election (when Obama seemed to firmly support Bush’s initial bailouts) … and last week record bonuses were announced by the firms left standing (thanks to our money).

Or is there a difference between the auto CEOs and those on Wall Street?

The only parody being played on the American public thus far is that the Democrat controlled Congress and White House would accomplish some “change we can believe in” … well, we’re all still waiting.

Nader in 2012

Dory Stewart said...

Charlie,
I feel your pain. I don't want to be disappointed by the man I voted for.

Yesterday there's more news about cracking down on inside traders...

Maybe the words of warning don't work well, but arresting their sorry, greedy butts might send another message.....

But then, being arrogant doesn't mean one's corrupt.....

FRAN, I've caught Rusty in a bunch of 'out-of-context' bs....
It's how he gets away with so much....No one bothers to check out his histrionic blatherings....

Charlieopera said...

Dory:

Not wanting to be disappointed is one thing (and I understand that) but ... the more we let this guy get away with (and right now he's getting away with a TON), the less we get in return. I wanted to think he (Obama) was a decent guy but there were signs he wasn't (typical politican signs). I used to blame his party for not getting anything done. I'm tired of that. He's the guy in the driver's seat and so far he hasn't removed the car from the ditch he used to like to talk about in his campaign. If anything, he's dug a deeper hole (in Afghanistan). He doesn't get a pass from me anymore.

Insider trading isn't the issue. It's the fact no oversight has occurred since the crisis. He followed Bush's lead and hasn't taken a sidestep from it. NOTHING has been done to oversee what the banks are doing. Not a single piece of legislation.

I'd love to know the difference between Bush and Obama right now (besides that fugazy Nobel Prize).

Nader in 2012

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!