In a recent column Kirsten Powers expressed her disapproval of Rush Limbaugh calling Georgetown law student, Sandra Fluke, a slut and a prostitute. She further chastises Limbaugh for suggesting Ms. Fluke upload video of her sexual activities to the Internet. Powers doesn’t stop at criticizing Limbaugh, however, she also points the finger at those mouthpieces on the left, such as Keith Olberman, Bill Maher, and Chris Mathews, who have been guilty of demeaning women and who, to Powers, are engaging in the “war against women” as well.
I’ll agree, some of the things said by talking heads on the left should have not been said. But, there are differences when a Olbermann challenges the intelligence of a Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, or Ann Coulter. First, they are public figures who have willingly thrown themselves into the political battles of our era. They give and they receive; the rounds of political artillery are both outgoing and incoming. Sandra Fluke, however, is not a willing participant in this war. She is merely a person ask to give testimony and in doing so wound up with a bull’s eye on her forehead lit up by a red laser beam.
Secondly, it is one thing to question the intelligence or sanity of ones thoughts on a political policy or ideology and quite another to call someone a slut and a prostitute. Limbaugh simply went over the line and his subsequent apology isn’t a true act of contrition, he’s simply trying to stop anymore sponsors taking his pork chop away. This wasn’t some slip of the tongue. It wasn’t something taken out of context. His original use of the words slut and prostitute came directly from the script of his program and that he came back with more in the days that followed proves intent and forethought.
Now, to be fair, if any of the outspoken mouthpieces on the left are guilty of the same, they too should be chastised and find their sponsors in revolt as well. Keith Olbermann cannot say the words Sarah Palin without following them with, “That woman is an idiot.” It doesn’t bother me that he says this, in fact I usually nod my head in agreement. But, again, Sarah is Sarah and has used all this to become famous, powerful, and increasingly wealthy. Sandra Fluke merely tried to give a woman’s point of view on an important topic and got crushed by the biggest hammer on the right.
2 thoughts on “Misogyny to the Left of Me, Misogyny to the Right”
You’ve brushed up against another pet peeve of mine: The right-wing tactic of invoking equivalency when confronted with the idiotic or lying behavior of their anointed leaders – “They all do it.” Sorry, no they don’t. Yeah, Keith consistently says “That woman is an idiot” in reference to Sarah Palin, but another of his frequent comments is, “Don’t these people know about the video camera?” A large portion of the criticism on the left concerns the hypocrisy of the right; people like Romney build a whole career out of saying whatever’s convenient – they have no ethical framework. Pointing that out is a far cry from accusing President Obama of wanting to kill someone’s grandmother. One of the constant refrains I hear from the right is that the progressive broadcasters have nothing but hate to spew out. This is from people whose only message is hate. I believe this is called transferrence; accusing your opponent of behavior you yourself espouse. Remember that the next time someone on the right says anything about someone on the left.
Good try, but just not accurate. The stuff Bill Maher says would never make it if uttered by someone on the right. Rush Limbaugh said bad stuff – he is an entertainer, as is Bill Maher. And Ms Fluke was not an innocent “asked to testify”. She is an activist who went there for the purpose of changing the policy. God bless her for doing that, but it does put you in the spotlight when you do that, just as it does Palin when she runs for VP. Now, I think Ms Fluke is very happy that Limbaugh stepped right into it, so now her issue is headlines with sympathy. Not many are defending Limbaugh – freedom of speech be darned. I don’t defend him either – I can hardly stomach him. But the nastiness against a woman who dares to be conservative is pretty brutal.