Illuminating The Misogyny

The recent incident in which Rush Limbaugh called a woman who spoke out about contraception policy a “slut” could end up being beneficial in many different ways.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Name-calling is inappropriate.  It’s cheap, thoughtless, and dehumanizing. It adds nothing to the discourse and says a lot more — all of it bad — about the name-caller than it does about the subject of the name-calling.  Limbaugh learned his lesson when his comments provoked outrage and he apologized for his crudeness.  He was right to do so, of course, and I think we should accept his apology as sincere.  If Rush Limbaugh becomes a bit more temperate in his language as a result of this episode, that would be a good thing.

I also think, however, that conservatives make a fair point when they note that a lot of misogynistic language emanates from the political left, be it Bill Maher, or bloggers, or rappers, and that no one seems to care about it or criticize it.

There is a subtle but, I think, important distinction to be made, too, in connection with the conservative focus on the likes of Bill Maher and his insulting, sick comments about conservative women like Sarah Palin.  Pointing out the bad conduct of others in order to excuse your own misdeeds because “everybody does it” is a schoolyard ruse, but recognizing the pervasiveness of a problem because your consciousness has been raised by a particular episode is quite another.  I’m hoping that the current dialogue falls into the latter category.

That’s why I think it’s important for people across the spectrum to call out and condemn people who use misogynistic language and imagery, whether we otherwise agree with the speaker’s politics or not.  If people on the left can make gross jokes about the fertility or sexual practices of conservative women in politics with impunity, people on the right will come to view the misogyny issue as mere politicking and tune it out.

Obviously, we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.  Women should be able to participate in politics without people commenting on their appearance or private lives, just as is the case with men.  If Rush Limbaugh’s ill-advised comments ultimately move us closer to that goal, that would be a good thing — but that’s only going to happen if we all maintain a vigilant, and even-handed, intolerance for misogynistic comments.

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Food Fight

Okay people, does it surprise any one that portly Rush Limbaugh took a cheap shot at Michelle Obama last week after she ate ribs at a restaurant during her skiing vacation. Rush commented that while the first lady advocates healthy eating, she doesn’t look like she follows her own dietary advice and would never be put on the cover of a Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.

According to the owner of the restaurant the five ounce braised short ribs Michele ate were only 600 calories, not 1,500 as Rush pointed out, besides everyone knows that when your on vacation it’s a time to enjoy oneself and splurge a little.

A word of advice Rush, childhood obesity is a big problem. I just read an article last week that the sharpest increase in strokes was among men age fifteen to thirty four and there have been numerous articles recently pointing to a significant increase in type two diabetes (formerly adult onset) in children. Not to mention the fact that 75% of military aged youth do not qualify for service because they are over weight.

Of course Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman have weighed (no pun intended) in saying that the “Let’s Move” program is big government overreach. Thank goodness two of the more reasonable voices in the Republican party, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee both said that childhood obesity is a concern and they think it’s a good goal to try to positively encourage kids to eat better.

It’s just my humble opinion, but it seems as though the government just can’t win, if they do nothing and it becomes a really big problem then it’s their fault cause they didn’t do anything, but if they see a developing problem and try to be proactive and address the problem people say they are overstepping their bounds.

So good job Michele Obama, keep on doing what you are doing, I am 100% behind you and your program “Let’s Move” because we all know that what’s now a health issue may soon become an economic issue.

Curse Of The Random Madman (II)

As many people — me included — suspected might be the case, the investigation of Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooting suspect, is indicating that he is just a mentally disturbed young man whose shooting spree was not motivated by any recent campaign rhetoric.

The Christian Science Monitor recently published an article about the disconnect between the facts being uncovered and initial statements by many people that attributed Loughner’s shooting rampage to strong political speech.  And some of Loughner’s truly odd ideas certainly do not reflect any kind of “tea party” or right wing agenda — unless you think that conservatives object to the rules of grammar as a form of mind control, believe that dreams are an alternate reality, or are convinced that the federal government controls us by having a national currency.

I’d still like to reserve judgment until the investigation is concluded.  For now, however, it looks like there is absolutely nothing to the notion that talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin, among others, provided any impetus whatsoever for Loughner’s senseless and murderous attack.  Let’s hope that canard gets quickly, and completely, laid to rest.