Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rush Limbaugh's Idiotic Batman Conspiracy Theory (and Denial)

Image from ComicVine
Who is Rush Limbaugh, really? He's a college dropout and former DJ. He lucked into finding a talent for talk radio. He's entertaining, and sharp at what he does. But he's no kind of expert on anything. His alleged greatness is in his presentation style, not his knowledge base. And if his most recent screw up is any indication, he does very little show prep. There was a scene in Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, where Jeff Daniels' news anchor character is winging it, and in the teleprompter it says *VAMP.* I figure that's what Rush thought he'd do with The Dark Night Rises story hook.

Rush had done enough research to know that there was a new Batman movie, that it was highly anticipated, and that it featured a nasty villain named "Bane." It's all Rush needed to stir up some shit, and he probably just figured he could vamp from there. But what Rush didn't realize--and what a huge percent of the population knows--is that Bane has been around as a character in the comics for almost 20 years. And it isn't like he was a minor character either, he broke Batman's back, paralyzing him. It was a media event, and it's where I first heard the character's name.

Rush took the Bane name, conflated it with Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, and cobbled together a half-baked conspiracy theory. Out of whole cloth. And everyone made fun of Rush, and so he had egg on his face. Turns out that Rush has an easy way to deal with embarrassment: pretend it never happened! He's on tape. Millions heard him say it. He denies it.

The whole story shouldn't matter. Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a radio host. He doesn't have special powers or even special insight or knowledge. He's developed an outsized persona, built mostly of ego and fawning fans. And the sad, scary thing is, the now firmly hard-right Republican party looks to Rush for their talking points. John Sununu was spewing Rush's rap almost verbatim the other day. And you know that some of the more gullible listeners believed the Bane/Bain connection. At least for a little while. And some will always believe it.

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