How the Mighty Fall

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It
is always thus when a Celebrity bites the dust due to some human
failure: his enemies eviscerate him, his allies laud and protect.

Not
too many months ago, Michael (Weiner) Savage extinguished himself
on MSNBC with an on-camera expectoration directed at a caller that
he should die of AIDS. Savage's lame and totally unbelievable excuse:
he "didn't know the mike was still on," an excuse that
comes in Second behind "The Dog Ate My Homework." Anyone
so ignorant and/or naïve has no business being in Major League
Broadcasting. Immediately, Savage's little myrmidons came out slashing
and burning MSNBC and anyone else who would dare point out the little
man's botching what had been a major career move. More objective
folks were able to see the bullet hole Savage himself put squarely
through his foot.

Rush's
addiction mea culpa isn't quite as cut ‘n dried as the Stupid Host
Trick mentioned above. Limbaugh's problems spin on three points.

1.
The Addiction

Most broadcasts, broadcasters, writers and pundits have set their
focus here. Except as an education piece for the wantonly ignorant,
it comes as no surprise that today's painkillers and muscle relaxers
have serious addictive qualities. That's why God gave us the fine
print on the front of the bottle. Rush is a reasonably intelligent
man with good reading skills. Nevertheless, chemicals aren't prejudiced
and can just as easily get a smart man hooked just like any other
moron. Only the Sickest of the Sick would wish Limbaugh anything
but the best and an expedient recovery.

2.
The Law

This is where it gets kinda sticky. Some writers are starting to
realize and focus on the fact that, when you're finished paddling
through the pity, that pesky Legal System is still there waiting
to do its "….and Justice for all" thing.

If
the news stories are credible — and so far, even the paper gave
us the "Aliens Gave Me An Anal Probe" story has not been
proven wrong on points – Rush bought vast quantities of legal
drugs illegally. The big problem is not that he did it but how he
did it. That ugly part involved coercively "employing"
the services of his once-upon-a-time maid to be his mule. It may
be debatable whether the local or federal prosecutors will come
after Limbaugh for his using or purchasing. But it's more than difficult
to conclude they can or will ignore the Mule Factor. If Rush has
a legal problem, it lies within the Method not the Means.

3.
The Conclusion

The Wanna-Be buzzards are already circling — and not without good
reason. Over the 15 years Rush has been sharing his "Talent
On Loan From God" with us, a substantial number of talk show
hosts — "with talent on loan from Wal-Mart" — have found
themselves unemployed. Not only because of Limbaugh's 3 hour takeover
of 600 stations' day that put them on the beach but for the raft
of other syndicated hosts who were talented enough to come to the
rescue of financially ailing stations in need of something better
than they had in other dayparts.

What
will be seen as the fatal flaw in Limbaugh's success is his heavy-handed
treatment of the moral underpinnings of his lofty conservative "Attila
the Hun" chair. After berating Kurt Cobain and Darryl Strawberry
and bemoaning not enough white guys going to prison for drug use,
it's going to be impossible for Rush to resume his show with the
same moral tone and content that made him the King of Talk Radio.
Now he'll sound just like the other guys.

In
his Oct. 10th Mea Culpa closing comments, he said, "I am not
a role model." But he did repeat numerous times that he is
"your epitome of morality of virtue, a man you could totally
trust with your wife, your daughter, and even your son in a Motel
6 overnight." Maybe so — if he had enough pills to deal with
one of their mattresses. It may come back to haunt him like some
of his other cutesy clichés already are. Recently posted
on the FreeRepublic web site: "With talent on loan from Merck."

It's
a standard fascination Americans have with scandals like these.
But Rush's problems transcend a mere human spectacle or even hypocrisy.
He has his own demons within him as Newsweek and other articles
detailed: reclusiveness, depression, social awkwardness, all of
which were part of the baggage that made the trip with him to New
York City 15 years ago. Detox is tough enough. Toss the Ego Monster
and some of his buds into the room and it won't matter much how
swanky the "spa," a Hillary Clinton presidency would be
easier to endure.

I
know him, worked with him a little and liked the man I met. Of course
I wish him the best. If he comes back it will be just to say good-bye.

October
16, 2003

Brian
Wilson [send him mail] is
a talk show host, author and speaker. He’s heard on better talk
radio stations across the country through his Vacation Relief Service
and most recently vented his libertarian views on KSFO/San Francisco.


        
        

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