Novelist Paul Theroux launches a spirited defense of Rush Limbaugh on behalf of satire, or maybe it's a spirited defense of satire on behalf of Rush Limbaugh, but, whichever, he makes an admissible point in asserting that "You have to give Limbaugh a pass, otherwise you lose the right to go on calling Gingrich and Eric Cantor pimps for Israel, and Rick Santorum a mental midget."
Admissible, perhaps, but not altogether valid or convincing. Gingrich, for example, really is a pimp for Israel, as are many U.S. politicians, but Gingrich has corrupted the ethics of political whoring to a once-unimaginable low; and as for Santorum's mental acuity, well, any pol so colossally stupid as to attack the virtually canonized JFK deserves all the opprobrium he gets. In other words, our right to abuse the likes of Gingrich and Cantor and Santorum is not merely constitutionally unalienable, it is humanly irrepressible.
Theroux's more grievous misdemeanor, though, comes in the old familiar bugaboo of: How can the left, what with its rowdy stable of Michael Moores, cast stones? But look, even though I'm no fan of Michael Moore, I am a reasonably good judge of character, I think, and in Moore I just don't see the putrid, pestiferous bile of a Rush Limbaugh. Moore practices a crude ridicule of those who would and do in fact oppress, while Limbaugh happily practices a crude ridicule of the oppressed themselves. If Theroux can't appreciate the distinction, so much the pity for Theroux.
None of this, however, should be interpreted as an attenuation of my passionate hope that Rush Limbaugh stays on the air. The right and its party deserve him and all the inexhaustible harm he's doing them both.
And now, I must be going, for I'm late -- "If you believe that a cracker like Rush with a radio show is the 'virtual leader' of the Republican Party," writes Theroux, "you need a good proctologist to reposition your head" -- for some rectal work.