Friday, March 9, 2012

Limbaugh: He Said it First!!

We all know that recently right-wing radio show host Rush Limbaugh said some viciously ugly slurs about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke. Fluke spoke before a Congressional panel to advocate for a government forced change in the insurance benefits covered by Georgetown University and Law School.

I disagree with Fluke's policy POV but that's not important here. What is important is that Fluke rejected Rush's apology (in part because she thought it insincere but MUCH more because Rush didn't back off his opposition to her policy prescriptions).

Bill Maher jumped in this mess to say that the apology rejection made liberals look bad and that he didn't like the tactic of going after advertisers to shut people up. I guess he would say that, having had experience of losing his "Politically Incorrect" show due to advertiser abandonment after he made comments about 9-11 that were, well, "politically incorrect". Brent Bozell, who you may have just heard saying the President of the United States looked like a "skinny ghetto crackhead", decided to launch a "I stand with Rush" website, and piously chastised liberals for trying to shut down free speech.

Well.
Hypocrisy all around folks. I don't like hypocrisy. I think it is part of being human. We all have it. But I think we should try to minimize it, not embrace it.
If you're going to get upset when Limbaugh maligns Fluke with ugly hateful language that is meant to insult and demean then you also have to get upset when Maher does the same thing to Palin or Bachmann. It doesn't mean you have to LIKE these people.  You may disagree with their ideas. You may think they are wrong on everything, not very smart and immoral to boot. That is a different thing entirely from calling someone a "dumb t***" or a "dumb c***". You may think that Carrie Prejean is wrong to hold that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. That doesn't mean that it's okay for Perez Hilton to call her a "dumb b****" or that Keith Olbermann and Michael Musto get to question her femininity or make fun of her breasts.
If standards and logic mean anything then they must apply to everyone. That means that Rihanna can't get offended when a Dutch magazine uses racial stereotypes against her and then turn around and use racial stereotypes against another woman. That means black people can't get upset when the clueless Republican racist of the day makes a racialized joke about Obama or Black people and then be quiet when a liberal Obama supporter does the same thing.

If something is wrong then it's wrong. It doesn't matter that someone is more popular so his words are heard by more people or someone else is sponsor free so feels entitled to say things that are raw. Those may be reasons why they are able to avoid certain consequences or their audience expects to hear such things. But it doesn't make it any less wrong.

To be clear I believe that the overwhelming majority of this ugly language does come from the Right. That's a provable fact. I do not think, to put it charitably that Limbaugh is a good person. I think that Bachmann and Palin are often misguided and regularly vile. But that doesn't mean that people should turn a blind eye to ugly language when it comes from their team. Or does it?

h/t Rippa
QUESTIONS
1) Is this a false equivalence between Limbaugh and Maher? 
2) Is it ever okay to call a woman a c*** or t***?
3) Where is the line between comedian and political figure?
4) Can you disagree without insulting people?
5) Do some people just invite or deserve insult?
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