Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rush Limbaugh needs an introduction to basic continuity editing . . .

Most of us have seen the Michael J. Fox ad. Those of us who are huge fans of his work probably had to subdue strong emotions while watching it. Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, had a good laugh, mocking Fox and accusing him of faking the symptoms of his disease.

Said Limbaugh:
"He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has. [. . .] This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting, one of the two."
Fox graciously responded to Limbaugh's baseless allegations while visiting with Katie Couric. As Fox pointed out, the swaying evident in the political ad were a direct result of his medication.

But what of Limbaugh's above claim that he had never seen Fox portray his symptoms before? Slate has a terrific article on Limbaugh's imaginary world. Limbaugh defended his claim by stating, "I've seen him on Boston Legal, I've seen him on a number of stand-up appearances." I'm a fan of Boston Legal, and you can watch for yourself. Limbaugh is blind if he doesn't see Fox's symptoms on display. They're subdued, sure, but that's the beauty of continuity editing (sometimes called the invisible technique). These scenes with Michael J. Fox are beautifully edited to minimize his uncontrolled physicality and show the actor in the best light possible, but all you need to do is watch him walking to see the effects of his medication.

Scrubs chose not to hide Fox's swaying and instead worked it into the narrative of the show, in which he played an obsessive-compulsive doctor consumed with nervous twitches. You'll also notice the slurring of his speech.

I remember the first time I saw the affects of Parkinson's on my childhood hero. It was during the big Concert for New York benefit after September 11, 2001. I couldn't find a video online, but it was startling.

I'll give Limbaugh the benefit of the doubt on not noticing Fox's movement on Boston Legal. It is possible that someone with either no emotional connection to Fox or no sophistication with mass media might be taken in by the show's effective editing technique. But if Limbaugh wanted to be a responsible person, he'd do a little more research before accusing a suffering man of faking a disease.

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