The Thinking 

Polygamy Today: A Report from the Front Lines

June 16, 2010



AS DISCUSSED at VFR, Rush Limbaugh recently effused about his wedding and marriage to his fourth wife:

I’ve had people come up to me, guests there that were former producers for major networks, movie theaters, studios and so forth, “I’ve never seen a production like this. There has never been a wedding that we have been to, and there never will be. Any time anybody goes to a wedding from now on that was at yours, Rush, they are going to never forget yours.” And it was memorable. We wanted to make everybody a part of it. We wanted everybody to feel they were there because we love ’em….

I couldn’t take my eye off of [Kathryn] during the whole thing. I never did, from the time she started walking down the aisle. I have people telling me you were bopping up and down up there waiting for her. “You had this giant smile on your face,” which was true. All of that was true. I was delirious. And at the time the Hutch said, “And I now pronounce you husband and sla — uh, husband and wife,” I went, “Yes! Yes!” Two different times, and then we took our tour back down the aisle where we went for photos and everybody else went for the cocktail reception — which, of course, as the bride and groom you never get to because you have to do the photos and all that….

We were supposed to be outside in the courtyard but it was very hot and humid so we did it in the circle room. It was a gorgeous room. Every venue, every venue was just perfect and well done. But it was a major, major production. And everybody who attended will attest to how flawless and seamless and huge and big and unique and surprising and unexpected it all came off, and it all happened because Kathryn did it. It was just amazing, folks….

[Elton John] came out and you could tell he was a little surprised that he got a standing ovation from this crowd — and after every song he got a standing O. What did he do, ten songs I think in the 75 minutes. He actually went an hour and 20 minutes, supposed to be an hour and ten. And it ended then the after party began, went on ’til about two o’clock, and that’s when all the guests said, “It’s never stopped. Every moment, every venue has been bigger than the preceding one. This has been the greatest thing we’ve ever been to,” and I have to tell you, folks, it was for me, too. This was the greatest weekend of my life.

                                                  — Comments —

Badbeans writes: 

Do marriage vows contain the words “til death do we part” anymore? My wife and I have been married for 16 years now. We still used those words then. 

Riddle me this. If one makes a vow to be with another until they die, and they make the same vow to someone else, how can the latter vow be valid? Please refer to Luke 16:18 to find out exactly what this is called. 

Laura writes:

Vows are just retro touches, like the white dress and the rings. They give the event an air of authenticity, but they are not what the wedding is about and they are not meant literally, for heaven’s sake.

I believe most couples still use the “til death do we part” phrase, but they also use “in sickness and in health,” which evidently means absolutely nothing anymore because countless people have gotten divorced on the grounds that their spouse was “sick” or a “sick person.” 

Sheila C. writes:

Your post on Rush Limbaugh, like your posts on Sarah Palin, have really caused me to struggle with some positions and attitudes that I had not clearly thought out. I will admit that initially, I was quite enthusiastic about Palin based mostly on the rah-rah press she received from the mainstream right (strong conservative, gun rights, independent initiative, etc.). The more I learned of her dysfunctional family and her stated opinions, however, the less enthusiastic I felt. It’s not enough to proclaim oneself a “conservative” or a maverick and then live one’s life according to liberal values and take positions according to political expediency. Palin’s aggressively inserting herself and her family members into the public eye (her book, her appearance on Oprah, her new reality t.v. show, her daughter Bristol’s speaking engagements) and then crying foul when she receives unflattering press. I call that hypocrisy. She has termed her daughter’s premarital sex and birth of an illegitimate child a “shock,” but ne’er a mention of shame or remorse or regrets – let alone redemption. She endorses politicians who she claims can “win” – but ran herself as a celebrated “outsider.” I call that a typical politician. Now we have Rush Limbaugh, to whom I have often listened, marrying for the fourth time and joyfully sharing details of his gala wedding and Elton John’s performance. As you note, there is a fundamental disconnect here between the positions Limbaugh espouses and those values by which he apparently lives. Serial polygamy is still polygamy – is Rush any less ridiculous than someone like Larry King or Elizabeth Taylor? As far as the Elton John invite, it’s one thing for Rush to pay for a service (singing at the wedding reception) and another entirely to apparently look forward to sharing dinner with Elton and his male partner in London. I am not advocating hatred, but a private dinner implies endorsement to me, and again appears hypocritical. Whatever happened to “shut up and sing?” I hate the hip-hop phrase of “walking the walk,” but in this case neither Rush’s nor Sarah’s actions match their words, and they must be called out on this.

Laura writes:

You would think conservatives would be less guilty of celebrity worship, but they are not. See the comments that follow this post on the Limbaugh wedding at Michelle Malkin’s site and the sickening sycophancy from readers for a man who, whatever his popular stances against liberalism, should not be considered the living embodiment of American conservatism. The readers collectively break out into anthems to Rush’s sainthood on the eve of his fourth marriage and one commenter who dissents is flogged.

MarkyMark writes:

Thanks for the piece on Rush Limbaugh. I used to be a fervent listener of his, but I stopped some years ago. He seemed to be too much of a GOP shill; it was GOP right or wrong with him. When the ’08 election rolled around, I started listening again. It’s not the same though; now, I just listen to get alternative information that the MSM won’t give me.

I knew he’d been married before, but I had no idea it was four times. I’d expect that from a liberal person, but not someone conservative. I remember how, in his first book, he talked about there being a God, and how His laws ‘weren’t open to interpretation, amendment, or recision by man.’ I seem to remember one of God’s laws having to do with marriage being a lifelong proposition.

Lawrence Auster writes:

Your commenter “Badbeans” (what kind of moniker is that?) says that Limbaugh’s boasting about his fourth wedding and his approval of Elton John’s homosexual relationship contradict Limbaugh’s conservatism. This is a misconception. Limbaugh has never been a “family values” conservative, and he has never to my knowledge criticized homosexual conduct. His conservatism is more of the libertarian type: America is the land of freedom, where we are free to achieve, and that is the secret of our greatness. He is not a social conservative.

James P. writes:

Rush Limbaugh, to the best of my knowledge, has never had children, which really raises the question of why he wants to get married at all. Such marriages expose him to financial risk for no obvious purpose. Whatever emotional gratification he obtains from the relationship could surely be obtained without marriage. Is this all just celebrity attention-seeking?

Laura writes:

I would think in the case of a man Limbaugh’s age, marriage to a beautiful woman 30 years younger would nurture gratifying illusions of youth. Also, he may be legitimately lonely and want a woman’s loyalty.

The serial marriages of celebrities, in addition to being publicity stunts, seem to represent vestigial normalcy. If one’s life is devoted to ambition and self-assertion, it seems natural to want to prove that one is not as self-absorbed as one seems and to participate in normal life. Their marriages seem like a form of tourism in the world of ordinary people, but it’s a place they don’t really want to stay. Vanity makes marriage unsustainable, but one can claim to have tried and to have visited that interesting place.

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