Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thanks, Rush

Well, a slew of Rush Limbaugh's advertisers have fled his program. I had to laugh a little about that because Rush was simply being Rush. The same misogynistic, over-the-top, anything-for- a-headline, ripping-people-who-don't-agree-with-him asshole that he's always been. Had Sears or Citrix or Proflowers or AOL never listened to Rush before? Was everything he said up to the point of calling Sandra Fluke a slut perfectly agreeable to them? I guess it must have been.

What shocked me most was the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts advertised on Rush Limbaugh's show! OMG, as we say on the internets. I realize it was just one regional division and not the national program but how could anyone who had anything to do with young girls believe Rush Limbaugh was an appropriate vehicle for their message? Amazing.

Having said all that, I hate censorship more than I hate assholes. You have to deliberately turn the radio dial to find Rush. No one is forcing you listen. Personally, I'd rather have sharpened pencils stabbed into my ears but that's me. Because on the other side, I love Bill Maher's profane, edgy, occasionally even below-the-belt, humor. I loved George Carlin. I love Lewis C.K.

If anything, I think we go too far in protecting people's feelings. I appreciate satire and sarcasm, even when, yes, I admit, it might be hurtful to its victims. I've laughed at racist jokes and sexist jokes and dirty jokes and blasphemous jokes. I think some are ugly and unfunny but I don't get to decide. You leave my sense of humor alone and I'll do the same for you.

NASCAR fans get into this mindset too. If a driver does something they don't approve of (like knock their driver out of the way on the track or give an official the finger), they fire up and write letters to that driver's sponsors, essentially, trying to cause him to lose his job. I don't get into boycotts much. For one thing, I'm not sure they work. As long as Rush Limbaugh's audience number stays high, he'll find sponsors. As long as Driver X wins races, he'll find a sponsor. But the main reason, I don't care for boycotts is because the next time, opposite-minded consumers might to decide to boycott my driver or people who support my issue.

I think Democrats handled the whole Sandra Fluke issue very effectively. More power to them. They showed the Republicans for the anti-women party they seem to have become in the 21st century. But I hope one of them, maybe Barbara Boxer, advised Sandra before her star turn what she might be letting herself in for. I think they probably did and that she was up for taking on the Republican machine.

I have a bit of experience with this kind of situation myself. I was invited to speak before a Senate Policy Forum by Ted Kennedy (the same as now in that the Democrats weren't allowed to call it a hearing since they weren't the party in power) to speak on unemployment based on an article I had written for Newsweek.

Oh, my, it caused quite a stir just as with Ms. Fluke. Republican spokespeople talked about the polyester slack suit I wore and wondered if I lived in a trailer park. They questioned my intelligence and my integrity. Like Sandra, they stated that I was a deadbeat who wanted "something for nothing" from the government. (See, Republicans have never liked the working classes very well).

Was I heartbroken and hurt by all the criticism? Nope. Because, like Sandra, I had my staunch backers as well and I actually reveled in thinking I, a little old unknown from rural Indiana had caused heartburn enough to my important opponents to force them to speak out against me. Bottom line, if you're going to challenge your enemy to a duel, you have to accept that you might get bloodied a little in the process. She played the victim very well but I think Sandra Fluke understood this. I mean if ever a pot called a kettle black, it was Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut!

So, Rush didn't get hurt, he's a shock job, for God's sake. It's what he does and he only got even more publicity than usual for his statements. And Sandra Fluke didn't get hurt. And the Democrats certainly didn't get hurt. So, who did?

Well, that would be the Republicans, first because they brought the whole issue of contraception up in the first place. Usually, they hide it behind abortion. This time they tried to hide it behind religious freedom. It didn't work. We all know now that the issue is contraception!

And secondly, the Republicans lost because none of their milk-toast candidates had guts enough to make even a weak protest about Rush calling Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute and saying women who got free birth control should make videos of themselves so he and others of his ilk could watch. They couldn't even bring themselves to flatly say they disapproved of a oh-so-powerful man beating up on a not-at-all-powerful woman (which is really the whole issue in a nutshell, isn't it?) Ah, such courage and character...NOT! They came across as spineless and who wants a spineless president?

So, thanks Rush for doing the Democrats a favor.