San Diego — In the last post I mentioned how Limbaugh had stupidly given the Obama people the red herring they needed to turn the discussion away from a question of governmental authority over private matters to the entirely bogus issue of health care and the completely fabricated idea of a war on women and women’s health. Not that real and pressing issues of women’s health are bogus; to the contrary they are real and need to be front and center in our discussions.
But in this case, it is the insertion or spin of a very different issue trying to turn the discussion away from the real problem (whether or not government has the authority to tell ANYONE much less religious institutions that they must buy or contribute to purchasing things or services which they deem morally reprehensible) into one of women’s health that is bogus. And only a day or two after what should have been the quickly forgotten event of a young woman being brought in front of congress to argue that we, the people, should contribute to paying for her (or anyone else’s) promiscuity, thanks to a talk show host’s thoughtless diatribe, the issue has, sure enough, taken on a new and completely spurious face.
Oh come on, this is not the same thing or the same issue as when a doctor prescribes medicine for a true medical condition that just happens to also be used as a contraception. Title X, a currently existing law, mandates that such medications for such medical conditions be provided by insurance. And even if it did not, those medications are available at virtually ANY Planned Parenthood for about $10 per month’s prescription. So it cannot be argued honestly that women are currently in such a state that they cannot either get insurance coverage for medicines needed for medical issues or that even to facilitate sex the medicine cannot be obtained readily and inexpensively.
So why the flap? Because Obama desperately needs it. His economic record is pathetic and his ability to lie about it is becoming more and more obvious. In the face of CBO numbers just released, he went public with a retelling of those numbers that bore no relationship to the government’s own figures. His disciples, of course, listen only to him and probably never even hear the other side so he gets away with it and keeps his fawning followers. But for the rest of us, he needs issues that resonate with the normal folks and this new take, a perspective of women’s health, is about as perfect as one can get.
But surely, you might say if you are one that actually reads and hears all sides, no one could be falling for this? And surely in the day and age of extraordinarily foul mouthed so-called humorists, spewing scatological and gynological “jokes” using the ugliest and most hurtful of terms on a daily basis, some of whom purposefully direct such insults at women simply because they disagree with their political philosophies, no one would really get upset over a slur as innocuous as to call someone a “slut,” you might say. And to call them a prostitute? Good grief, it is legal in some places, common in all others, the name of the game in congress where selling virtue for profit is a near mandate, and a name so meaningless it is sometimes even applied to artists who have the nerve to want to sell their work by others who seem unable to sell theirs. It is a word that has long ago lost its sting.
Unless one of those demon conservatives does it to a liberal. You will note that ALL of the so-called humorists calling politically active women demeaning, denigrating names are liberals aiming at conservatives. And they suffer not a peep of blowback for it. But when a conservative, lowering himself to the same stupid level that liberals adopt as their signature stance, does the same thing… wow…Armageddon has just been unleashed.
Don’t think so? Let me copy you in on a conversation (so-called) on Facebook. Now I have a truly love-hate relationship with Facebook. It is sometimes an easy way to keep up on what some of my real friends are doing. But it is also the host to some of the most infantile, inane, self-indulgent material in the universe. And now that we are in the silly season of a presidential election and I am “friended” mostly by people inhabiting academia, the avoidance of reflective thinking is readily on display. Here indeed are the people Arthur C. Clarke described in Academia as individuals, “…whose education has surpassed their intellects.”
They are sometimes monumentally narrow minded and unreceptive to any thoughts not bearing the liberal-progressive stamp of approval. Immediately they picked up on the drum beat against Limbaugh in post after post after post all using the same rhetoric having obviously had their thoughts formed for them by the same sources.
I had planned on doing what I have always done: shake my head at the display of well honed, perhaps nearly perfected blindness to any ideas except those pre-approved by the party inquisitors, but the rampant hypocrisy was simply more than I could quietly bear.
So here is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. It started as usual, with one of them “sharing” some ugly screed that was supposed to indicate wit and insight via the shorthand of denigrating and demeaning epithets. And then the ‘shared’ post was joined in with comments from the poster and friends…
JT — This buffoon [talking about Limbaugh – dk] just doesn’t know when or how to keep his mouth shut and stop the string of non-stop profoundly offensive utterances even in a supposed apology. I cannot believe to find out who used to advertise (AOL, Sleep Train, Quicken Loans, Legal Zoom…) on his network show.
Regardless of pulling their ads, these panderers to his poison should be boycotted for supporting him in the first place.
Now here is an early hint to the author’s perspective. The views expressed that ran counter to the poster’s own views were ‘profoundly offensive’ and consisted of ‘poison’ and any business who believed in allowing speech of the other side to exist (as opposed to “free speech which means speech from the liberal side), should be boycotted.
TS — I think this guy needs to engage his brain and its filter before he opens his mouth…
JT — What brain?…i think the years of prescription drug abuse have numbed whatever decency he may have ever had, if any.
Of course had this been Alan Colmes or Al Franken or Jon Stewart or some other liberal talk show host, those years of pain medication for a back problem would have been wonderful, shown the need for socialized medicine so that they would not have had to resort to extra legal means of obtaining them, and in any case, freeing them from the pain would have probably been seen as sharpening their wit. So it is amazing to note the apparently liberal medical opinion that pain medication effects conservatives differently and negatively. Don’t think so? Go back and read about JFK or even FDR and the wonders of medication that helped control their pain.
But then it got even more off the rails.
JP — I can’t believe that Americans have let him come this far! Any of the candidates…I really wanna move to a more progressive country somewhere in Europe. It’s ridiculous how rights such as marriage, birth control, even breast feeding in public are questioned.
It was at this point that after following this thread and several others parroting the same talking points with various degrees of coherency, I simply had heard enough and decided to jump in. I was curious as to how sincere their apparent indignation over a general use of such hateful language really was and the easy way to test that was to see if that indignation was widely applied or only selectively.
David King — You know I agree with you on this JT, what he said was uncalled for, inappropriate and intolerable. But when Bill Maher called one conservative woman a c**t and another a t**t, [words studies have shown virtually every woman finds deeply offensive – DK] or when Ed Schultze called several of them sluts, I don’t recall hearing a peep of indignation about it. When Olberman goes off his meds and calls conservative women a slut or, my favorite, a “mashed up bag of meat with lipstick” that is apparently just dandy. How come?
Or is it that it is quite OK to slander women with whom you disagree but inexcusable to hear a slander toward one with whom you do agree? I just want to get this straight so I’ll know how to react and how to interpret reactions in the future…
Am I to understand that according to liberal ethics, women can be separated and categorized as to who can be disparaged in the foulest of language and who cannot based primarily on their political orientation?
This elicited an almost immediate response from another reader…
JG — Sarah Palin is a dumb twat. Maher hit that one on the head.
Yes, I know, that instantly made my case for me but I could not resist commenting even though now it was like shooting fish in a barrel.
David King — Thank you JG; in the classiest of language and the most erudite, deeply analytical, and profoundly insightful exhibition of intellectual engagement, you just answered my question… along with a few unasked ones. It brings to mind an old cliche about mutually accusatory communications between pots and kettles. You have admirable demonstrated that they are both right. Thanks again!
I confess I thought the irony expressed would jolt him into realizing how he had sounded. But I was wrong — and pointedly so — as shown by his response.
JG — Glad I could answer all your questions by merely stating the obvious.
Now here was someone coming into a battle of wits completely unarmed and shielded only by the cleverness existing only in their own mind. Napolean said that when an opposing general seemed bent on their own destruction the thing to do was get out of their way. But for some of the other readers who might have missed the real point I decided perhaps if I restated it that would help. After all, who, with half a brain and a shred of ethics, is really going to support the type of discourse I was attacking? Maybe if I helped them by giving a clearer, stronger example of what I believed was the “high road” they would see it and try to get on it before they all looked somewhat less than erudite. So I tried again.
David King — In my opinion, a world in which pretending to demonstrate wit or insight by using foul, personal, ugly invective, much less using hurtful, demeaning, denigrating words to describe anyone based on philosophical disagreement, but especially women, is “obvious,” is a sleaze ridden world of galactic level hypocrisy and not in a position to cast stones at anyone for pretty much anything.
It was stupid and unacceptable when Limbaugh did it, but it is no less so when some opponent of his does it. If that is the disgusting level of civil discourse appropriate on one side of the debate then I am only too happy to be on the other side. And I will happily excoriate them as well if they lower themselves to the level of the crass side as Limbaugh moronically did here. That is language and a level of intelligence best reserved for Maher’s side where they can do it with impunity apparently because insufficient ethics can be found in the whole collective to call such behavior into account. And, I admit, you are correct… that does seem to be obvious.
It turns out however that I was overestimating the audience… And at the same time I was underestimating their devotion to ignoring the bigger issue and high centering on their own side.
JT — Whoa….Flame Wars…back to potty mouth Rush…did you actually listen to his entire rant…he thinks she needs so much sex for her birth control pills she should post videos of her sex acts on YouTube in return for Obama Care contraception!
Do any conservatives actually aligns themselves with this sort of crazy talk…it’s sad that political discourse has degraded into a “Lucha Libre” style of performance ideology porn.
Clearly I was not getting through. So, now a touch frustrated, once again I restated…
David King — Without resorting to sophomoric, immature, illiterate monosyllabic “potty mouth” rhetoric to match his, I think I’ve been pretty clear that I think what Limbaugh said was inexcusable, stupid, and open for condemnation. I have no interest in defending or trying to excuse that sort of discourse from him. What appears to be different about my position is that I do not believe it excusable when ANYone does it; and yet it appears that some believe it is OK when those on their side do it but not OK when those on the side opposing them do it. I think that is hypocrisy gone to seed; I don’t think it is OK when ANYONE does it.
I also think Limbaugh was stupid to do it because he should have realized what a gift it was to the other side to allow them, based on his lapse of brain activity, to move the discussion off of the limits of governmental power and into the arena of women’s health care and if he had half of the intellect he claims for himself he would not have provided that barn-door-sized opening for them to toss out such a monumental red herring and take the discussion far away from any real issues that might be at play.
So I think he was stupid on so many different levels it is mind boggling. But neither his stupidity nor his crass insensitivity excuse equally, perhaps even more egregious behavior coming from the other side. Two wrongs never equal a right. At least not to me, not ever.
Perhaps that is OK for you but I think this discussion is important because it goes to the very core of who we, the people who will be deciding the outcome of the election, are. It reveals clearly, “obviously” to use James’s term, what the values and what the degree of analysis and insight is going into decisions by those on the various sides and I think that is worth letting this social community see for themselves.
By now this thread is so far down the page of posts it takes longer to scroll down to find it than it does to read or respond and it appears settled that the individuals who follow that particular set of “friends” are sufficiently indoctrinated in their views they can admit of no other. Not a single person had a positive thing to say on the side of seeking greater civility in this debate. No one was bothered that the social community, in that case, Facebook, could see by their responses where they stood and so they are apparently OK with it. I am truly saddened by that.
Then it occurred to me (some trains run late…) Does this not seem like a replay of the exchange of the past few posts? This can accomplish nothing and go nowhere productive. So my remaining question is simple: JT asked if any conservative allied themselves with such language as spoken by Limbaugh re the female law student. The unfortunate and ugly truth is that I’m sure there are some that do. But I’m not one of them and have said so both here and elsewhere about as clearly as I know how. And I believe I am representative of the majority of people whose political, ethical, and moral views are in the same ball park as mine.
But how about the reverse, do liberals, or to be more specific, do you, if you are liberal, ally yourself with the use of such language and think it is OK when aimed at women so long as they are on the other side of the political fence from you?
And if so, please tell me how is it exactly that this elevates the level of political debate and delves into the complex issues facing our country and our world to better prepare us to make reasonable and rational decisions for ourselves as to what directions we ought to be taking? How does hiding behind labels of any kind, much less this kind, help us to understand the world around us? Or is that not the objective in the first place and it is rather to simply get you to see the opposition not for what they really believe but simply as the demonizedm, dehumanized enemy to be defeated at all costs? And even then, given the nature of the political arena at the federal level, what does being a slut or any of those other ugly female degrading terms have to do with their positions and likely votes? Where is the tie in between label and reality?
When I checked again this morning for any replies, I was hoping that I might have stirred up someone somewhere who realized that ugliness and hate speech should not be OK for either side. Someone holding true to their liberal philosophies but disclaiming any connection with this type of speech whether uttered by the other side or their side. But there were none so I assume the exchange is over. A non-answer is itself an answer. That conclusion so saddened me by what it revealed that I ended my interaction with that Facebook post with this last additional comment. And with it I will end this blog post as well.
David King — A day has gone by without comment. Hmmmm. I confess I thought at least one person, perhaps a woman, might have joined in and said something even to the effect of, “David, I disagree completely with your apparent political view but have to agree that using words like that to demean, belittle, dehumanize and denigrate women are not acceptable, no matter who is doing it.” But since such a post was never made I have to assume that my initial assertion is correct.
Blind partisanship is so thoroughly ingrained here that evil is defined as “them” and therefore demonized they are fair game for any form of invective, and since “good” is defined as “us” any such invective hurled our way is, by definition, some form of poison and a sacriledge to our political faith. But it is precisely that blind “us vs them” attitude that allows for the bigotry you rightly oppose on other issues, it facilitates and perpetuates hate and hate, unfortunately, has no compass; it spews forth in all directions because its real source is internal.
Many of you know that first hand, many have felt the sting of hatred aimed at you based not on who you are or what kind of person you are but on some single, totally irrelevant characteristic. It hurts doesn’t it. It is infuriating and unfair. There is no excuse for it being applied to you and you know it.
But by the same token there is no excuse for you to apply it, even by implication, to someone else simply because they may have a different view for how the country needs to be headed. You know that one can like or dislike some single thing a person does without that effecting your overall appraisal of them; any parent knows this effect as does any lover.
Even intelligent people sometimes do stupid things. That is the unfortunate byproduct of being human. But you should be rearing up and shouting out that while it is fair to call one out for stupid things whether friend or foe, it is fair and reasonable to engage in passionate but civil debate over important topics, there is no legitimate reason to let that devolve into hatred based on some single characteristic or belief.
That no one has written that here, indeed that one of the comments even repeated one of the more hateful labels one can make to a women, is not a sign of simple insensitivity, it is not cute, it is not clever, it is not funny… it is a sign of hatred. For letting it go unchallenged, some of you, at least those claiming to have a brain and some shred of ethical sensitivities, ought to be ashamed of yourselves.
I now have the answers I sought so will plague you no more and you can go back to your world of hate-filled invective and I now know how to interpret it and react to it.