Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rush Limbaugh, anal probes, rectal exams, butt boys, aliens and homosexual paranoia of a Freudian kind

(Above: how to check your opponent's tackle is in working order, by John Hopoate).

The intertubes is a wondrous place, and you never know what you might bump into just around the corner in the next pipe. I know, I know, they're seriously over-full, like a sewer under pressure, but in a way that news cues in the latest bout of sex talk to become a cause celebre.

We don't usually dwell too much on Rush Limbaugh down under, even if he is the current president of the Republican Party, but there's still an irresistible desire to spread the word about Gabriel Winant's article on Limbaugh's anal fixation - Rush Limbaugh's race to the bottom.

Here in Australia, fear of homosexuality is par for the course - even footballers sometimes find it a convenient way to upset their opponents, as John Hopoate tried when he stuck his finger up the bum of a few rivals in 2001 when playing for West Tigers against North Queensland Cowboys. And the way the right wing commentariat seethes about gay marriage is pretty par for the course, along with as many snide poofter-bashing asides as they think they can get away with.

But then rugby league is perhaps as fine an example of a seething mass of sexual contradictions and confusions as you could find anywhere in the world. One minute you're sticking your head up another man's bum in a scrum, and the next minute you're asserting your fearsome heterosexuality in case someone thinks all that wrestling and sweat exchange on the field might remind viewers of a naked Alan Bates and Oliver Reed going hard at it in Ken Russell's Women in Love.

So when Winant lists the profuse Limbaugh references to butt boys and bending over and grabbing your ankles, and talks of anal poisoning, it doesn't startle so much as amuse. This is the current president of the GOP? This quivering hunk of homosexual paranoia and fear is the hero of the conservative movement?

There's nothing like hearing a grown man make jokes about probing and rectal exams and a woman being raped to suggest things can get a little strange in America.

How to explain it? Well I guess there's always the alien abduction theory, since aliens seem to have a healthy interest in anal probing and anal exams, and that's infinitely more rewarding than dreary old Freudian theories which reduce reduce fear of homosexuality to a kind of paranoia. If I can borrow a little from Judith Halberstam's book Skin Shows:

Freud "On the Mechanism of Paranoia":

... we were astonished to find that in all these cases a defence against a homosexual wish was clearly recognizable at the very centre of the conflict which underlay the disease (paranoia), and that it was an attempt to master an unconsciously reinforced current of homosexuality that they had all of them come to grief.

Halberstam expands on this:

The Gothic hallucinations that accompany his fears force the paranoiac to repudiate his desire for men by expressing a fear of persecution by other men. Like Dr. Frankenstein, the paranoiac both desires male companionship and then feels persecuted by it. Like Mr. Hyde, the paranoiac produces the other within himself and then projects that other out into the external world.

Rush Limbaugh, quoted by Winant, on his fear of bending over:

"I have a very sensitive rear end because I am a sensitive guy."
"I never bend over forward in public, especially in these times."
"I dropped something, is what the confusion is here and I -- in -- in New York City I never bend over forward. And -- so -- in public. So I needed somebody to come pick it up for me."
"I seldom bend over forward in public, for obvious reasons."

Wow. Is that paranoia or what?

It's lucky that those on the right dismiss psychotherapy and Freudian analysis as a load of horseshit because otherwise you might think Limbaugh would benefit from a bit of therapy.

Is it just a coincidence that a lot of South Park humor revolves around anal matters, and of course anal probes? What does this say about America and about the tendency of Christian preachers to get caught in motels with another man, and it goes without saying, with their pants down?

But wait, Winant provides more, and it seems there's a fetish going down which applies to women as much as it applies to a fear of men:

In 1993, his crew adjusted a studio camera as he said of a woman in the audience, "There she is, from the rear. That's as much as you'll ever see of her, ladies and gentlemen. She wants it that way."

Apparently flirting, Limbaugh told a female guest in 1996, "I recognized you from behind."

In one particularly notorious comment, Limbaugh -- who popularized the word "feminazi" -- said, "I love the women's movement. Especially when I'm walking behind it."

Wow, there's even more of it, so pop over and give Salon a hit to finish the read. But I can't resist quoting Winant's closer:

That's a ton of junk to come out of one trunk, even an oversize one. Rush's stream of caboose comments reads like fiction, as if he were a character from "Portnoy's Complaint." But as Limbaugh himself says, "We don't make anything up here, folks. We don't have to. Philip Roth, the great novelist -- he says, 'I'm going to stop writing novels. I can't make up anything more weird than real life.'"

That settles it. It has to be the aliens, Xenu maybe, who made Limbaugh this way. And yes intelligent life can take many forms. And so can unintelligent life. Whatever, keep watching the skies people, and never bend down ...

No comments: