American Justice in the Age of Rush and Chong
the early 90s, I shared a second floor office complex with Jim
Lennox. Every morning, like a Groundhog
Day alarm, Jim would tune his radio to Rush Limbaugh.
It was an ugly business — Rush’s high hateful pitch driving
Jim into an angry whitemanland red-ass frenzy. No one was safe
from the cranked-up bitch and whine — Rush amping up the
odium, Jim growing more impatient with life and his fellow employees.
I usually smiled, closed
the door and
turned up NPR.
morning Jim didn’t show to work. No Rush. Calm. Quiet. All
body at the wheel of his Taurus. He parked facing a greenbelt along
El Toro road in the foothills of Mission Viejo. They found his head
in the backseat. Jim shoved a shotgun into his mouth and pulled the
trigger. He left his wife and his three children behind
to fend for themselves.
Did Jim have
Limbaugh on the radio when he sprayed the rear deck speakers with
his brains? Possibly.
the drug-addled OxyContin ramblings
of Rush Limbaugh can have that kind of ugly side effect. Rush clutches
and fist fucks his listeners into a blame game. Don’t like
who you are? Attack someone else.
ran out of targets.
are that if Rush had smoked dope instead of getting ramped-up on
hydrocodone and Lorce, he might have had some low flying bass beats
on his radio show. Jim might have chilled-out in a soulfull groove.
But that didn’t happen. Like a run of the mill junkie artificially
amped on self-righteousness, Rush’s Hillbilly
Heroin high was so south of no north he dubbed himself “the
truth detector.” Check it out. Truth:
was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the
Chug it, Rush.
the things I want to do before I die is conduct the Homeless Olympics…the
10-meter Shopping Cart Relay, the Dumpster Dig, and the Hop, Skip
Stick it in again,
"If we are
going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people — I'm
serious, let the unskilled jobs, let the kinds of jobs that take
absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do — let stupid and unskilled
Mexicans do that work."
much of a bad thing, Rush. You’re getting my boy Jim upset.
the people who want to do drugs to London and Zurich, and let's be
Tommy Chong isn’t going to London or Zurich. He isn’t
going to deliver a mea culpa radio address or appear in any dumb
doper movies any time soon either. For the next nine months, while
repentant Rush is in rehab at Sierra
Tucson, Chong will be in a federal prison. You can thank your
Attorney General John Ashcroft for that. At the same time the rest
of the country was busy watching Osama, Saddam, Martha Stewart, Kobe
and Arnold, Ashcroft rehabilitated a rarely enforced federal statute
that specifically names bongs as drug paraphernalia. Couple that
with the 1994 Supreme Court ruling prohibiting bong sales across
state lines and you have half a comedy team in lock down and a man
who can’t defeat a corpse commandeering a penny ante drug war
at a high stakes table.
And so it goes.
On, of all days, September 11, Chong pled guilty to one count of
conspiracy to sell drug
paraphernalia. He was arrested after the DEA set him up. Where?
On the internet with a sting operation. How? With under cover agents
ordering bongs and pipes and having them shipped to a phony head
shop in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
your law and order tax dollars at work. While you sit at home getting
spammed by teensdoingbarnyardanimals.com, the feds are out
busting Chong, a 65-year old father of six in his 30th year of marriage,
who is lauded in his hometown for charitable work and teaching inner
city youth. Chong’s internet site never intruded into your
AOL account offering water pipes or, for that matter, bigger breasts
or longer peni or erotic pet tricks with children. He never barked
his way into your life under the influence of a Schedule III opiate,
Ashcroft is American justice. Jim Lennox is long dead. I think I’ll
smoke a joint and say a prayer for Tommy Chong. As for Limbaugh,
you’re forgiven. Now, go to hell.
— Nathan Callahan,
October 12, 2003