November 1, 2006

A neurologist discusses Michael J. Fox and Rush Limbaugh

Posted in Media, Medicine, Politics at 2:39 pm by The Lizard Queen

I have a few clear biases here: first, I was utterly in love with Michael J. Fox in the mid-80s (come on, who wasn’t?). Second, I’ve disliked Rush Limbaugh since I first heard him in the late 80s or so. Third, my father wrote the following. Still, I found his analysis of the current Fox-versus-Limbaugh debate (which is, of course, much less a debate than a bully picking on a disabled kid) interesting, and thought some of my lovely readers might as well.

As a neurologist it’s been easy for me to recognize Mr. Fox’s states on TV. Once I saw a reporter catch up with him on the way in to speak. Fox was shuffling with a hand tremor typical of Parkinson’s. When speaking he always has the opposite symptoms, the dyskinesias that are side effects of medications that loosen up the Parkinsonian symptoms. It would be typical of patients to take their medications minutes before they need to walk or talk. Apparently that’s what Fox does. For that he’s being attacked?Several days after saying Fox was putting on an act, Rush Limbaugh said on his show he had received many messages telling him that he had it wrong, that Fox’s symptoms were from too much medicine, not too little. But Limbaugh couldn’t just say he was wrong. Instead he then spoke as if Fox had been manipulating the audience by taking too much medicine. No, Fox does what patients with Parkinson’s have to do to function. They suffer the side effects of medication that allows them to move rather than the Parkinson’s that keeps them rigid.

Some conservative bloggers and commentators are parroting Limbaugh’s recent position. Some are still stuck on Limbaugh’s initial contention that Fox was faking or like Sean Hannity pretending that putting on “an act” is different from “faking”. What power Rush has over Republicans to follow him in ignorance and arrogance.

Then Laura Bush chimes in about manipulating people’s feelings. Strange she wasn’t criticizing her husband’s party for that.

Many politicians are scum when it comes to lying about people. My own observations are that Republicans are worse than Democrats at this, but how can such a thing be quantified? I’m sure it’s a human capacity for arrogance and ignorance, for partisanship and denial that drives this, whoever is the most under that spell. I understand that better than I understand why more people don’t see this. If they did, negative ads would kill a candidate rather than boost a candidate despite some negative backlash as it seems to be now. People either don’t mind the partisanship or they really believe the attacks on others, such as when Republicans imply that voting for Democrats will get you killed or when Democrats suggests all Republicans are scumbags. That’s what I don’t understand. Why is this OK with people? Why do people listen to Rush? Why do they find simplistic and fantastic bombast worth their time?

I’ve asked those same questions myself enough times that I don’t expect I’ll ever come up with an answer.


1 Comment »

  1. Anonymous said,

    We all knew something was up with Rush. LOL!


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