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Rush Limbaugh has gone deaf.
October 8, 2001 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Rush Limbaugh has gone deaf. While he can recognize sound, he cannot understand it, including callers to his radio show. He's working around it now (somehow), but may have to change his format in the near future. Rush's site is being hit hard, but you can find a transcript of his monologue here.
posted by ewagoner (85 comments total)

 
Wasn't he always deaf, metaphorically?
posted by stevis at 12:03 PM on October 8, 2001


Sorry for the munged first link. This is Rush's site here. I've nearly never agreed with Rush, but I used to listen to him often, as his show was the only one I could pick up during my daily drives across the New Mexico desert. I hope we learn how he's working around things now. It could be a wonderful example of real-time speech-to-text conversion.
posted by ewagoner at 12:03 PM on October 8, 2001


In mid-career, musical magician Beethoven went deaf...

Why is Drudge such a frickin' tool?
posted by jpoulos at 12:04 PM on October 8, 2001


Assuming this isn't a hoax of some sort...wow. My sympathies to Rush. Don't always agree with him, but I very much admire the source of his popularity: his belief that ideas are important, and his often very-well articulated manner of communicating them. He also virtually revived the entire "talk radio" format on AM radio. Love him or hate him, he has made a difference in American culture. I hope he is able to continue to broadcast.
posted by davidmsc at 12:05 PM on October 8, 2001


For weeks, people have debating why he sounded different. This is extremely sad. Hopefully, they can figure out how to fix or restore his hearing. Warning: A-hole members of the Left will celebrate this; a litmus test.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:06 PM on October 8, 2001


jpoulos: Why is Drudge such a frickin' tool?

Huh? I don't follow.
posted by davidmsc at 12:07 PM on October 8, 2001


Is this Clinton's fault too?
posted by internetgeniuses at 12:12 PM on October 8, 2001


I use the word "tool" to mean "dork". Maybe it's a regional term.

My point is that comparing Limbaugh and Beethoven is ludicrous.
posted by jpoulos at 12:16 PM on October 8, 2001


what?
posted by quonsar at 12:18 PM on October 8, 2001


Why couldn't he have lost is voice instead? Hee. Hee.
posted by sharksandwich at 12:20 PM on October 8, 2001


No, ParisParamus, it's terrible when anyone loses their hearing. To celebrate this would be only be possible if his ideological foes have no empathy. And that's one of the things that the Left has in spades.

I wonder if he'll now support federal funding of programs for the hearing impaired or is that still too liberal for him?
posted by stevis at 12:23 PM on October 8, 2001


One of my closest friends went completely deaf at age 14. Deafness changes everything. I have never much liked Rush, but this is terribly sad for him.
posted by swerve at 12:23 PM on October 8, 2001


I'm past disagreeing with him -- I absolutely despise his ideas and what he stands for.

Too bad about his hearing though. (Just to validate stevis' point ;)
posted by jragon at 12:31 PM on October 8, 2001


His report makes it sound as though he can hear sounds within a certain frequency range, i.e. he can hear people speaking, but not with enough resolution to understand words. I don't understand While he can recognize sound, he cannot understand it. That would be a very bizarre form of brain damage affecting language cognition, to be blunt about it, i.e. The famous Larson "What dogs hear..." cartoon ("Blah blah blah blah Rover, blah blah blah.") So which is it exactly?

Either way, tough break. I'm glad he's going to keep up his radio show.
posted by rschram at 12:36 PM on October 8, 2001


It seems only fitting to me. Not that it's a good thing, but still.
posted by fusinski at 12:36 PM on October 8, 2001


jpoulos: I disagree; comparing Beethoven and Limbaugh seems to be fairly apt, given the condition that they both suffer: hearing loss.

As I said, whether you love him or hate him (or fall in between, like me), I think it would be fair to say that Limbaugh is a literal master of his craft; he is an expert at what he does; he has an incredibly loyal following; his words influence many people. His primary means of supporting himself & communicating with others, namely listening & talking, has been lost to a large degree as a result of hearing loss.

Yea?
posted by davidmsc at 12:39 PM on October 8, 2001


I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a sense completely, especially when it's so closely tied to your livelihood and your identity. (Beyond that, if he was ever planning to have kids, he might never hear their voices.)

If he goes deaf completely, I don't see how he can keep doing a radio show. With all his money, perhaps Limbaugh will be able to fund some pioneering new research for the hearing impaired.
posted by rcade at 12:45 PM on October 8, 2001


rschram: Actually, that kind of hearing loss is not so unusual. I have a friend who doesn't hear very well, and he has a hearing aid, which helps to an extent, presumably because the louder something is, the easier it is to "understand" -- but there's a point where no matter how loud it is, he can only understand the words to a certain degree. What he has is not nearly as bad as what Rush supposedly has, you just have to repeat stuff to him somewhat often. He's also not the only one I've seen with this, just the only one I really know.

There's clearly a part of the brain specialized for perception of language as opposed to something else (there are various ways to show this). I don't see why if there's a part of the brain that does it, it can't be damaged. Although why it would happen with age, you've got me.
posted by caveday at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2001


He should learn sign language and conduct his show with an interpreter for the phone calls. What a great job for an ASL 'terp who agrees with his views, eh?

Sort of off-topic but not really, did anyone see the episode of Politically Correct with deaf actress Marlee Matlin? Or the two new commercials with ASL in them? One's for some cell phone text messaging service, the other's for some broadband provider, AT&T I think. Not to mention the recurring deaf themes on ER. Interesting how the deaf lifestyle is getting more focus these days, eh?
posted by starvingartist at 12:49 PM on October 8, 2001


On what grounds would Bush call him a "national treasure"?
posted by sudama at 12:50 PM on October 8, 2001


I admit my first reaction, partially inspired by the tedious god/no god thread earlier today, was:

"...hmmm-maybe there IS a god afterall!"

But it's not something to joke about, and I give him a lot of credit for being so open about it. Hope he recovers some of his audio.
posted by groundhog at 12:53 PM on October 8, 2001


That's really sad for Rush. I'm sure he will find a way to continue doing what he does, though. As he said, he can still communicate.

Side note: Why the hell is the font size on Drudge's page so damn small?
posted by Potsy at 12:58 PM on October 8, 2001


I'm no fan, but I do listen to the show once in awhile. I'd noticed that he sounded weird lately and wondered if he was sick. I guess now we know what the deal is. I wonder how long he'll really be able to keep the show going... won't his speech continue to degrade?
posted by spilon at 12:59 PM on October 8, 2001


Interesting how the deaf lifestyle is getting more focus these days, eh?

I've noticed it too. The murders at Gallaudet university several months (year?) ago brought some of the issues in the deaf community to the surface of the media. I'm fascinated by the argument among some in the deaf community that theirs IS a community, apart from "hearning" society, and how certain members shun any possible return of hearing ability. Wonder if the "blind community" has activists like the "deaf community" does? Just curious & thoughtful.
posted by davidmsc at 1:01 PM on October 8, 2001


I think what Bush really meant to say was "he's an annoying fat man" but Rush misheard the comment due to his hearing loss.

No, but really, it is too bad for him personally. If only he had lost his appetite instead.
posted by Outlawyr at 1:05 PM on October 8, 2001


No, ParisParamus, it's terrible when anyone loses their hearing.

Quite possibly the most intelligent person I know became Deaf at age 6 - she is working on her PhD. now and knows 9 languages, including classical Greek and Latin. She came to the states knowing no English or ASL.

The real reason her life isn't terrible is her perspective on things - she knows there isn't anything she can do to hear, and she's comfortable with that. What puts her above most of the Deaf community is that she's open to communicating with the hearing world. Deafness is not a disability, particularly to those born Deaf - it is a culture. A culture full of prejudices and classes, bigotry and misconceptions. When the hearing world accepts that, when we realize that ASL is a language like any other (and has contributed significant findings for linguistics, in fact) then I hope we can start to bridge the divides between our worlds.


On a more I've-always-hated-that-misogynist note, did he ever say bad things about ADA etc? I love these ironies.

davidmsc: did you see that movie about the blind man who gets sight surgery? the problem with being deaf from birth is that even if your hearing plopped back one day, you would have no idea how to process those sounds. look how bad speech recognition systems are. the synapses for that kind of analysis are long gone. The reason the Deaf community can exist while there isn't as strong of a blind community is that our society caters to sight. The Deaf can drive a car, use a computer without special tools... also there is the linguistic barrier - the blind can speak and talk normally - which is really the core of a culture.
Nicaragua, due to its former regimes, is now a hotbed of signed language study... and a good example how the Deaf are shut off from the world without their own community.
posted by phoenix enflamed at 1:17 PM on October 8, 2001


While I, too, have always been a member of the "Rush is Reich" crowd, this is truly sad for him, especially considering his career. He *has* changed the American landscape, in a way that I can't entirely disagree with. Here's hoping that some good can come of this.
posted by jammer at 1:21 PM on October 8, 2001


[P]resumably because the louder something is, the easier it is to "understand"

I think my confusion was over the use of the terms "understand" and "recognize." To me these suggest that Rush lost a perception of the meaning of speech, but could hear the sounds used to convey it. His statement linked above suggests that the loss is on the sound side, not the language side. His treatment thus far, like that of your friend, has been to magnify sounds into the perceptible range. So, his loss is like that of your friend.

But it was not what I originally thought was being described. I thought that conversation started, essentially, to sound like a foreign language. This (so far only hypothetical) condition would be neurological, and would be especially interesting because it would presumably not affect reading and writing, even though one might think those are controlled by the language part of the brain. And would a sign language be comprehensible, also?
posted by rschram at 1:23 PM on October 8, 2001


This explains so much - I heard Rush call up his own show on 9/11 when Bill Handel was filling in for him, and he simply wouldn't answer a damn thing Handel said. I thought at the time that he was just shell-shocked or being obstinate - wow.
posted by brookedel at 1:23 PM on October 8, 2001


> I don't understand While he can recognize sound, he
> cannot understand it. That would be a very bizarre form
> of brain damage affecting language cognition, to be
> blunt about it

An analogy that's pretty close: imagine a person with poor eyesight. He picks up a book and looks at a page. He can see the page covered with fuzzy little blobs -- he can tell that something is printed there -- but he can't see them as meaningful letters. He can't extract the meaning of the letters.

My own hearing is fine for holding a conversation as long as there's no competing sound but as soon as there is some competing sound in the mix I start to have trouble. It is exactly like the Larsen cartoon. I quit taking dates to loud-music bars years ago because the only way they could communicate with me when the band's playing (or when 100 people are all hollering at each other) is with written notes. I can see that the lady's talking. I can hear sound coming from her mouth. But I can't understand what she's saying. It's as if she's going MUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE! FROOB?
posted by jfuller at 1:31 PM on October 8, 2001


As rush was immitating Clinton, he stopped and appologized for the bad immitation, if it was indeed bad, because he was doing the voice by memory (couldn't hear himself doing it). Actually, I thought it was one of his better attempts.

I feel bad for Rush, however, he'll make the best of it.
posted by tomplus2 at 1:40 PM on October 8, 2001


The real reason her life isn't terrible is her perspective on things - she knows there isn't anything she can do to hear, and she's comfortable with that. What puts her above most of the Deaf community is that she's open to communicating with the hearing world. Deafness is not a disability, particularly to those born Deaf - it is a culture. A culture full of prejudices and classes, bigotry and misconceptions. When the hearing world accepts that, when we realize that ASL is a language like any other (and has contributed significant findings for linguistics, in fact) then I hope we can start to bridge the divides between our worlds.

A lot of this is due to a historical/political problems in dealing with deafness. Historically there have been two schools of thought. Adaptationists spend thousands of hours focusing on lip reading and speech therapy with a miserable success rate and has traditionally been hostile to ASL. The ASL camp pushes for early detection of childhood deafness, and using ASL as the primary language during the critical language period from birth to age 5, and then teaching English as a second language. Adpatationsts argue that ASL prevents the deaf from merging with society, ASL advocates point out that without the ability to hear during the critical language period, deaf people will never be able to speak or read lips well enough to become invisible. So there is quite a bit of well justified anger from older deaf people who were forced into years of speech thearpy that turned out to be next to useless.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:47 PM on October 8, 2001


he never listened much anyhow
posted by tsarfan at 1:57 PM on October 8, 2001


As with all things like this, you sure hate for anyone --let alone someone of Rush's stature in the broadcasting biz-- to have this kind of personal tradegy befall them.

It's strange, though -- especially considering how Rush always claimed he was using "talent on loan from God"...
posted by blackholebrain at 2:00 PM on October 8, 2001



An analogy that's pretty close: imagine a person with poor eyesight. He picks up a book and looks at a page. He can see the page covered with fuzzy little blobs -- he can tell that something is printed there -- but he can't see them as meaningful letters. He can't extract the meaning of the letters.

This is a good analogy of what hearing loss is like. I want to go on record as saying that I understand what hearing loss is, and I don't equate partial deafness with brain damage in a pejorative sense.

Just to pursue this a little further, I will offer another analogy to describe another hypothetical speech-comprehension problem: an illiterate person with 20/20 vision, who can recognize letters, but can't associate them with sounds.

Obviously Rush has not become speech-illiterate, but when people say "recognize" and "understand," rather than "perceive" or "hear," its hard for me to tell.
posted by rschram at 2:10 PM on October 8, 2001


Okay, I'm havin' me a real moral dilemma, here. On the one hand, I understand and sympathize with what Rush is facing. I've never had hearing in my left ear, and, though it has been well above average so far, the hearing in my right ear will probably go bye-bye someday; possibly very suddenly. I was told many years ago, that I would most likely be deaf by the time I was forty. Its looking pretty likely that I'll beat those odds, but who knows what's coming. I don't wish that for myself, and I sure feel bad that Rush faces it now.
On the other hand, I have listened with great amusement to that man's apocryphal lies, his deliberate misstatements, his childish attacks on those who should have just been left out of his rhetoric, and his hate-mongering towards those who are too weak and/or down-trodden to even think of fighting back. He is a pathetic demagogue of the worst sort. And I'm supposed to feel sorry for him? Not likely.

ParisParamis, your warning was nothing but a challenge and I accept. Your specious logic doesn't fly. (If you're on the left, you will celebrate. Hence if you don't feel bad for what Rush is going through, then you're on the left and an Asshole. That's just the kind of loaded and falicious logic Rush uses). Therefore I won't celebrate his coming infirmity, but if it teaches him a modicum of humility, kindness and acceptance then I will have a damn hard time feeling bad about it as well. Maybe the A-Hole left (is that like the A-team?) will do something else. But, challenge or no challenge, expect no tears from this quarter. Deaf or not, Rush is still an ass. Maybe in the future ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:33 PM on October 8, 2001


Did no one simply check his ear canal for a stray candy corn?
Seriously, could solve the whole problem.
posted by dong_resin at 2:54 PM on October 8, 2001


phoenix enflamed - Deafness is a disability. Pretending it is not does not change the reality that the deaf lack the capability to hear. The deaf may form another culture, but that culture is not deafness. Deafness is the inability to hear. And any culture defined by a lack is by nature a community founded on exclusion.

As for Rush, my hope is twofold: that he regains his ability to hear and understand voices, and that his ordeal encourages some much needed self-examination. I haven't listened in years, so perhaps what was originally there has collapsed under the pressure of maintaining the cognitive dissonace, but it was clear to me back then that he knew a large chunk of what he espoused was inconsistant, untrue and indefensible.
posted by NortonDC at 2:56 PM on October 8, 2001


phoenix enflamed - Deafness is a disability. Pretending it is not does not change the reality that the deaf lack the capability to hear. The deaf may form another culture, but that culture is not deafness. Deafness is the inability to hear. And any culture defined by a lack is by nature a community founded on exclusion.

As for Rush, my hope is twofold: that he regains his ability to hear and understand voices, and that his ordeal encourages some much needed self-examination. I haven't listened in years, so perhaps what was originally there has collapsed under the pressure of maintaining the cognitive dissonace, but it was clear to me back then that he knew a large chunk of what he espoused was inconsistant, untrue and indefensible.
posted by NortonDC at 3:00 PM on October 8, 2001


Wulfgar: Lots of people are asses. I could name some names in this thread (starting with me, of course). Still, you'd have to be pretty Old Testament to view something like this as just desserts.
posted by rcade at 3:01 PM on October 8, 2001


That does it. When does Rod Serling step out from behind the tree? When do I wake up mumbling"there's no place like home?"

When do I turn on the tv and see the twin towers back where they belong? When do I click on the Drudge Report link and see this deaf Rush thing was all a joke?

It's time to go down to the bomb shelter with some Beverly Hills reruns and some Doritos and pretend for a while there was never an internet....
posted by bunnyfire at 3:02 PM on October 8, 2001


phoenix enflamed - Deafness is a disability. Pretending it is not does not change the reality that the deaf lack the capability to hear. The deaf may form another culture, but that culture is not deafness. Deafness is the inability to hear. And any culture defined by a lack is by nature a community founded on exclusion.

As for Rush, my hope is twofold: that he regains his ability to hear and understand voices, and that his ordeal encourages some much needed self-examination. I haven't listened in years, so perhaps what was originally there has collapsed under the pressure of maintaining the cognitive dissonace, but it was clear to me back then that he knew a large chunk of what he espoused was inconsistant, untrue and indefensible.
posted by NortonDC at 3:07 PM on October 8, 2001


It's almost like a fable: The Man Who Would Not Listen becomes the Man Who Cannot Hear.

I am by no means saying he deserved anything bad to happen to him, but since I've always found him to be a man incapable of hearing anything but his own voice, this seems weirdly apt.
posted by stefanie at 3:10 PM on October 8, 2001


Sorry for the doubling, folks. Connectivity problems and a db error report from mefi.
posted by NortonDC at 3:12 PM on October 8, 2001


rcade - please notice that I never refered to this as "just desserts". I simply won't be coerced into feeling sorry for an asshole because life handed him a setback, whether he's a popular asshole or not. Especially considering how many people he has degraded due to the setbacks life has handed them. Justice? No. Ironically fitting? That's the dilemma isn't it?
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:15 PM on October 8, 2001


If only he had lost his appetite instead.

Seen a picture of him in the last couple of years? That man has done some serious slimming down -- he doesn't look "fat" or overweight in any sense of the word.
posted by davidmsc at 3:42 PM on October 8, 2001


Does anyone know if President Bush really called this blowhard a "national treasure"? Or is just the Dittohead camp putting spin on their almighty Rush? Or is Drudge just handing a rim job to the afore mentioned Dittoheads? Still - it's awful that he lost his hearing... maybe this imparment will give him time to reflect on his polictics. Could we see a more humble Rush?
posted by wfrgms at 4:34 PM on October 8, 2001


WHAT?????
posted by billybob at 4:40 PM on October 8, 2001


I really feel for Rush; this must be especially hard for him. He's spent a large portion of his adult life yelling at people he thought were wrong... and now he can't hear them.

The sad thing is, I really think he's too dedicated to what he does to ever stop. I hope he finds a real way around his problem so he can continue the show.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:41 PM on October 8, 2001


"To celebrate this would be only be possible if his ideological foes have no empathy. And that's one of the things that the Left has in spades."

as opposed to wholesome characteristics like derogitory comments about a specific group of people?

leftist or rightist, i'm going with the trend:

WHAT?!?
posted by jcterminal at 4:47 PM on October 8, 2001


jpoulos: I disagree; comparing Beethoven and Limbaugh seems to be fairly apt, given the condition that they both suffer: hearing loss.

Well, totally deaf, Beethoven managed to write the Ninth Symphony. "Alle Menschen werden Brueder." Only time will tell what Rush's legacy will bring.

Though, like rcade, I wonder how much of that $250m he's going to donate to hearing disability charities? Or whether he's going to reconsider his screeds against "big government" when he thinks of kids growing up with the same affliction? Hmm.
posted by holgate at 5:10 PM on October 8, 2001


I think what Bush really meant to say was "he's an annoying fat man" but Rush misheard the comment due to his hearing loss.

This was a little cold, but it did have me laughing out loud. I've also listened to Rush for years and wondered why he sounds different today. I also agree that the past few weeks have had a definite "twilight zone" quality to them.
posted by rglasmann at 5:21 PM on October 8, 2001


On what grounds would Bush call him a "national treasure"?

On the grounds that he's an idiot?
posted by rushmc at 5:45 PM on October 8, 2001


I never listened to him, but my parents did, for a long time. even though i don't agree with most of his statements, that is so, so, sad
posted by pete at 6:15 PM on October 8, 2001


I'm sorry, but... Hee hee! :)
posted by hincandenza at 6:52 PM on October 8, 2001


today...the first day in years i turned on the news radio on a whim and heard rush going at his clinton impression. that apology midway weirded me out a bit.

(this gets long, and is from an American's perspective)

deaf culture is a pretty wild and crazy thing to deal with. i work at arizona relay service typing phone conversations for deaf and hard of hearing and voice impaired folks all day (night) long. the experience has led me to a few polar realizations about the deaf (and hard of hearing) community.

1. most deaf and hard of hearing people are undereducated. at an early age many of them are separated from public schooling and sent to state-funded deaf and blind grade schools. from what i've experienced, the result is quite a bit worse than even what we're used to seeing out of public schools. like the PhD mentioned above, those who are able to rise above their educational environments usually do, but most folks (deaf and hearing alike) can't. also, the states' funding has been going south for a while now, which means that some of these schools are closing, forcing deaf (and blind) students into an even more awkward position in public schools that are often ill-equipped to effectively teach a disabled (or culturally different, as d&HoH folks may insist) student.

2. a common result of this educational situation (both the poor quality of it, and the isolational tendencies) is an unwillingness to cross 'cultural' borders and interact with other (namely the hearing) cultures. language is, of course, a huge problem as ASL and English, while using mostly the same words and meanings, have radically different grammatical and presentational structures. when it is necessary, interpreters are used to get through the language barrier, but their effectiveness is limited and they are often costly. i can personally relate to all of this (but not officially, as i am just a telephone wire and do not absorb anything that goes in through my ears and out my fingers at work). however, the isolation is not just from the D&HoH community. many hearing people are simply unwilling to take the time to communicate through the barrier. every day, at least once, i explain the relay service to a hearing person and have them reply "oh, ok. *click*" "not interested. *click*" "this is a business. *click*" "no! shut up! no! *click" and, in all seriousness, "deaf people don't eat ice cream *click*"

*sigh* i don't know. i could go on and on (we do nothing on our breaks but philosophize and bitch about deaf/hearing cultures). this is a huge obstacle that divides a good portion of America from the rest. frustrating for both sides. there are countless efforts being done, though. check out csd, which runs relay services in about 27 or so states. there are tons of other things out there, too. wyndtell was the first place i ever saw wireless text messaging - a deaf person's cell phone. my cousin is looking into a voice-to-text wireless device for her friend. technology is really moving along to help break down the communication and cultural barrier.

as for Rush, he can invest in a TTY for the studio and just tell folks to dial 711 before calling his number.

waaay off topic -> i'm reading that book right now, hincandenza. what a trip!
posted by carsonb at 7:05 PM on October 8, 2001


Could it be from vicodin addiciton?
posted by mathowie at 7:18 PM on October 8, 2001


Whoah, good find.
posted by NortonDC at 7:31 PM on October 8, 2001


I used to work for a mail-order computer retailer and we'd get calls from relay centers all the time. I personally took at least one a week.

On the one hand, I felt sympathy for these people. All they wanted to do was make a phone call like a regular human being. Unfortunately, from my end, the process was excruciating. Almost every halfway-technical term had to be spelled out, and it took forever to exchange just a few lines of conversation. They would have wasted far less of everyone's time (theirs included) if they would have just mailed an order in. Of course, getting support and finding out details on the products you were interested in almost demanded a phone call in those days, but today, e-mail's a far better solution.
posted by kindall at 8:21 PM on October 8, 2001


Ok folks - Rush is an entertainer as much as he is a "journalist" or "commentator" or what-have-you. His obnoxious cock-suredness is just part of that act, and part of why he's successful - if you're going to be in business, it certainly helps to believe that you are, in fact, the absolute best, and offer quality that is unmatched in your industry. I actually heard him explain his aggressive bravado this way one afternoon on a random-chance listen to his show in a rare moment of self-reflection. And I was actually kind of inspired at the moment...

Anyways, I find it nauseating to hear giggles or snide comments when someone of a different political persuasion falls ill or dies. How remarkably shallow, un-American, and evil.
posted by glenwood at 9:01 PM on October 8, 2001


Given this global format, I apologize for using the term 'un-American'. I believe in the free-flowing of ideas, and that society in general benefits greatly from speech/idea/thought liberation. To snicker at someone's misfortune because of a difference of ideas is grotesque.
posted by glenwood at 9:03 PM on October 8, 2001


All true, Glenwood, but don't lose sight of the fact that Limbaugh has demonstrated the same kind of loathsome behavior himself on numerous occasions. I'll never forget watching him hold up a picture of a 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton on his short-lived TV show in the early '90s. He called her the "family dog."
posted by rcade at 9:17 PM on October 8, 2001


Sort of off-topic but not really, did anyone see the episode of Politically Correct with deaf actress Marlee Matlin?
She and full-time interpreter<slash>manager Jack Jason were also on Craig Kilborn. She complained that Jack isn't married. Of course not! He's a big fairy.
Interesting how the deaf lifestyle is getting more focus these days, eh?
The deaf lifestyle? Is that like the gay lifestyle?
Almost every halfway-technical term had to be spelled out, and it took forever to exchange just a few lines of conversation. They would have wasted far less of everyone's time (theirs included) if they would have just mailed an order in.
No, the correct course of action is for the call centre to install TTY lines and type back and forth directly.

Anyway, Rush Limbaugh can continue to run a radio show using real-time captioning. It's done all the time for individuals, not just TV shows and conferences; Cf. Kathryn Woodcock's experience.
posted by joeclark at 9:18 PM on October 8, 2001


Joe: I can understand how Limbaugh could receive information on his show -- instant messages, real-time transcriptions, e-mail, but how's he going to hold up a four-hour conversation with millions of people if he reaches a point where he has no idea how his own voice sounds?
posted by rcade at 9:44 PM on October 8, 2001


Divine Justice.
posted by mapalm at 9:45 PM on October 8, 2001


There was some typical right-wing asshole -- I don't use that phrase lightly, stay with me -- who argued on Free Republic a little while back that "Clinton's Americans with Disabilities Act has been proven a fraud" because of the disabled persons caught in the WTC who "endangered" coworkers by needing assistance to escape.

Maybe that guy will have second thoughts because of this.

So, perhaps some good. But, Rush has made out so well from his gig that it's hard to feel sorry for him, yet if he does indeed continue as he seems to be doing, that will earn him some deserved admiration.

And maybe that guy Rush will have second thoughts about the importance of the individual versus the community because of this.

So, perhaps some good.
posted by dhartung at 9:51 PM on October 8, 2001


Rogers is right; if Rush remains deaf, there is a finite limit to how long he can continue doing his show, because there's only so long his voice will remain tolerable to an audience. Our brains are always subconsciously monitoring every word we say, making sure our mouths continue to form the right shapes in order to speak properly. If you go deaf, your mind can't do that monitoring any more, and you will slowly but steadily "forget" how to properly form sounds. It may take a few years, but eventually you will end up speaking almost as badly as someone who has been deaf from birth. As has been noted, Rush's voice had already become noticeably different in the last few months (until today, when it somehow sounded normal again), and he isn't even completely deaf yet. He can find workarounds for dealing with the callers, but once he starts speaking as if his jaw is broken, it's over.

I think it's pretty obvious he is indeed employing a captioner now to transcribe his calls in near-real time for him. There's now a noticable delay between when a caller stops and he starts, and he said today that "you can put two and two together and probably figure out how I'm handling it."

Is that Vicodin thing a DNC talking points memo? That's the FOURTH not-at-all-veiled allusion I've seen from a leftwinger in the last few hours alleging a Rush Vicodin addiction, none of which offered any evidence whatsoever but always included a link to a month-old news story.
posted by aaron at 10:36 PM on October 8, 2001


Though, like rcade, I wonder how much of that $250m he's going to donate to hearing disability charities?

I would hope that first of all he spend whatever he needs to on whatever specialist he can find who may be able to help him or rule out that help is available. The blessing of money is that you can help yourself and yours first. It would be fabulous if he donated millions to hearing disability charities, but that won't help him get his hearing back.
posted by Dreama at 10:51 PM on October 8, 2001


Actually, my thought was that Limbaugh might pull a Michael Milken and put so much money towards his own problem that it could pioneer treatment that can be useful to others.
posted by rcade at 11:30 PM on October 8, 2001


Rogers is right; if Rush remains deaf, there is a finite limit to how long he can continue doing his show, because there's only so long his voice will remain tolerable to an audience.

I don't know if it'd work for his radio career, but with speech therapy a deaf person can learn to "feel" sounds in their throat, so they properly pronounce words. It's probably not good enough for a radio personality though.

He's quite tech savvy from what I've heard (didn't Cam's brother used to work on Rush's Mac?), so I could see him adapting fine to writing more columns and authoring more books.

Is that Vicodin thing a DNC talking points memo? That's the FOURTH not-at-all-veiled allusion I've seen from a leftwinger in the last few hours alleging a Rush Vicodin addiction, none of which offered any evidence whatsoever but always included a link to a month-old news story.

I saw it on a mailing list, and noticed it represented the only unexplained cause of deafness I've seen anywhere. I have no idea how anyone found the old story. That it is a month old is a good thing, it's an article that has nothing to do with him, and no one is saying he's guilty of it, but it's something to think about. I wouldn't think any less of him if he had or didn't have a vicodin addiction. It's not meant to tar his image in any way.

If someone pointed out that drinking lots of Snapple caused deafness, or that driving a car with Goodyear tires lead to deafness, I would post it as well. There has to be some reason why Rush went deaf. Disease, genetics, chemical, there's gotta be a reason.
posted by mathowie at 11:32 PM on October 8, 2001


No, the correct course of action is for the call centre to install TTY lines and type back and forth directly.

Yeah, that was certainly going to happen for ten calls a week... %)
posted by kindall at 11:37 PM on October 8, 2001


Vicodin would certainly explain this odd cryptic remark made by Limbaugh today, "There is a theory as to what's happening, but I'm -- I'm going to keep that to myself. It is not genetic." However, he could just be referring to some environmental cause.
posted by rcade at 11:37 PM on October 8, 2001


Look at the picture on this page. (The second one, in which he's wearing the yellow ugly ass tie, as opposed to the red ugly ass tie). He looks emaciated. I hope he's not dying.
posted by Optamystic at 11:51 PM on October 8, 2001


There has to be some reason why Rush went deaf. Disease, genetics, chemical, there's gotta be a reason.

From Monday's transcript, sixth paragraph:

So I went to the doctor. They assumed it was earwax, (as they always do; I'm 50 years old) and took my oral history and found out that there's some genetic hearing loss in my family, and immediately chalked it up to that.

Delurking to answer mathowie and thank him for his hard work.

As for the vultures in this thread who have rejoiced in Limbaugh's difficulty--a hardship that they will likely never share--"repugnant" is not nearly strong enough a word to describe their sentiments.
posted by skibird at 1:21 AM on October 9, 2001


From further into the transcript:

It's happened, and...there are things that are being done. You would not believe the medication that is flowing through me in an attempt to reverse this. There is a theory as to what's happening, but I'm going to keep that to myself. It is not genetic. There's something more going on than that. I have been through every conceivable medical test and exam this summer you can imagine.
posted by Optamystic at 1:55 AM on October 9, 2001


Sack of shit goes deaf, world mourns. News at 11.
Could we not save our sentimental platitudes and head-nodding for someone worth their weight in water?


aaron : I can't hold back any longer, since you've gotten more active here again of late - do you perceive everything through a dualistic and simlistic Left versus Right lens? How limiting that must be to what seems otherwise to be a reasonably keen intellect. And I don't mean this as an ad-hominem at all - I'm genuinely curious!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:03 AM on October 9, 2001


...simplistic, even.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:38 AM on October 9, 2001


Litmus paper, unfortunately, turns bright red. : (
posted by ParisParamus at 5:24 AM on October 9, 2001


And better dead than red, as we all know.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:36 AM on October 9, 2001


Flash forward to a Rush broadcast six months from now:

Rush: Our top story tonight....
Garret Morris: (shouting) OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT.....
posted by Optamystic at 6:49 AM on October 9, 2001


How limiting that must be to what seems otherwise to be a reasonably keen intellect.

It doesn't seem to get in your way, Stavros.
posted by rcade at 7:03 AM on October 9, 2001


With apologizes to hearing loss suffers everywhere.
---
Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Rush blames Clinton, Reno, Gore and Liberal Media for hearing loss.

Rush Limbaugh announced that he had lost most of his hearing this week during his nationally syndicated radio show. "I have lost my ability to hear. I have not lost my ability to communicate," Limbaugh revealed, "I am, for all practical purposes, deaf. I cannot hear a thing in my left ear, with hearing aids, the most powerful made, mean nothing. I have the ability to recognize sound but not identify it in my right ear." Doctors later noted that Rush’s left ear was surprisingly underdeveloped and that it was unlikely he had been able to hear anything from the left for decades.

Later in his broadcast Limbaugh went on to say, "I do believe that this is a plot by the left. They are entirely capable of pulling something like this off." When asked why the left would seek to handicap Rush as opposed to assassinating him spokesman Kit Carson said, "The last thing the Left want to do is create a martyr. They’d rather incapacitate Rush in this way to silence him once and for all." Carson didn’t know why the left would choose hearing loss over speech loss as a way of silencing Limbaugh.

"Rush admits that the impairment will be a minor setback and that the format of his radio show will have to change somewhat," Carson continued. When asked how Limbaugh’s impairment would affect his communication with studio guests the spokesperson said, "Since when has Rush allowed other people with opinions in the studio?"

Carson acknowledged that there was a distinct difference between being able to hear and actually listening. "Of course Rush listens. He listens to himself every day doesn’t he?"

When asked if this handicap would signal a change in Rush’s stance on federal funding for research Carson noted, "Rush realizes that this is a major handicap but he will still not support liberal federal funding for research into hearing loss. What guarantees would he have that his tax dollars won’t find their way into the hands of some liberal abortionist who is using fetuses for hearing research?"
posted by wfrgms at 7:04 AM on October 9, 2001


rcade : Meaning what, exactly?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:37 AM on October 9, 2001


Perhaps (if it was this) I should have clarified :

<sarcasm>
Better Dead than Red
</sarcasm>
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:45 AM on October 9, 2001


As for the vultures in this thread who have rejoiced in Limbaugh's difficulty--a hardship that they will likely never share--"repugnant" is not nearly strong enough a word to describe their sentiments.

Rejoicing another person's difficulty is not nice. No doubt about it.

But for christ's sake -- Rush Limbaugh isn't exactly Mother Teresa. If Bill Clinton went deaf instead of Rush, I shudder to think that Rush's response would have been.

Especially if it was Clinton's left ear that was causing the problems.
posted by jragon at 11:09 AM on October 10, 2001


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