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Offensive SNL skit merits condemnation

By Scott Tibbs, December 21st, 2004

Drudge reports that Saturday Night Live's depiction of a Rush Limbaugh puppet "passed out in vomit from drug abuse" has stirred some controversy backstage. SNL has had stars with serious drug problems, such as Chris Farley and John Belushi. (Thanks to Free Conservatives for the link.)

I commented fourteen months ago on how some Leftists were taking pleasure at Limbaugh's pain. That is just as evident now as it was then. Limbaugh wound up addicted to a prescription pain medication, and his critics were having great fun at how a hero of the right had fallen from grace. Well, what do you know? Rush Limbaugh is human after all.

Some of those who are taking pleasure at Limbaugh's pain would argue that it is not about Limbaugh's addiction, it was about his hypocrisy in being addicted to OxyContin and allegedly breaking the law to further his habit. After all, Limbaugh had been very critical of drug addicts on his program for many years.

But the SNL skit goes way beyond making a political point about compassion for drug addicts and the "hypocrisy" of someone who attacked them and then wound up addicted himself. What we have here is laughing at the imagined scenario of Limbaugh passed out in his own vomit. That has nothing to do with making a point. That is nothing more than personal vindictiveness against someone who has been a thorn in the sides of Democratic politicians and Leftists political groups for a long time.

We heard a lot from the Left during the Clinton scandals bemoaning "the politics of personal destruction". We have seen Congress pass Orwellian restrictions on the content of political speech in order to remove some of the "nastiness" in politics. But so long as people (on both sides) hold attitudes like the one seen on SNL, we will not have civility in political discourse. As long as people (not only at the national level, but even at the local level) wish personal harm to their political rivals and take pleasure in the thought of a political rival getting harmed personally, American politics will continue to decline.

If you want clean politics, it all starts with recognizing that the other side is human, too.