Two articles on the front page in yesterday morning’s Washington Post (Friday, March 6, 2009) tell us more about the kinds of drama in our daily life than perhaps we really want to think about. At the bottom of the page is an article on starvation in North Korea. We have become accustomed to these stories of starvation, desolation, loneliness and loss. We are obligated out of some sense of shared humanity to read these stories though most of us do nothing beyond that. On the other hand, up in the left hand corner, the readers left hand, a picture of Rush Limbaugh seems to shout for our attention. Limbaugh is la mosca, the fly in Renaissance Drama. That character, the fly, moves the action by buzzing and stinging the protagonist with rumors and slanders to force a reaction and pushes the story line to its conclusion. Iago is the most famous fly in the English language; but Limbaugh is a cartoon caricature. It is his flailing, wing beating, bristling quality in the angry comedy that we see; but it is his own “heroic journey” that moves Mr. Limbaugh out of being the mosca that we see , and into the role of victimized protagonist in his own melodrama. It is that confusion that we experience when we think of how he performs and his popularity. And it is that confusion that warns genuine conservative politicians away from challenging him. They are rightly afraid that he can and will raise a swarm to avenge any interference in the drama he has chosen to produce.
Rush on stage