No one would want to deny another person the little things in life that somehow make the whole great mess almost bearable. Such as the pleasure of eating delicious food, a sensory stimulation that’s comparable to drug addiction the way some people over-indulge. Certainly junk food can be consumed safely in moderation; but how are people supposed to know to eat it in moderation unless they know it’s junk? Limbaugh, however, takes the attitude that anyone who tells people that something’s unhealthy is also telling them that they should never eat it, how to live their lives; this may be what his mind hears, but it’s not what’s being said.

Such was his reaction when the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released data stating that popcorn cooked in coconut oil is high in cholesterol. The author of the study, one Jayne Hurley, said of it, ‘‘Popcorn is only as good as what you cook it in.’’ Now is that the rantings of someone telling people how to live their lives, that they should never touch popcorn again?

But according to Limbaugh, CSPI is just a bunch of ninny-ninny worry warts with nothing better to do than ruin everyone’s happiness. So-stinking-what if they disclosed this popcorn’s cholesterol content? Doesn’t the public have a right to be informed? If some guy’s suffering from heart disease, shouldn’t he be made aware that this popcorn is high in cholesterol?

Limbaugh says the media is ‘‘constantly pounding us with doom and gloom scenarios, which often cast a negative spell over the national psyche.’’ But in truth it seems Limbaugh would prefer to simply stick his head in the sand than face any kind of unpleasant reality. He acts like he’d rather just live in darkness of this knowledge because now he has to think and care about it. (Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine unveiled that the supposedly nonfat frozen yogurt was actually loaded with fat, and the Newman character resented it because, even though it was bad for him, he would have preferred not to know and continue eating it like there was no tomorrow.) And heaven forbid Rush should have to think twice before stuffing his face with all his favorite goodies.

It’s because of my intentionally limited exposure to Limbaugh that I’m unable to give more detailed examples of all the absurd hysterics he’s gone into over health information that’s made it into the news. But the one time I saw him do this ‘‘Scare of the Week’’ segment on his television show, Limbaugh accused some group (who were championing cooking methods that reduce exposure to the E. coli bacteria) of being more scare mongers trying to create a panic. Yeah, tell that to the parents of those children who died after eating undercooked burgers at Jack in the Crack.

What’s particularly unusual about this is that Limbaugh’s constantly claiming how he’s all about encouraging his audience to think for themselves——and punctuates this point by accusing the ‘‘mainstream’’ media of looking upon his audience as a lot of sheep. But how is Limbaugh looking upon his audience when he says this health stuff is just the work of people trying to ruin their happiness, saying it’s meant to frighten them? By treating his audience as though they’re incapable of dealing with this information without it creating this irrational fear?

He claims ‘‘liberal’’ news reporters and politicians underestimate the intelligence of the American public——yet how much credit is Limbaugh giving anyone when he reacts to this health and nutrition stuff like he does? The fact remains that only an ignorant person would be scared or put into a panic by such information.


Not only is Limbaugh convinced public interest groups like CSPI are backhandedly out to smear the good name of junk food, he furthermore disputes those who’d have us believe secondhand smoke is dangerous. To prove its innocuousness, he cited a scientific study which concluded that certain everyday vegetables have as much nicotine in them as spending three hours in a smoke-filled room. And no one’s ever died from eating vegetables, have they?

Heh, really, this is absurd enough as to be outright comical.

It just might have occurred to a smoker such as Limbaugh that tobacco nicotine goes into the lungs (that’s why it’s called lung cancer!) and the nicotine in vegetables never does. It goes directly into the stomach——and is digested by stomach acids and distributed throughout the body. That’s because, unlike tobacco, vegetables are a food. The act of eating is a little different than that of breathing. And so to compare the harmful effects of inhaling cigarette smoke and grubbing on some vegetables makes zero sense. Which just about makes it the epitome of Limbaugh’s prodigious wisdom.

Furthermore, to claim that secondhand smoke is harmless is the equivalent of saying smoking is itself harmless. It’s simply not possible that cigarette smoke could be harmful to smokers but not others; likewise, if the smoke isn’t bad for secondhand inhalers, then it must also be harmless to smokers. And who in good conscience could claim such a thing? Other, of course, than the tobacco industry itself, but they’ve got profit margins to look out for and can’t be bothered with petty things like a conscious. I swear, when the heads of the tobacco companies told that Congressional Health Committee they don’t believe there’s any evidence to show that smoking is addictive or dangerous, it made me want to puke all over their nicotine-stained suits! If people want to slowly smoke themselves to death, then by all means they should have every right to do so. But as long as the tobacco industry denies that their cigarettes are harmful when they consciously know otherwise, then each person that dies and all the millions of deaths that have already occurred due to smoking related causes can’t be considered slow suicides, but rather homicides. And as such the tobacco companies should be held responsible for these deaths——not criminally, but most definitely financially.

Also of questionable conscious is Limbaugh, who likewise says: ‘‘There is no conclusive proof that nicotine’s addictive . . . and the same thing with cigarettes causing emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease.’’ You’d think even——and especially——the most ardent of smokers would recognize the malfeasance of the companies getting rich off their addictions. To assert that secondhand smoke is harmless because of some vegetables with nicotine in them strikes me as the reasoning of a person deeply in denial, not unlike the tobacco companies themselves. Except it’s reasonable to assume that these companies are privy to the dangers of smoking but deny this to protect their profits; whereas it’s much harder to get a handle on Limbaugh’s motivation for such a denial.

Does he genuinely believe smoking to be harmless? Is it denial of the health risks his own smoking puts him at——sheer scientific ignorance——or is he looking out for the profits of tobacco companies? Or rather, could it be nothing more than his desire to smoke in restaurants that he rebuts such dangers?

Given his penchant for cigars and attacking anti-smoking crusaders like Henry Waxman, the latter seems just as likely an explanation. When Limbaugh wants to smoke a cigar after a particularly satisfying meal (which I’m sure is all of them), he certainly doesn’t want to have to wobble his settling load outside just to appease a bunch of ninny-ninny liberals, never mind the health of the waitresses and bartenders inhaling smoke eight hours a day. The fact is nicotine is a drug, an exceedingly addictive and deadly one, and there’s no reason why employees in a public workplace should have to be the secondhand recipients of this nasty drug.

·    ·    ·

When he’s not busy misinterpreting scientific studies to his own twisted ends, Limbaugh enjoys flying off the handle in regard to any senseless little thing. Once during an eclipse of the sun he mentioned how annoyed he was by all the ‘‘eclipse hysteria.’’ What hysteria? There was mild interest at best, what’s so wrong with that? It’s a grand cosmic event. Okay, so he doesn’t think it’s a big deal——so friggin’ what?! Why not just leave it at that? Because he’s incapable of appreciating anything outside his way of thinking; and he will criticize anything that doesn’t fit into the itty-bitty box of limited perspective he calls his mind.

On top of everything else, Limbaugh also considers himself an expert on the art and business of filmmaking. (As his Malcolm X condemnation so clearly demonstrated.) He points out that whenever a Disney cartoon is released it slaughters everything else in the marketplace, and they’re are all ‘G’ rated. And so he doesn’t understand why these idiot filmmakers aren’t all making ‘G’ rated family pictures, ’cause, he says, they’re obviously the films making the most money. But of the 50 top-grossing films of all time, only four are ‘G’ rated. The fact is nowadays a ‘G’ rating is practically the kiss of box office death. Disney cartoons kick ass at the box office not because they’re rated ‘G,’ but because they’re Disney.

I’m still uncertain as to why Limbaugh considers Oliver Stone an ‘‘anti-American’’ filmmaker. How could anyone imply that Platoon is anything other than an honorable tribute to the men who fought and died in that horrendous war? How exactly is Wall Street anti-American? It’s not against the capitalist free market, it’s simply an examination of extreme greed, the blind lust and worship of money.

Though I remember Limbaugh once said that money was the only thing that actually motivates anyone to do anything. Money and nothing else is why anyone ever does anything——he actually said this, oh yes. The reason I’m writing this book right now is for the exact same reason someone works on Wall Street——just trying to get rich as I can. Because that’s all anyone really cares about. Right? And that’s the only truly measurable yardstick of success: ultimate wealth and power. Right Rush? (But enough with this light stuff.)


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