There’s something kind of awesome about listening to Rush Limbaugh kick and scream like a 4-year-old child being told to eat his spinach instead of shovel cookies into his face. This entire bit is hilarious, listening to him whine and cry about how terrible and disgusting it is to put OMG actual plant matter in your mouth. While it’s funny listening to him be a little baby about this, though, there’s more to be concerned about here. Limbaugh has taken to suggesting that the advice to eat fruits and vegetables (and to exercise) is conspiracy organized by scientists that are hiding the truth, for nefarious purposes. It’s hard not to wonder if he’s trying to kill his listeners by ranting at them about how their diet should be nothing but junk food and their physical activity levels shouldn’t exceed picking up the remote control and pressing buttons.
My feeling about this is that one of Limbaugh’s talents is to take his own psychological issues and to project them out into political rants that rationalize himself to himself, and this tends to work because a lot of what makes him such a pathetic figure affects members of his audience.
There's been a petulant child aspect to Republicans that goes back decades. I remember George H.W. Bush ranting about broccoli. The fears and resentments of childhood are part and parcel of right-wing talk radio. The way they talk about terrorists, the resentment of those who are prettier -- it's all part of a very primal mindset that they have that most of us outgrow by the time we reach adulthood. I don't know if people on the right really HAVE stopped developing emotionally at the age of four, or if it's just what you have to do in order to tap into that reptilian brain.
We all know that right-wing Republicans have a serious problem with anything that smacks of conservation or of trying to leave a smaller footprint. It seems to offend their sense of manhood, which demands big gas-guzzling vehicles, big consumption of big food, and leaving huge piles of garbage behind. So it's hardly surprising that as part of the Giant Republican Tantrum that's been thrown ever since January 20, 2010, one of the first things the Republican House is doing is restoring non-biodegradable styrofoam cups to the Capitol cafeteria:
In the first move toward phasing out part of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) "Green the Capitol" program, polystyrene cups were reintroduced this week as an option for coffee drinkers in the Capitol Carry-Out, the building's mini-cafeteria.
The basement eatery had been part of Pelosi's "Greening" program since 2007, when Democrats took control of the House. The program brought climate-friendly vending machines and compact fluorescent lightbulbs to the Capitol; caused the Capitol Power Plant to switch from burning coal to natural gas; and reduced energy and water consumption in Capitol buildings by 23 percent and 32 percent, respectively, according to an April 2010 report.
But it was the $475,000 composting program in the House-side cafeterias that stirred the most controversy. Designed to cut down on waste, the program instituted the use of biodegradable utensils and trays made of cornstarch -- an idea that may have worked better in theory than in practice, as it led to take-away boxes that leaked, spoons that melted and forks that broke when stuck into so much as a chicken tender.
Bullshit. The company I work for also uses these biodegradable utensils and trays. Yes, the forks can bend if you jab a piece of chicken too hard, but they don't break. But I've eaten chili and stew and some pretty wet foods out of the degradable cardboard containers and they do NOT leak through. Most places that have these things also offer cardboard take-out trays that protect the container even further. The larger picture, though, is that this is a relatively minor inconvenience compared to adding to the massive piles of non-degradable garbage that we produce every year.
I have the sense that this is less about outrage over bent forks and damp food containers than it is about just sticking one of these forks metaphorically into Nancy Pelosi's eye.
And somehow I'll bet that not one Republican puts so much as a pea into those containers -- because Rush Limbaugh thinks vegetables are for sissies.
Wonkette puts it all into perspective:
“Foamed polystyrene” is a miraculous invention that manages to be completely awful through every step of its near-eternal “life cycle” — it is manufactured with petroleum that must be imported from Middle East dictatorships, toxic “styrene oligomers” migrate into the food it holds, it’s highly flammable and produces black poisonous smoke, and most of the 25 billion polystyrene cups tossed every year will take more than half a millennium to degrade. And that’s why the Republican-led House of Representatives made it an immediate priority to cancel the House cafeteria’s four years of biodegradable food and beverage packaging. It’s part of the GOP leadership’s “return to the mid-1990s” program. Nancy Pelosi sure was a yucky woman trying to do some sane environmentally-minded things, wasn’t she? Thank the American Jesus that woman is no longer in charge of anything.
Go read the whole rant.