Rush Limbaugh, a conservative radio host with a weekly audience of 15 million, is not a name that generally crosses the cultural divide.
But a remark by John Adams, introducing his new violin concerto at Lincoln Center last week, has roused Rush supporters to spitting fury. A neo-con commentator Jay Nordlinger was in the hall for the concert and drew the absurd conclusion that Adams had likened Limbaugh to the Taliban. So Nordlinger psyched up The Mouth himself.
You can read Rush Limbaugh’s full rant here.
This was a symphony for violin and some such movement or whatever, and the composer decided to take to the microphone and explain to the audience — it’s a black-tie audience, Avery Fisher Hall — what it was that inspired this particular symphony or piece or movement that he was performing, conducting, whatever he was doing last night. And he said he had been in Paris, in Europe, and he was reading Arabian Nights, and he was reading other tracts.
And he was just stunned and he found out all of the discrimination and hatred and mistreatment of women in the Arab world. And then he paused and he said, “You can find that here on Rush Limbaugh.” Nordlinger said what happened next sickened him. The audience in Avery Fisher haul applauded for nearly two minutes. The composer was referencing me as no different than militant Islamists and their treatment for women.
Limbaugh has clearly never set foot in a classical concert if he imagines everyone is in black tie and a concerto is the same as a symphony. But leave that aside.
From this distance, it seems to us that these rightwing motormouths can dish it out to Obama and the Democrats, but they go running to Mummy at the slightest hint of a personal aspersion.
Let’s hear it for John Adams. He should get a radio show.