Friday, July 3, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Uses Michael Jackson To Deify Ronald Reagan

Keith Olbermann and Al Franken have done such a fantastic job popping the heinous bubble of flatulent rhetorical gas that is Rush Limbaugh that it seems redundant for me to do so here. In light of his latest comment, however, I simply cannot resist...

Yesterday I went through the timeline of the Michael Jackson career, and I pointed out that Michael Jackson flourished, I mean, Michael Jackson epitomized the individual. He was weird, you know, screwball. But he wasn't part of a group. And you don't hear anybody covering Michael Jackson songs. Who else has recorded Billie Jean? I mean not even the Hollyridge Strings, which covered the Beatles. Nobody covers a Michael Jackson song, that's how unique it is. He flourished when? Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, the big sellers all during the eighties during the Reagan administration. Then we get to the nineties and Michael Jackson languished under Clinton and Bush. And, sadly, Michael Jackson died under Obama.

How do I begin....

1) Yes, Michael Jackson was an "individual", but unless you consider self-mutilation via plastic surgery, unsavory relationships with little boys, and pill-popping to be admirable qualities, that isn't exactly something you should trumpet, much less dismiss as "screwball" (to be fair, Limbaugh may actually believe that pill-popping is admirable).

2) "Smooth Criminal" was covered by Alien Ant Farm. "I'll Be There" was covered by ChanJ. County music star Ray Stevens covered "Bad". Off Target and Aereogramme covered "Thriller". Miles Davis did a cover of "Human Nature". "Billie Jean" - the song that Limbaugh cited as an example - has been covered, in part or totally, by Clubhouse, LL Cool J, Chris Cornell, and Destiny's Child.... you know what, I don't have time to complete this list. The point is, as always, that Rush Limbaugh allowed his lips to flap before making sure the wind that was produced by them wouldn't embarass him.

3) Limbaugh assumes that the American government has such power over the lives of its citizens that - much as Pericles produced an artistic golden age in Athens, Augustus a golden age in Rome, the Medicis an artistic golden age in Florence, and Louis XIV a golden age in France - that so too did Ronald Reagan produce an artistic golden age in America. Yet is there any evidence that Michael Jackson's artistic flourishing during the 1980s was the result of Reagan's policies and not, say, coincidence? Did other artists, musical and otherwise, flourish in the 1980s who were unable to do likewise during the 1970s and 1990s (after all, if Limbaugh wishes to prove that the supposedly pro-individualistic policies of Ronald Reagan were more conducive to artistic expression than those of Carter, Clinton, and Obama, he would naturally have to provide more than one case study)? In a broader sense, have previous and subsequent decades failed to live up to the richness of the 1980s in music, cinema, theater, literature, and painting? For that matter, can Limbaugh even identify actual policies that Reagan implemented which directly or indirectly resulted in this so-called flourishing for Michael Jackson? I may also point out that, as the great historian Edward Gibbon once noted of the quality of intellectual life during the Roman Empire under the five great emperors (Nerva to Marcus Aurelius, 96 - 180 AD), art is often more likely to flourish during hard times than pleasant and just ones, as the grist produced by trying political and social circumstances often serves as fantastic inspiration. While I wouldn't take Gibbon's opinion to its most extreme conclusion (since there have been many prosperous periods that were also artistically fertile, such as the Roaring Twenties), I would certainly cite his logic as evidence that artistic prosperity is not necessarily evidence of beneficent political circumstances.

4) Michael Jackson, though for the most part apolitical in his work, was outspokenly left-wing in his private politics, and would have no doubt resented the use of his name to illustrate a pro-Reagan argument. It is obscene for Limbaugh to do so.

Should I even be wasting my time pointing all of this out? Not really, since only a drooling imbecile would even take a moronic statement such as the one made by Limbaugh seriously, or for that matter, even listen to Rush Limbaugh in the first place. Then again, while it may be a waste of my time to point this out, it is also quite fun.

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