Monday, March 06, 2006

Rush 'In Touch' With Bigotry

Rush Limbaugh kicked off his radio program today by lambasting George Clooney for his acceptance speech at the Oscars last night. Here's what Clooney said when accepting the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his work in Syriana:
I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. I think it's probably a good thing. We're the ones who talked about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I'm proud to be a part of this Academy, proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch.
Rush seized on the "out of touch" line to accuse Clooney and Hollywood liberals of thumbing their noses at the average American and being insufferable elitists. While this is arguably an accurate representation of many attitudes in Hollywood, Rush's outburst tells us quite a bit about his own true feelings.

By taking Clooney to task for his speech, he is implicitly taking a stance against AIDS education, against civil rights for blacks and against the expression of a social conscience in general. By his own logic, Rush believes that because they ran counter to majority opinion at the time, the movie industry simply shouldn’t have tried to deal with these subjects. Is this really what he believes? I guess it's not so hard to imagine.

Rush also revealed himself for the opportunistic hypocrite that he is by dressing Hollywood down for its refusal to mirror public opinion. Just last week when the abysmal Bush poll numbers came out, Rush extolled the virtues of a leader who isn't buffeted by the winds of prevailing opinion but makes judgments based on deeply-held principles regardless of what the polls say. I guess that same standard doesn't apply to artists—especially not ones that Rush happens to disagree with.

Of course, Clooney's speech was heartfelt, but it presented an overly rosy view of Hollywood as a radical paradise for the Avant Garde. After all, Hollywood produced middle-America-friendly fare like The Passion and Narnia, and there's no shortage of vile dreck that appeals to the stupidity and bigotry of Rush's great moral majority, either.

In Other Rush News

Early on in the program (I can only last so long, after all), Rush brought up the case of the UNC student who tried to run over a bunch of people "to avenge the mistreatment of Muslims" by the United States. "Where did he get the idea that the U.S. systematically mistreats Muslims," he asked, "Al Gore? It's the democrats..." Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the widespread abuse of Muslims that goes on at U.S.-run detention centers as a matter of official government policy. That's probably where he got the idea.
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