“This is in extreme poor taste and everyone involved ought to be ashamed,” said Rush Limbaugh of the NFL’s decision to let Jennifer Lopez and Shakira shake it during Sunday’s halftime show. “That type of performance poses a real danger to Americans. For instance, I now have cancer.”
“Oh my, I’m so sorry to hear that. And you think the lung cancer was caused by the Latin-centric performance?” I asked, but Rush was vague. “Whose to say? All I know is I spent my entire life without cancer, then Shakira starts dancing at the Super Bowl and…draw your own conclusions,” said Mr. Limbaugh as he chomped on his trademark cigar. I asked him whether he felt it was fair to criticize JLO and Shakira’s performance considering Rush is a white person who is more of a Neil Diamond fan. “Look, if the NFL is going to put on a show I’m allowed to have an opinon about it. And exploiting that opinion with hyperbole to advance a racist political agenda is on brand for me.”
“Right. Well, thanks for your time,” I told Rush. “I do hope you feel better.”
“No, you don’t. You don’t care if I recover. You know what your problem is, you want to spend your entire life pretending that you care about people and support free speech, but then you have someone like me who says things you disagree with and you use me as a punchline to a joke that isn’t even clever. You are an example of the hypocrisy in the liberal media you claim to fight against. You ought to also be ashamed of yourself.”
“Right. Well, again…I hope you get better. Truly.” I said before leaving his office. As I drove home I found that Rush Limbaugh’s accusations hit me harder than I expected. I sat in my car and reflected on what it said about me that my first instinct upon hearing that another human was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer was to make a joke about it, and how my reaction negatively contributes to our culture of disagreement. But then, in an attempt to drown out these self-critical thoughts Rush Limbaugh put in my brain, I played the half-time performance on YouTube.
“Jesus, how is J Lo is 50?” I thought and with that completely forgot who Rush Limbaugh was and absolved myself of any guilt for thinking shitty things about him.