D-AW, "Literally Metaphorically", Poetry & Contingency 4/5/2012:
Wikipedia tells me that [Rush] Limbaugh lives in West Palm Beach, FL. Yet for years now he has been telling listeners something different:
It’s an outright lie, and I know this because Rush doesn’t do metaphor. In fact, that’s what he means by claiming Literalville residency:
If you tell me something, I take it literally. I believe that you mean it. I don’t dance around edges trying to figure out what you really meant. If you say it, I believe it. I live in Literalville [...]. [Transcript, 10.9.2010]
There are only two possibilities here:
- Limbaugh literally lives in Literalville, FL.
- Limbaugh metaphorically inhabits a place devoid of metaphorical meaning or implication, which he describes figuratively as Literalville.
The first possibility is empirically false. There is no Literalville in FL, or in any other state. I checked (and no, Google, I did not mean Littleville, AL).
The second possibility can only be true if it is false.
But wait, there's more:
Why do I care about the facts? I know, it’s a failing of mine. It’s a failing of mine. See, I live in Realville. I’m the mayor of Realville, or Literalville. I’m stuck, I’m mired in logic, the quicksand of logic. And I’m sinking. [Transcript, 3.4.2012]
For someone who cares about facts so much, you’d think he’d get his literal, real town of residence straight. The mayor of Realville or Literalville? Can he be whichever he chooses? Apparently so, but not at the same time. This is from a few weeks ago:
And again, as the mayor of Realville, I live in Literalville. I’ll tell you what to do. [Transcript, 15.3.2012]
Apparently, one of the perks of ruling Realville is that you live in the next town over (follow Non Sequitur Trail, take a left–no, right…).
But I think that D-AW is being slightly unfair to Mr. Limbaugh, who doesn't (at least in these quotes) claim that HE always speaks literally, just that he interprets others literally.
Curiously, though, Limbaugh elsewhere suggests that Literalville is not so much a place where people interpret language literally, as a place where people see things in primary colors rather than in shades of gray:
"If you live in Literalville like I do, it's amazing how simple things are. But if you want to live in Grayville, where there's no certitude, you can confuse yourself 'til the day you die, all the while convincing yourself you're brilliant. Which is what I found amazing. Some of the most confused people with no answers of anything are among our greatest thinkers, among our finest scholars, and they're just running around in rampant confusion."