Wherein I am Short-Tempered

BPSDBOK, it’s time for a joke. This one is appropriate for the whole family and suitable, with minor modifications, for many occasions: What’s the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg?

One is a giant, flaming Nazi gasbag, and the other is a dirigible.

In this case, the gasbag also likes to parade blithering ignorance of science before the whole world. To wit:

In fact, one of these guys in Ben Stein’s movie, guy named Hawkins who’s over at Oxford I think, Oxford or Cambridge, Ben Stein goes over and interviews him in this movie, Expelled. The movie hits April 12th or the 16th. And he said, “Can you explain the origins of life with Darwinism?” “No, we can’t. Well, actually we can, but we don’t.”

Point one: when you’re criticizing a person, it’s good to get their name right, after which you can move on to knowing where they work and, maybe, understanding their position. Who in blazes is this “Hawkins” person? Must be that biologist trapped in a wheelchair. You know, the one who teaches about black holes’ DNA and how the Big Bang came from monkeys — he’s a professor at Oxlonbridgeford. Point two: the sack of lies known as the Expelled movie is opening on the 18th. It’s odd how amidst a fog of untruth, a minor factual error can shine forth like a searchlight.

Rush is all in a lather about some statements by the well-respected physicist Peter Higgs, who way back when proposed what is now known as the “Higgs boson,” a hypothetical particle which would explain “electroweak symmetry breaking” — roughly, why two of the four fundamental forces of the Universe are different from one another. Now, several years back a physicist by the name of Leon Lederman made what many people consider an unfortunate decision: he decided to call a book about the Higgs boson The God Particle. That’s one way to earn back your advance, I suppose, but it also has the perfectly predictable consequence that people will read more into the phrase than was intended.

“B-but I only wanted to draw an analogy between the way that electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force are different and the way that the Tower of Babel legend says people started speaking different languages!”

“Well, you should have called your book The Babel Particle, then. Would’ve sounded cooler, too. I could see Summer Glau playing the lead in a movie called The Babel Particle — she’s a ninja physicist, he’s an archaeologist, they solve crimes — but your title sounds like you had bills to pay and wanted to score some easy Templeton cash.”

I know I shouldn’t blame Lederman for fueling Rush Limbaugh’s insane dribbling, but really, I’m in pain right now, and I might not be acting with my customary kindness and good humor. Just listen:

In other words, he’s looking for a God particle. He’s looking for a particle to prove God. Dr. Higgs, please, just look out the window, Dr. Higgs. You see that tree? You see the grass? Whatever is outside your window, all of it, it’s God particles. Every aspect of it is God particles.

Pantheism has never found a worse spokesman.

Rush goes on to parrot some more of the falsehoods which Mark Mathis and Ben Stein have so kindly packaged, but honestly, they don’t deserve a full fisking. I suspect my time would be better spent channeling my disgust into a screenplay wherein Summer Glau plays a physicist who blends with shadows, walks between the raindrops and beats people up.

9 thoughts on “Wherein I am Short-Tempered”

  1. Limbaugh’s comments would make anyone a bit cranky. :) But it has inspired you with a concept for will clearly be a kick-ass screenplay. I would totally see that movie (the last one, where Summer Glau can blend with shadows, walks between the raindrops and beats people up.”

  2. Well, once I’m done revising the stack of novel I currently have on my hard drive, my fiction circuits will be free for other tasks. I just might have to make good on that!

  3. About fifteen years ago, I listens to Limbaugh every day. I did this for a couple of years. Not because I was in agreement with this person but because I was trying to figure out what some people liked about him.

    I did not find him very well informed. I did not learn anything from him. I did not find him funny, he has the classic bully’s sense of humor. But the sense of entitlement he has. The absolute believe that he is in the right, no matter what.(As an aside, I will say this, Limbaugh stole a lot of his act from the classic Chicago Superjock, Larry Lujack. But Limbaugh lacks Lujack’s low key sense of the absurd. Needless to say, Lujack is not a fan.)

    It was loads of fun to listen to him exclaim, listen to his show for six months and get to know what he stands for. The idea being if you keep listening, you will be sucked in. Funny thing was, the more I listened to him, the more strongly I disagreed with him. Even with all the people calling stating that they are ex-liberals but are now Dittoheads. To which Limbaugh would say;”Welcome home.”

    It was that statement that finally gave me my insight to Limbaugh and could finally turn off the show. Limbaugh was talking about some article, saying that it was brilliant. The reason why it was brillant, because the author was stating something that Limbaugh was saying all along. Limbaugh’s definition of brilliant and my own are very different. His definition is someone agreeing with him. For me it has to do one of three things. First, it makes a connection that I have been trying to make but was unable to do so. Second, it forces me to rethink my assumptions, whether I end up agreeing or disagreeing. Third, it makes connections that I had no idea that was there, it gives me a new avenue to explore.

    That was when I realized the Limbaugh’s world was a place where all that was needed to know was already known. It is a very static and not very interesting place. My universe is so much more grand and interesting. It is much bigger then I can comprehend. At the same time, there is so much to find out and experience. There is no revealed knowledge. There is no one proper way to be like in Limbaugh’s fantasy world.

    Once I knew this, I stopped listening. Why listen to a person who I knew placed limits on what he could be. And he attracted people who carried the same traits. Life can be so much more interesting than that.

    All of that said, Limbaugh calling Richard Dawkins “Hawkins” is typical of his bullying nature. It is not important for Limbaugh to know what Dawkins has to say or to know what his name is. Limbaugh already has all the answers he needs.

  4. Do Limbaugh’s average conservative listeners actually care ? Do they care that Limbaugh just talks with the eloquence they wish they would have, reasons in a way that they think is logical, and has a small varnish of general knowledge that they consider encyclopedical ? No they don’t have a problem with it, quite the contrary, because they feal he represents them. And that’s why he has such a succesful radio show. He just gives these people what they want to hear, reinforcing their prejudices, and making sure, in a very efficient way, that they never follow the necessary steps that may enable them to think critically about what he bloviates every day.
    And the saddest part is, that he has convinced himself and his listeners, that he does it for the good of this nation.

  5. Limbaugh advertises for homeopathic medicine on his show, saying that it’s “clinically proven.” I believe that says everything about him that needs to be said.

  6. Janine sez:

    I [used to listen] to Limbaugh every day. I did this for a couple of years. Not because I was in agreement with this person but because I was trying to figure out what some people liked about him.

    You know, I wonder how much of his listener base is in exactly this position. There are definitely some, but how many? a quarter? a half? all? Is he just ranting on to an audience comprised solely of people hating every vile word out of his fat, drug-addled mouth?

  7. “Is he just ranting on to an audience comprised solely of people hating every vile word out of his fat, drug-addled mouth?”

    I wish it were true, but I have family members who sincerely listen and enjoy listening to Rush’s addled, incoherent nonsense.

    His success is pure demagoguery: as long as he appeals to peoples’ basest emotions (i.e. their lizard brain), it doesn’t matter whether or not he makes a lick of sense. In other words, people are so desperate to hear about how all the world’s problems are someone else’s fault that they’re willing to flush reason down the toilet.

  8. Peter Higgs told journalists in Geneva he doesn’t like the term “God particle” because it might offend believers — even though he is not one himself. More on the Reuters religion blog FaithWorld at [link].

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