Wednesday, October 15, 2003

From Andrew Sullivan:
was Rush actually high during his broadcasts? Given the enormous amount of drugs in question, given their addictive quality, I'd say that the odds that Limbaugh was high when he was broadcasting are pretty good. Some might argue that you need to have your brain on drugs to say the things Rush said. But I'd argue the opposite. In fact, it might be true that Rush was a better broadcaster because he was high. His particular blend of self-mocking, lacerating, funny and fluent commentary reminds me in a way of people on a kind of high. Or maybe this attitude is actually hard to sustain for so long at such a pitch - and so the drugs helped him endure the slog of daily broadcasting the way drugs can enhance athletes' performance. Either way, the drugs may well have helped him do his job well. Obviously, he got addicted in a major way - which is the mega-down-side of such meds. And he may have lost his hearing because of enormous abuse of the pills. But it behooves us to notice the upside as well: that these drugs, far from impairing his ability to do great radio, may have helped him. If there were a way for Rush to use the drugs in moderation without getting addicted, why would that be a bad thing? And how would that differ in a deep way from people on anti-depressants who aren't clinically depressed? Or casual pot-smokers? Or old-time columnists who used to write brilliant columns while under the influence of a triple scotch? (I recall one of my early days on Fleet Street when I asked a brilliant columnist how he could write such stuff after several strong whiskeys in the afternoon. "My dear boy," he replied, "The real question is how I could write without the whiskey." Somehow, I get the feeling these permutations won't be fully developed in our puritan culture. But they should be. There's a reason Rush enjoyed these rushes. And conservatives benefited.


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