Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hey, look! I'm at the center of a federal investigation!

Limbaugh,Oxycontin,parody,satireHey, look! I'm at the center of a federal investigation! Sort of. I was just contacted by somebody from www.rawstory.com asking about the "Rush Limbaugh for OxyContin" parody ad, a silly graphic I made over six years ago. He correctly attributed it to me. It turns out that some creep was using my parody graphic to hawk illegal prescription painkillers. He got busted by federal agents, and a copy of my graphic appears on printouts of the website in the legal papers. The Smoking Gun has lots more details, including the legal papers. I made the parody ad way back in early October 2003. The original file I have was last modified October 3, 2003. I don't recall the sources of the photos, but I'm pretty sure it was one of Limbaugh's old ads for his line of men's neckties. I think I found both that photo and the image of the bottle through good ol' Google image search. The source photos were not very high resolution. The story elicited two gut reactions in quick succession. First was, "Oh boy, I hope I'm not in trouble for this somehow." (But obviously I'm not, or somebody would have contacted me before now.) The second reaction was dismay and disgust that some scumbag used MY political parody graphic to sell illegal drugs. I don't drink, don't smoke -- the only time I've ever been "high" was from second-hand smoke at a Pink Floyd or Rush (the good Rush!) concert. So it bothers me a bit that somebody used my parody, which was intended to amuse other people who despise Lambaugh as much as I do, and twisted it into a tool to PROMOTE drug abuse. And as a big fan of people like Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow and Randi Rhodes this is probably the only time anybody will ever hear me step up to Limbaugh's defense, but... I hope nobody, anywhere, for even one second thought that Limbaugh actually was promoting or endorsing Oxycontin. It was a work of satire pointed at somebody who often railed against people who got caught up in drug addiction and called them "worthless" and worse. I was essentially taking a big pair of his XXXL underwear and running them up the flagpole with the word "hypocrite" writ large on the ass. But I hope my explanation is unnecessary. A joke is a failure if it needs to be explained.

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