RUSH: I was in the kitchen and Snerdley comes up — this is about a half hour ago — Snerdley comes up to me and says, ?You know, this horse thing is getting way out of hand, and if you were who you were back in the late eighties and early nineties, you’d be doing animal rights updates all over the place about the obsessive coverage over this horse.? He said, ?There are real heroes in this country and across the oceans and in foreign countries that are dying that don’t get the kind of coverage the horse is getting, and I’m sitting there and I’m listening to this?? standing there, actually, no seats in our kitchen, they’re in the dining room. Anyway, greetings, let me tell you where we are, at the EIB Network, the Limbaugh Institute, I, America’s Real Anchorman, Rush Limbaugh. Here’s the phone number, 800-282-2882. E-mail, Rush@eibnet.com.
So I said, ?Look, Snerdley, if I attack this horse, if I do anything that makes it look like I’m attacking the horse, there’s nothing in it, and I don’t feel that way anyway. This was a brave horse. This is a horse that everybody was pulling for. The horse gave everything.? We’re talking about Barbaro, of course. He said, ?I don’t care about any of that, people are going nuts with this. They’re writing cards and giving flowers to a horse! The horse can’t read.? I said, ?Snerdley, this is not about the horse.? I reminded him of the funeral for Princess Diana. You remember that. There were how many millions of people roaming the streets of London, 500,000, whatever was number was. They were all dropping off flowers and placing notes and cards and so forth, and everybody was trying to figure this out. George Will wrote a column, I think it was George Will that came up with the best explanation for this, that is, people wanted to be part of the story. It’s the same thing with the death of Barbaro, and even before his death, they wanted to be part of the story. It makes people feel good to write notes and give flowers to an animal.
There’s a story on the Drudge site today about a cat that’s now taking Prozac. The cat was depressed; the cat was afraid to go outside; so it sat around and it did nothing but eat and ballooned up to 15 pounds. They put it on Prozac and it?s now walking around the garden, goes outside, has no fears and has lost seven pounds. There’s an attachment to animals because they’re the essence of innocence, especially hard working animals that have this great will to live. But it is kind of interesting to watch the phenomenon of people get so attached here to an animal that they’ve never seen, other than on television. But he was really worked up about this.
RUSH: This is Deborah in Richmond, Virginia. Hi, Deborah, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Well, I have a different perspective of the cards and condolences for Barbaro and Princess Di?
CALLER: There’s something in the communications literature called parasocial relationship theory.
RUSH: Wait a minute. Wait, wait, wait, wait. This is a new one. Parasocial relationship theory?
CALLER: Right. And essentially, because these entities, Princess Di, Barbaro, you know, soap opera stars and sitcom stars and so forth are part of the media, people develop the ability to predict communications outcomes and behaviors, and therefore they develop a one-way relationship, which is essentially impossible, but that’s what they believe. So they feel, they believe they have a relationship with the entities of say, you know, Princess Di or Barbaro, and so they react accordingly.
RUSH: So they’re groupies?
CALLER: Well, yeah, exactly. They believe they have a relationship. It’s a theoretical perspective in the communications literature that was developed at the time that television became popular.
CALLER: The soap opera stars would go out and go shopping and folks would meet them in the store and they would act like they knew them.
RUSH: Oh! Oh! Okay, now I get you. I was getting confused here when you said they’re able to predict communication outcomes and behaviors. I don’t know if there’s any prediction. What is a Barbaro fan predicting?
CALLER: Well, they can empathize with the horse. They’ve seen pictures of him. They know the horse is a brave soul. It’s a little stretch in terms of Barbaro, but certainly not in terms of Princess Di.
RUSH: This all sounds like a global warming theory to me.
CALLER: No, it’s actually out there, and I’m just asking you to be a little more charitable. These folks aren’t just trying to get in on the event. They really believe they have a relationship with these folks.
RUSH: Well, okay.
CALLER: That’s it.
RUSH: So additional sensitivity is called for here, that’s the point that you’re —
CALLER: Additional sensitivity, that’s right.
RUSH: Okay, this is parasocial relationship disorder?
CALLER: No, parasocial relationship theory.
RUSH: Theory. Sounds like a disorder to me.
CALLER: Well, it could be. But that’s the way it is.
RUSH: Let me tell you a little story about your soap opera star. I cannot reveal the source. A certain United States Senator took a set visit to a very popular action thriller television show, and he dealt with every character in character. He went up — you remember Louis Lombardi — have you watched ?24??
RUSH: Okay, remember Edgar, the big guy that was —
RUSH: Well, Edgar died, but before Edgar died, Edgar’s mother died in a terrorist explosion? This Senator went up to Louis Lombardi and said, ?Edgar, I felt so bad for your mother, but you were very strong in dealing with it.?
CALLER: That’s what we’re talking about here.
RUSH: Well, that’s minor. I mean, I don’t think the guy sent Edgar’s mother cards and get-well cards and so forth.
CALLER: Well, but he talked to Edgar.
RUSH: I know, that’s a good — (laughing) — good point. All right, so there’s more to it than just wanting to be part of the story and —
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: — wanting to feel good because they care about something. Does it have anything to do with the fact their lives are not fulfilled in some ways, maybe empty or meaningless?
CALLER: Well, I think that it means that they can’t distinguish between characters and people.
RUSH: How many of these people exist? You sound like an expert in this, Deborah.
CALLER: I’m not an expert. I’ve studied it.
RUSH: Well, that makes you an expert in this country. Tell me, how many of these people vote?
CALLER: Oh, probably a lot of them.
RUSH: That’s scary.
CALLER: Yes, it is.
RUSH: It is scary.
CALLER: One-way relationship. Not possible. Actually, there may be a lot of marriages like that.
RUSH: (Laughing.) Oh, my gosh. You are too tempting. I have got to go otherwise I will get —
CALLER: In trouble.
RUSH: Yes, in my normal ways.
CALLER: Okay. I love you Rush.
RUSH: Love you, too, Deborah. Thanks for the call. I’m not going to identify the senator, doesn’t matter who the senator is, it just is — no, no, no, I don’t think he’s running for president.
RUSH: Cliff in Bismarck, North Dakota. Welcome, sir, great to have you with us.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: Wife and I were watching the news last night at six o’clock, and I wanted to —
RUSH: Wait, need more information. What network, what anchor?
CALLER: I was switching channels — I think it was ABC.
RUSH: Well, that’s gotta please ABC. You don’t know that you were watching them when you were.
RUSH: You’re not sure.
CALLER: Well, I switch around.
RUSH: That’s great news. They love that. Anyway, what did you see?
CALLER: A field reporter was giving a report on the death of the racehorse, and he went on to explain how they had to put him down, and his last statement in the report was, “and his last meal was grass.”
RUSH: You gotta be kidding me?
CALLER: No. (Laughing.)
CALLER: I thought I was watching a report on an execution in Texas.
RUSH: (Laughing.) Why single out Texas? They execute people in Florida, too.
CALLER: Yeah, but the last meal, like pork and beans.
RUSH: (Laughing.) What were the horse’s last words, by the way? Was there any report on that?
CALLER: No, no, no. He was too sad to report that.
RUSH: By the way, Barbaro fans, you gotta understand, this is about the media; this is not about the horse.
RUSH: The poor horse had no idea any of this insanity was going on in the population. That’s the interesting thing about this, is the horse was clueless. I mean, they could have taken the horse to the notes and taken the horse to the flowers, and it would have made no impression whatsoever. Anyway, well, I hope that was ABC. That is a great story. The horse’s last meal: grass. Probably was the horse’s first meal, too, and probably every meal in between. Maybe some hay thrown in.