Entertainers Need Attention

I was not an admirer of Rush Limbaugh. As I explained in a recent post, I think he, or rather the response to him in “conservative America,” has done much more harm than good to the cause of constitutional republicanism. But disagreeing with a man’s perspective, or questioning his legacy, is quite a bit different from peeing on his grave.

Bette Midler, who looked kind of garishly horrible back when she was a “big star,” but now looks like a factory-produced monster replica of horrible, has taken the opportunity of Limbaugh’s death to entertain the social media world with the sort of bitter invective that might seem appropriate for celebrating the death of a murderous dictator, but seems, to put it politely, slightly out of line in smearing the memory of a fellow celebrity entertainer whose politics one happens not to like.

Immediately after Limbaugh’s death following a year-long grapple with cancer — note to monsters: “There but for the grace of God” — “The Divine Miss M” leapt in, like so many well-known nothings, to render her divine judgment about Rush’s final resting place: “Bet it’s hot.” Now, with a few days to reconsider her ghoulish lack of class, Midler has spewed forth with…no, not a bursting overload of Botox, but rather a retweet of a cartoon drawn by a former writer for “Seinfeld” and “The Simpsons,” “showing what appear to be several Ku Klux Klan members in sheets — one of whom is wearing a Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Perhaps the mainstream media propagandists reporting Midler’s ranting senility — imagine how they would report this behavior if the dead person being attacked were, say, Ruth Bader Ginsberg or Fidel Castro — will now give equal time to the less famous but, I dare say, more consequential James Golden, aka “Bo Snerdley,” who worked with Limbaugh for twenty years as a producer, call-screener, and sometimes on-air personality (“Official Obama Criticizer”). 

Perhaps the media reporting Bette the Plastic Has-Been’s “remarks” will now make a headline story out of an interview with an actual black man who knew Limbaugh well for a generation, the interview consisting of just one question: “Based on your close personal and professional relationship with Rush Limbaugh, spanning the final twenty years of his life, would you judge him to have been a racist?”

Perhaps they will not.

This case crystallizes much of what is wrong with being a professional entertainer: The immature craving for attention, for those pathetic enough to parlay this human weakness into a commercial asset, is an essential disqualifier for being taken seriously on matters of public discussion, since a person in love with notice will seek it in any way possible, which obviously skews the judgment, just as it (typically) paralyzes the conscience. But it also highlights what is so much more dangerously wrong with a civilization that has allowed — or rather invited — mere entertainers to slip their traditional leash, and to escape from their former status as marginally useful but socially undesirable characters, right into the position of “respected figures” whose opinions about moral and political matters are to be treated not only as equal to everyone else’s (already too much), but somehow more important than the average man’s opinion, which is ludicrous. The average man does not make a public fool of himself for decades, camping it up in absurd costumes under asinine nicknames, motivated entirely by the most twisted combination of unfettered money lust and an embarrassing desperation for the most transient form of fame at all costs.

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