David Louis Edelman David Louis Edelman

Stay Out of Our Public Figures’ Personal Lives

Rush Limbaugh was detained at an airport for carrying a bottle of Viagra with a falsified prescription on it, and the blogosphere is going berserk.

I’m irritated as hell that anybody gives a flying fuck. Not because I have a special love or reverence for Rush Limbaugh, but because… Well, here’s what I posted on Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s Making Light blog about the whole thing, and I think it’s worth repeating and reiterating:

Am I the only one who is profoundly annoyed when stories like this suck up media attention? So Limbaugh was embarrassed to carry around a bottle of happy pills. So he’s a hypocrite. Big frickin’ deal. Make note of it at the bottom of page 12, and move on.

I felt the same way about the whole Clinton impeachment. So he messed around with some intern. So he fibbed a little. Big frickin’ deal. Make note of it in the official record, slap his wrist, and move on.

The problem with these stories is that they turn everything into a big schmaltzy drama of our politicians’ and pundits’ personal lives. The issues get buried. Ted Kennedy can’t open his mouth with the Right snickering about his predilection for alcoholic beverages. If George Bush misconjumagates a verb, the Left falls into a laughing fit. The argument devolves. Discourse breaks down.

I’m trying to remember the last time the MSM reported seriously on anything Limbaugh actually said on his show. All anyone seems to care about is his supposed drug habit.

You say Rush is a blowhard? Great, fine, I don’t agree with much that he says either. But argue it intelligently by refuting the statements he makes on his show. Don’t make little petty stabs at his personal conduct. I don’t care.

Oh, and yes, I know that Limbaugh makes plenty of petty stabs at others’ personal conduct. Fine. Doesn’t change the point.

(No intended slander against Teresa for bringing this up in the first place.)

If you read further down the comments thread, you’ll notice people asking the burning question of whether Limbaugh was using his ill-begotten happy pills to enjoy a bit of underage nookie in the Dominican Republic. I honestly don’t care. Let the police decide, or the DEA, or the World Court, or whatever law enforcement agency looks into these kinds of things.

We, as a society, need to stop prying into our public figures’ personal lives. Whether it’s George Bush or Rush Limbaugh or Bill Bennett on the right… Bill Clinton or Patrick Kennedy or Al Franken on the left… leave them the fuck alone. Let the politicians do their job making policy, let the pundits do their job discussing policy. Let the actors act, the singers sing, and yes, let the writers write.

If you want to criticize a public figure, criticize their works and their public acts. Otherwise, don’t waste my time by polluting the public discourse with this inane blather.

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