Friday, June 11, 2010

Elton John Performs At Rush Limbaugh's Wedding. No, Really.

Rush Limbaugh, virulent homophobe and anti-gay marriage crusader paid Elton John, famous gay musician, 1 million dollars to perform at Limbaugh's 4th wedding this past Saturday June 5, 2010. (Which may actually be a reduced rate - last year Reuter's reported his rate was $2 million to perform at private events.)

Wedding-guest Megyn Kelly of Fox News said of the wedding:

"Elton John actually had nothing but nice things to say about Rush Limbaugh and the happy couple, and said he's all about tearing down walls and building bridges." He even invited the newlyweds to join him and David Furnish at their home, she said."

Okay - did you catch that? Rush Limbaugh's 4th wedding? Aren't you glad he's defending the "sanctity" of marriage from us Gays? But that irony aside, I'm curious as to what's going on here.

Does Elton John fashion himself some kind of unofficial ambassador to the nation of homophobes? (Elton John performed with the anti-gay lyrics rapper Eminem at the 2001 Grammies and then they became friends.)

Is it internalized homophobia that Elton John can't even imagine wanting "marriage" for himself and his civil partner - or is he of a generation that just can't see themselves as equal to straight people? He has said he doesn't believe in gay marriage, back when the whole Prop 8 thing blew up.

Is it to be a counter-balance to the conservative full-house of a Rush Limbaugh wedding - being a prominent gay man in the middle of it all?

Or is it some plan to get money from homophobes - $1 million dollars for what, an hour's work? - and turn around and use their conservative anti-gay money to fund really wonderful pro-gay and other charity work (there are the Elton John AIDS foundations, which have raised over $220 million to support innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS with projects in 55 countries...)

Or is it simply that it was a high-profile gig, sure to get him talked about in the news and the blogosphere here in the umpteeth year of his career? Some kind of political re-invention a la Madonna - insult the gay community every so often, just to stay in the public eye?

Or am I missing something?

Is it just that Rush Limbaugh has great taste in music, and wanted to dance to "Candle In The Wind" at his wedding, and the singer was happy to oblige?

Perhaps I'm too cynical. But looking at this story, I don't think so. In fact, I may not be cynical enough.

Oh, and perhaps the oddest part of this story:

"Limbaugh, who's had cochlear implants since 2001, has said he can't really "hear" any music he didn't experience before he became deaf."


Okay, what do you think?



Jonathon Arntson said...

I...just...don't get it. Maybe Elton John is a robot sent from the future after the conservatives win an election and he is suppose to infiltrate the gay agenda?

Jay Asher said...

I'm all for building bridges with people who disagree with you. Oftentimes, people only hold certain views because they haven't really known someone with opposing views. I think the whole Elton/Eminem thing was a positive union.

That said, trying to build a bridge to someone who makes a very nice living destroying bridges seems ridiculous.

SWE said...

I'm with Jay on the building bridges thing. And while I'm no fan of Rush Limbaugh, Elton John's performance for him certainly did get a dialogue started that wouldn't have been there if Elton John had said no.

Yesterday, I heard a news story about a guy who'd been asked to be the UCLA commencement speaker. One of the Unions asked him to boycott... and he decided to speak anyway. He maintained that while he was very pro-union, he wasn't going to miss this chance to get up in front of thousands of people and actually talk about the Union's plight.

While that's pretty unrelated, it seemed like an interesting decision. A decision to be present and open about what you believe and who you are, even if people around you are not.

That said... I personally would NOT perform at Rush Limbaugh's wedding... so we can all be thankful that there's no chance of that happening;)

Hayden said...

Elton John should do what Chumbawamba did with money they received from General Motors:

General Motors paid Chumbawamba $100,000 to use the song "Pass It Along" from the WYSIWYG album, for a Pontiac Vibe television advertisement in 2002. Chumbawamba gave the money to the anti-corporate activist groups Indymedia and CorpWatch who used the money to launch an information and environmental campaign against GM. Source

In John's case, give the money to progressive LGBT organizations.

Anonymous said...

On one hand, I think things will never get better if people who disagree with one another refuse to talk and refuse to get to know each other and work with each other.

And I think it's true that people who are anti-gay (or similarly, racist, etc.) often first experience a crack in that wall when they have to interact in a friendly way with someone in the group they claim to hate. It's easy to hate a group when they're anonymous and distant, but when you put human friendly faces on them--people you know--it starts to create some cognitive dissonance.

For example, I suspect Dick Cheney would have toed the party line on homophobia if he had not had a close family member who is a lesbian. So those personal connections do matter.

At the same time, I can't fault someone who might decide: I don't need to do business with anyone who thinks of me as less than equal or less than human.

Sarah Laurenson said...

From what I've heard - Rush Limbaugh was a starving actor who created a persona that made him rich and now he "lives" that persona to keep the money flowing in. Is he really anti-gay? Is he really that right wing? Or is he playing a long term role on a very large stage?

Does that change how you feel about Elton performing at his wedding? What if Elton's knows Rush as he really is and not his public persona? Is Rush looking for a way out of his current role?

ivanova said...

Contrasting a person's secret private self with their public life doesn't work for me (as in, maybe Rush Limbaugh isn't really homophobic, that's just a persona he's taken on to become rich and famous.) We can't know famous people's secret beliefs and opinions, we only know what they say and do. For that matter, we don't know our friends' secret opinions either, we only know what they say and do. Anyone who says hateful things about numerous groups of people and encourages others to believe the same is not cool in my book. In fact I think it might be worse if they are only doing it to make money. I think there's a long tradition of homophobic people who are happy to have gay people cut their hair, take their order, and sing and dance for them. Also a long tradition of people who are bigoted but like to be able to say, "I'm not a bigot because some of my best friends are Jewish/Black/etc."

I hope Elton John does give the money to a good cause! Maybe he is in debt or maybe he really believes he is building bridges or maybe when you are that famous you lose your marbles or maybe he does hate himself. . . Who knows?