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March 02, 2012

No Great Regard for Intelligence

That laughter costs too much, which is purchased by the sacrifice of decency

- Quintilian

A book review about writer James Wolcott touches on something that has been bothering me for a long time:

Beginning as a rock critic explains a lot about James Wolcott’s overwrought prose—that old air guitar—which he slathers lavishly on all subjects. “Being facile is harder than it looks,” he writes. To which I would reply that finding a paragraph in his memoir free of heavy injections of false energy and sloppy phrasing isn’t any easier. Wolcott will strike off a straight arresting sentence, then follow it up with two or three clotted ones, usually larded with sexual metaphors, similes, and allusions: “I had too much altar boy in me to seize the bitch goddess of success by her ponytail and bugger the Zeitgeist with my throbbing baguette” is but one example among scores. In writing about punk rock, he alerts us that this was a time before “the gold medallions and furry testicles of disco descended” (get that metaphor to a urologist!). “A date movie for the damned, Looking for Mr. Goodbar looked as if it had been coated from floor to ceiling with contraceptive jelly.” “Niche journalism hadn’t yet whittled too many writers into specialty artists, dildos for rent.”

Such prose is beyond mere editing; it requires Drano.

“Our idols are our instructors,” writes Wolcott, and his own idols have been Norman Mailer, Seymour Krim, John Leonard, Marvin Mudrick, Alfred Chester, and above all, Pauline Kael. What these writers have in common is that—with the exception of Mudrick, a literary attack specialist—they all vaunted, and themselves went on, instinct, and had no great regard for intelligence. Pauline Kael once remarked in Wolcott’s presence of the movie reviewer David Denby: “All that boring intelligence.” If a porn movie, a rock performance, a book feels good, it must, ipso facto, be good. Feeling, which must never be betrayed, is all.

Often I begin my day by visiting Memeorandum. I don't go there so much for the links, but because I find it fascinating to watch what floats to the surface and who links to which stories. Some draw commentary from both sides of the political spectrum, but the items I find most interesting are the ones where the reactions are lopsided. That tends to happen when one side finds a story useful (more evidence - as though more were needed - to establish the utter perfidy and shamelessness of the other side) and the other side would like to pretend the story didn't exist or can't quite stomach defending the behavior on display.

Yesterday we saw a bit of that shamelessness (but also some decency) in the left's reactions to Andrew Breitbart's sudden passing. It would be easy - and predictable - to suggest that the more regrettable reactions were somehow the exclusive province of the left. But to do so, one would have to ignore items like this.

I'm always interested to see who bucks the general trend on each side. This morning on the rightist leaning side of the blatherosphere, it seems to be Don Surber and Eugene Volokh:

There’s nothing substantive in common between being paid to have sex, and having contraceptives be provided by a health plan. (Would you call a man a gigolo because he uses a condom that he got for free from some university giveaway?) The allegation that somehow Ms. Fluke is “having so much sex” strikes me as misunderstanding the way birth control pills work: You have to take them all the time even if you’re having sex only rarely, and even if you’re having sex with only one person (I mention this because the implication seems to me that Ms. Fluke is being promiscuous). Beyond this, I should think that most parents have to recognize that their 21-to-24-year-old daughters — remember, she’s a law student — probably are having sex with someone; I would think that even in conservative circles, many 21-to-24-year-old women these days are having sex (even assuming Limbaugh was limiting his comments to unmarried women).

But beyond that, consider the manners: Instead of dealing with a woman’s arguments on their own, he’s trying to slime her with vulgarities. I would think that parents would much rather hear on the radio that their 21-year-old daughters are using birth control than that their grown sons are calling women “sluts” on national radio.

I realize that Limbaugh's show purports to be "entertainment", and certainly he is free to say whatever he likes on the air. But Fluke's testimony was about as close to low hanging fruit as it gets, which only makes it more inexplicable that Limbaugh felt he could not refute it on the merits without descending into the gutter:

Limbaugh on Wednesday had referred to student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” for supporting a requirement that health insurance cover contraception. On his radio show Thursday, Limbaugh went a little further:
"So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch."

Mr. Limbaugh's defenders will no doubt argue that his Wolcottesque metaphors were intended to make us laugh. I suppose there are conservatives who find this sort of thing entertaining. No doubt Bill Maher and his audience feel the same way about his unique brand of invective.

But I've never been able to escape the feeling that every time we stoop to the ad hominid, we move farther and farther away from two standards conservatives ought to admire and defend: decency and self restraint.

Voluntary self restraint is not tantamount to allowing the other side to determine the terms of the debate. Self regulation is something adults used to do voluntarily, at least until the perennial defense of the five year old - "But Mom - he did it first" became justification for a race to the bottom in which both sides lose something priceless: the capacity for shame.

Update: Welcome, Michelle Malkin and Memeorandum readers :)

Update II: Pitch perfect response - don't condone someone else's stupidity and don't fall into the trap of apologizing for (and thereby taking responsibility for) it:

“The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation,”

If only our President could get that one down.

Posted by Cassandra at March 2, 2012 05:15 AM

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Comments

Mr. Limbaugh's defenders will no doubt argue that his Wolcottesque metaphors were intended to make us laugh.

Perhaps. My impression is that Limbaugh uses outrage as a measure of effectiveness, in a very similar way to the way that a PSYOP/MISO or IO officer looks for MOE. If he says something that gets people bent out of shape, then he calls for a repeat on the same coordinates (to use an artillery metaphor that is especially appropriate to IO officers, many of whom are former redlegs).

This is why I was studiously ignoring him, as may also be true for a lot of others. The more people react to him when he does something like this, the more he'll stay on the topic. This is also why I don't quote Ann Coulter pieces, even though she sometimes says interesting and well-reasoned things.

Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2012 10:26 AM

I tend to agree with you, but it bothers me that Limbaugh et al label anyone who disagrees with them as "the Left". Consequently, I thought it important to note that people who aren't on "the Left" also have a problem with it.

The thing is, people like that do things to provoke a reaction but if their own side (his audience) began to be disgusted with him, he would be more likely to stop. That's one reason I think it's probably not a bad thing to bring out things that are this egregiously over the line.

The "slut" and "prostitute" thing has gotten a lot of press but I almost find the sex tape remark more interesting. He meant to ridicule her and only made himself look like a jackass.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 11:05 AM

My impression is that Limbaugh uses outrage as a measure of effectiveness, in a very similar way to the way that a PSYOP/MISO or IO officer looks for MOE.

Or in a similar way to how 4 year olds delight in potty language. I expect an adult to have outgrown such transporting delights :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 11:07 AM

Well, 'his audience,' yes, but do you listen to his program? I haven't heard an episode of the Rush Limbaugh show since about 1996.

I have a feeling he knows who his listeners are, and they aren't us. By the same token, no one probably ever imagined that you did approve of this kind of language, no more than I do either.

The best thing is to pretend he doesn't exist: to carry on as if there were no such character. If everyone did that, it would be the worst punishment for someone like him -- and there are many examples of those 'like him' which I could name on both the right and the left. They are best ignored.

Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2012 11:21 AM

I used to listen to his show back in '04 from time to time. Over time I began to listen less and less as he became more and more crude.

As you know, I"m anything but a prude but I do believe in the value of public decorum. I understand the urge to ignore him, and normally I do the same.

But I also think that's how the line between acceptable and unthinkable moves to the left - good people stop pushing back against unacceptable behavior and gradually, what was once rare (and provoked universal condemnation) becomes commonplace.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite articles from - believe it or not - Slate:

Being on the alert for scoundrels is exhausting, and confronting those who violate social rules is potentially dangerous. But humans feel compelled to do it because without vigilance, fairness and cooperation break down. Gazzaniga cites experiments that show that individuals who take the risk of punishing cheaters enhance their own reputation within a group. (Here's a real-life example.)

Humans' sense of indignation is not just limited to violations against us. Even if you're able-bodied, think of how offended you feel when you see another able-bodied person pull into a handicapped parking spot. Most of us will just walk on, quietly irate, but a few will yell at the driver. These moral enforcers are vital to society. Frans de Waal writes that experiments with macaques show that if you remove the individuals who perform this policing function, hostilities increase among the entire band.

I think that's a pretty good description of modern discourse. It started on the Internet but now has spread to TV, radio, and even newspapers.

10 years ago porn metaphors were thankfully rare. Now they're everywhere: even in totally inappropriate venues like children's shows and prime time TV. TV, radio, and newspapers are all in business to make a profit. I suspect this happened because too many of their paying customers just looked the other way.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 11:42 AM

The problem is that Limbaugh is playing off that same dynamic: his audience thinks he's the moral enforcer. He's the one who's standing up for the old-fashioned principle that women who parade their sexuality in public should be shamed. He's the one who's standing up for the principle that having so much sex that you can't afford the condoms is (as it certainly would have been termed not long ago) "slutty." This kind of thing enhances his reputation among his group.

I think the young lady is being used by political figures who are trying to advance an agenda, and don't care how much she is allowed to embarrass herself in public (and permanently, given the memory of Google). Limbaugh's remarks are ungentlemantly and improper, and the kind of language that should never be directed at a young lady in public. I think you and I agree about all that.

Nevertheless, I still think that paying attention to Limbaugh is adding fuel to his fire. Fire only starves when you deny it oxygen.

Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2012 12:33 PM

The problem is that Limbaugh is playing off that same dynamic: his audience thinks he's the moral enforcer. He's the one who's standing up for the old-fashioned principle that women who parade their sexuality in public should be shamed.

As much as I disagree with her testimony, I don't quite see where testifying before Congress = "parading your sexuality". It's not as though she showed up wearing a thong and a bustier for Pete's sake.

Young people are frequently idealistic and wrong about any number of things. Many conservatives were once liberal or liberal leaning. Is this how we attract young people to conservatism?

Anyone with an IQ above room temperature knows that college students and singles in their 20s have sex. This is hardly news.

Her testimony is easy to counter on the grounds of simple math ($1000 a year for contraceptives? Really???) or simple fairness (why cover contraception for women but not for men?) or just plain old morality (since when do I have a duty to pay for YOUR birth control?). Attack the argument, not the person.

People wonder why we don't have "better" candidates for public office, or why ordinary citizens don't come forward and participate in public life.

This is why, and as misguided as this young woman seems to be, I'm not going to pretend what Limbaugh did is OK. It's not.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 12:48 PM

I didn't suggest that you pretend it was OK, or even assert that it was OK. In fact, I did the opposite of the latter.

What I'm saying is that he's got a following that believes he's doing just the kind of moral-enforcement work that you intend to do. That puts this in a different category from the able-bodied guy parking in a handicapped spot: rather than enforcing rules we all agree upon, we have a dispute about the rules. His side thinks he's the one who is the enforcer.

If that's right, the harder he fights to 'enforce the rules,' the more his stature will grow among his following. Rather than undercutting him with his audience, as you said you thought it would help to do, you will increase their support. Insofar as that is what he cares about -- it is, after all, where he makes his money -- this is a transaction which benefits him.

On the other hand, if the rest of us refuse to discuss or consider him, at some point he'll lose stature as a 'moral enforcer.' An enforcer does no good if his words have no effect; and that, more than fighting him, will undercut him with his audience.

Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2012 01:01 PM

Here's what you're not considering, Grim.

I have lost track of the times I've seen conservative men say things about women that, were similar things to be said about men, I would *never* tolerate. And no one says a word.

You think ignoring things like that will make them go away, but the opposite tends to be true. If only conservatives who approve of such remarks respond to them, what impression do others get of conservatives? What impression do women like me, who are just as offended when men are trashed as we are when a woman is on the receiving end of such filth, come away with? Only one side is heard.

I don't have much hope of changing the minds of people who can't see what's wrong with it in the first place. We share no values I recognize or respect.

But every time I see someone stand up for decency, I am encouraged and heartened because that lets me know there are still others out there who value the same things I do. So there's value in defending what we believe in.

On the other hand, I have said many times that apologizing for what others say is just plain stupid. Rush isn't "all conservatives". He's one conservative. He doesn't speak for me or for anyone but himself. The GOP would be dumb to apologize for what radio talk show hosts say - the person who is responsible for a statement is the one who said it.

...if the rest of us refuse to discuss or consider him, at some point he'll lose stature as a 'moral enforcer.' An enforcer does no good if his words have no effect; and that, more than fighting him, will undercut him with his audience.

I'm not interested in undercutting him with his audience. It's up to them to decide what they think is right, and that's how it should be in a free society. I'm interested in defending the line between debate and name calling.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 01:39 PM

I went to a cockfight and there was a dead rooster!

What always gives me a laugh is that when Limbaugh goes off on someone, they are surprised and shocked. Really? The man has been doing this for 20 plus years.

Posted by: Allen at March 2, 2012 01:44 PM

Grim is right in that his point is to get a rise out of people. He's the type of guy you know that when he says something like that you roll your eyes, say "nice try, but I"m not falling for it," and walk away.

He played a semantic game: The steps were: 1. You want us to pay for you to have sex; 2. What do we call a person who is paid to have sex? He did that KNOWING people would just skip right over the linguistic game and say "he called her a slut because she wants birth control." And sure enough, members of congress lined up to make fools of themselves. Game. Set. Match.

Yes, rude and obnoxious.... and the people that freak out about it (you and Grim are not, you're just discussing the issue from a calm and rational point of view) merely discredit themselves and sound shrill. So, not only does he get attention for it, he undermines his opponents.

Posted by: FbL at March 2, 2012 01:48 PM

I give up. I'm not making my point, probably because it's just unbearably quaint to think there ought to be some things people are willing to be shocked at, even in this day and age.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 01:50 PM

Cassandra, though I don't like what he said, I'm not shocked. The standard has been set and he has joined that standard. He's not the first and he won't be the last. That's why I'm not shocked.

Posted by: FbL at March 2, 2012 01:56 PM

I'm not shocked that Rush said something outrageous.

I am shocked that he (apparently rightly) thinks conservatives wouldn't find his remarks offensive. His goal isn't to outrage conservatives.

Like I said, obviously I'm the one whose views are out of sync with the rest of the planet.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 02:30 PM

I am shocked that he (apparently rightly) thinks conservatives wouldn't find his remarks offensive. His goal isn't to outrage conservatives.

I don't know that he does believe that. In my particular case, I don't really give two rat's behinds what he thinks, or doesn't think. I will not defend his statements because I feel no need to. They're not mine, he doesn't speak for me, so why should I defend him? Is he wrong and offensive? Is that even a question that needs to be asked? Of course he is. But here's the thing for me. I don't feel any need or responsibility to get out in front of this and say "Rush Limbaugh is wrong and does not speak for me." Because he is, and he doesn't. I don't know why I should be expected to. I also don't think your views are out of synch. But I wonder what you expect from us, because I am sort of unclear on that.

Posted by: MikeD at March 2, 2012 03:07 PM

Oh, and on the original topic, after swallowing bile all day on the Left's classless behavior following the death of Andrew Breitbart, I was MOST gratified to have Lex show us that there were those on the Left who didn't behave in such a shameful manner. It was just the medicine I needed to soothe my sour gut.

http://www.neptunuslex.com/2012/03/01/43/

In all, I prefer to focus on the decent folks and raise them up than to give all the attention to the classless, wallowing in their filth.

Posted by: MikeD at March 2, 2012 03:11 PM

every time we stoop to the ad hominid, we move farther and farther away from two standards conservatives ought to admire and defend: decency and self restraint.

I'm interested in defending the line between debate and name calling.

obviously I'm the one whose views are out of sync with the rest of the planet.

Not all of the rest of the planet, Cassandra. You and I can get a nice little moon together.

Posted by: Elise at March 2, 2012 03:13 PM

Mike:

I don't think I really expect anything from anyone else. It's not my job to dictate to others how they should react. I have enough trouble deciding what I think most days without trying to decide that for other people :p

I was responding to Grim's argument that objecting to his antics only benefits Rush. I don't care whether it benefits him or not (I also happen to disagree that it benefits Rush to have conservatives who object to his behavior and wish to, call him out). I see some value in principled objections that assert a standard and let like minded people - some of whom may be wondering, as I so often do, if they've landed on some other planet that makes no sense to them - know they're not the only ones who feel that way.

Choosing to defend my values imposes no duty on anyone else, and I've already rejected - multiple times - the suggestion that anyone should feel a duty to apologize or condemn or take responsibility for the actions of another.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 03:24 PM

In all, I prefer to focus on the decent folks and raise them up than to give all the attention to the classless, wallowing in their filth.

I thought that's what I was doing in noting that Eugene Volokh and Don Surber had done something that is, IMO, decent and classy.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 03:26 PM

Dear Cassandra,
First comment: glad to find your site!
You are not out of sync with the rest of the planet; no one is. But please consider:
All adults must be able to filter what they hear, selecting worthwhile material from dross. Trying to filter out the dross for them does them no favors; eventually, they will lose the ability to filter for themselves, and become MORE vulnerable to dross-thinking!
Rush is what he is; we aren't likely to change him at this point. The only real service he provides that I can see is to challenge the "group-think" pervasive on MSM programming all the time; have you seen any sensible discussion of Ron Paul's IDEAS in the MSM to this point?
But anyone with functional discrimination filters out Rush's hyperboles, crudities and ad-hominems for what they are: dross. His insights, however, into how thought control is attempted are useful, especially if it leads the thought-immune to reconsider. Wakening the sleepers is valuable, even at the cost of short-term offense. I don't say it's the BEST way, or even a good way; but when was the last time you had a serious, thoughtful conversation on inflation, money-printing and market manipulations in general? Why is there a last-thirty-minute rally on the Dow most days when it looks like it might take a loss? Hint: falling stock markets defeat incumbent Presidents, and ANY measures to avoid that must be taken!
Yes, restraint is better; yes, self-discipline is necessary for success; and yes, public discourse should be polite, positive and perceptive. Until you actually SEE and HEAR it however, please suffer Rush's rants, or ignore them as you choose; adults will understand (and filter), and maybe a few more children (like Ms. Fluke, the victim here) will actually grow up.
Cheers!

Posted by: James the Wanderer at March 2, 2012 03:28 PM

Thanks, Elise :)

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 03:28 PM

You think ignoring things like that will make them go away, but the opposite tends to be true. If only conservatives who approve of such remarks respond to them, what impression do others get of conservatives?

Which is pretty much the same argument about staying home on election night to "teach a lesson". Parties do not act a certain way because they've "learned their lessons", they act based on whose voice shows up. If the only people who show up to the polls are Democrats then don't be surprised when the GOP starts looking like Democrats.

If the only people speaking out are jack-wagons, then you can't be surprised when everyone starts acting like jack-wagons.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 2, 2012 03:30 PM

I thought that's what I was doing in noting that Eugene Volokh and Don Surber had done something that is, IMO, decent and classy.

OMG!!! I think you completely misunderstood what I meant! I was praising Lex (and you) and just affirming that I prefer to give my attention to those who are decent and classy than to the folks who show their backsides. I swear I didn't mean to imply you didn't (or don't) do that.

Also, I think I spoke (wrote?) poorly when I said I was unsure what you expected of us. What I was really getting at is what specifically you were objecting to amongst the VC readership which made you feel out of sync. I feel I have a better grasp on that now, but I certainly don't want you disheartened and thinking that you're alone on this.

Posted by: MikeD at March 2, 2012 03:35 PM

Mike, I think I have a good sense for who you are as a person and it would take a lot for me to be offended at anything you said (even if it was unclear to me).

Ironically, as I was typing that comment I was thinking that what I intended as praise of Volokh and Surber could well come off as criticism of bloggers who chose to write about something else today (as I so often have done - clearly I don't write about everything that torques me off!).

If the only people speaking out are jack-wagons, then you can't be surprised when everyone starts acting like jack-wagons.

Elise wrote a good post a while back that I've been meaning to link to about polarization. I just haven't had time to word my post carefully - anything touching on sex or religion is bound to get people riled up and my patience level isn't what it used to be :)

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 03:47 PM

James:

re: I don't say it's the BEST way, or even a good way; but when was the last time you had a serious, thoughtful conversation on inflation, money-printing and market manipulations in general? Why is there a last-thirty-minute rally on the Dow most days when it looks like it might take a loss? Hint: falling stock markets defeat incumbent Presidents, and ANY measures to avoid that must be taken!

First of all, thanks for your comment :)

I guess part of what bothers me is that there are good discussions like this going on all over the web. But people enjoy - and respond to - red meat. I'm not going to change that.

In over 7 years of blogging I have written about Rush maybe 2 or 3 times. I ignore the vast majority of what he says.

But I am increasingly dismayed at the creeping crudity I see everywhere. It used to be that you saw such things once in a blue moon. Now, they're everywhere.

We got used to it slowly. And although you won't ever see me demanding to have his show (or any other show) taken off the air, I don't see anything wrong with countering his ideas of what's right with my own.

That's what the marketplace of ideas is all about. Once upon a time I used to listen to Rush's show and often found his comments insightful. I don't listen anymore. My Dad, who used to be a daily listener and is somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun was turned off by Rush's crudity. He got disgusted and tuned out.

That is a real problem for conservative ideas, and it's unfortunate. You don't win converts by insulting people or grossing them out. I don't mind (and won't criticize you for) tuning him out but by the same token I hope you'll consider how much more effective an ambassador for conservatism he would be if he didn't feel the need to say things like that.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 03:56 PM

"That is a real problem for conservative ideas, and it's unfortunate. You don't win converts by insulting people or grossing them out. I don't mind (and won't criticize you for) tuning him out but by the same token I hope you'll consider how much more effective an ambassador for conservatism he would be if he didn't feel the need to say things like that."

Agreed. Howard Stern the Shock Jock is another example. But what are we looking for?

We want people to engage on the plane of _thought_, where the best ideas win out on merit. Surely, if you can defend your ideas against all comers, then the ideas themselves are worthwhile and valid for consideration.

This is what I was getting at about Ron Paul's ideas; NONE of them have been seriously considered, just dismissed as kooky, too far out, etc. THAT DISMISSAL is a victory for those who fear considered discussion; and a loss for us all.

(Do you miss Bill Buckley's _Firing Line_ show? Why is there no replacement? NPR surely can't be worried about low ratings, can they?)

"My Dad, who used to be a daily listener and is somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun was turned off by Rush's crudity. He got disgusted and tuned out."

Sorry about that, but that in itself is a symptom: "somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun" implies a left - right dichotomy, which is itself false. Imagine a sphere, with left - right as normally perceived; add "in and out" of freedom and repression, and "Up and down" of public and private functions. Where in mainstream discourse do you hear even consideration of more than the left-right dimensions? Or any other scheme like the one I just came up with?

I don't care for crudity either, I just tune it out when possible. If, on the other hand, Larry Flynt came out with a plan for saving the country, the environment or the Constitution, I would at least read /listen - no matter how distasteful I find him. Where I find I part with many others these days is that THEY won't even listen to Paul Ryan, Ron Paul, or anyone else who fails to toe their favorite line - and THAT will be the doom of all of us.

Thank you for a pleasant reply, and I'll shut up now - but I'm still listening.

Posted by: James the Wanderer at March 2, 2012 04:10 PM

(Do you miss Bill Buckley's _Firing Line_ show? Why is there no replacement? NPR surely can't be worried about low ratings, can they?)

I often wonder whether people have the patience for a man like Buckley these days? Yes, I do miss him.

re: the Attila thing. I just like to tease my Dad - actually his views aren't all that different from mine but we're a politically mixed family so humor goes a long way towards easing the sharp edges of our disagreements :)

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 04:28 PM

But I am increasingly dismayed at the creeping crudity I see everywhere. It used to be that you saw such things once in a blue moon. Now, they're everywhere

<.Geezer>.
...now get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!
<./Geezer>.

Has there been a generation that has not thought the next was more crude and profane than the one before?

Personally, I'm gonna enjoy being a crotchity old retiree. My lawn will have a sprinkler system hooked into a motion sensor. That'll teach them derned kids. :-)

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 2, 2012 04:42 PM

Mike, I think I have a good sense for who you are as a person and it would take a lot for me to be offended at anything you said (even if it was unclear to me).

What a lovely compliment! I literally got misty eyed at that. Ya know, you're not so bad for a man-hating, feminazi. ;P

Posted by: MikeD at March 2, 2012 04:53 PM

Here's what you're not considering, Grim. I have lost track of the times I've seen conservative men say things about women that, were similar things to be said about men, I would *never* tolerate. And no one says a word.

From time to time, I have been known to stand up for unpopular women -- Cindy Sheehan, for example. However, I think there are two ways of doing this, one of which is more productive than the other.

The first way is to get into a fight with someone like Limbaugh, who feeds off the energy. You say you don't care if it's good for him with his audience, which is fine; but you started off by saying that you thought he might change his behavior if it undercut him with his audience. I think this just inflates him further. I'm not willing to associate with that kind of company even to dispute with them; as they say, when you wrestle a pig you both get muddy and the pig likes it.

The other way is by setting an example of a better way. I aspire to do whatever good I can do, in terms of how women are treated, in this second way.

Now, if I were physically present when something like this was said, I would dispute it -- but this is because there is a different character to physical encounters. I do not endure women being mistreated in my presence. I have no power, however, to ensure that the same standard holds in the places I am not: even if I had the time and energy to engage this kind of behavior where it appears on the internet, TV, or radio, there is nothing I can do besides engage in an endless cycle of talk that accomplishes nothing. Nothing, of course, besides giving this sort something to feed on, something they like.

In any case, as Hannah Arendt reminds us, Machiavelli held that courage was the chief political virtue. Even if I could protect the lady from the consequences of her decision to go before Congress and testify in this fashion, I would be doing her no favors -- considering her as a political actor and a citizen, rather than as a lady -- because it is in the press that one hones one's courage. Learning to deal with scoundrels like this will make her a more effective actor later, assuming she is also able to hone her arguments so that they aren't so laughable.

Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2012 05:37 PM

Ya know, you're not so bad for a man-hating, feminazi. ;P

It's been too long since I was called that :p I must be doing something wrong these days! Maybe too much fraternizing with the enemy, as La Femme Crickita would say.

Has there been a generation that has not thought the next was more crude and profane than the one before?

Probably not, but that doesn't make being worse than your forebears a good thing. It also doesn't mean that there's no point in discussing where the line should be drawn, or arguing that (how low we've sunk!) that there *should* be a line, somewhere, even if we don't all agree on where it is.

That used to be something most folks agreed upon, and decisions like that are what moral agency is all about. It's up to each generation to decide what kind of world they want to leave to their children.

When my little grandsons slow down long enough to let me to hug them for a few seconds (or when I see porn metaphors creeping into every facet of modern life) I wonder how they will see things at 18?

When did this stuff become so mainstream that conservatives can't make patently obvious arguments without bringing up pimps, sluts, prostitutes and sex tapes? The Left desperately wanted this debate to be about sex rather than faith.

I guess I just don't see how handing them tailor made talking points that legitimize the notion that Republicans hate women or have issues with sex advances the arguments we are trying to make here. It's a given that some folks on the Left will throw out straw men (or women). I'm not sure why we need to tee it up for them.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 05:45 PM

The first way is to get into a fight with someone like Limbaugh, who feeds off the energy.

Grim, I'm not "getting in a fight" with Rush Limbaugh. Nor have I suggested anyone else should do so. You've been reading here for long enough to know that I bend over backwards to avoid flame wars. In fact, I've been roundly criticized for presenting an argument rather than linking to the person who wrote it because I *didn't* want to hurt people's feelings and thought we ought to be able to discuss an issue on the merits without getting into personalities and trying to divine someone's "secret" motivation.

I've learned my lesson on that one, though I remain unconvinced that discussing ideas on the merits isn't better than taking sides and making the argument personal when it doesn't have to be.

Rush is never going to read anything I've written and even if he did, he isn't my intended audience. I'd be thrilled if he did and found some merit in my arguments, but I'm pretty sure that ain't gonna happen for a whole host of reasons :)

wrt Ms. Fluke honing her arguments so they aren't laughable, I suspect that ship has sailed :p Refuting her so-called arguments is something Mr. Limbaugh should be able to do with (as he used to like to say) half his brain tied behind his back.


Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 05:59 PM

Here's a question for you:

If Rush's Dad (or Granddad) were alive today, would he be proud of this episode?

Should that matter?

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2012 06:00 PM

Probably not, but that doesn't make being worse than your forebears a good thing.

No, but neither does it necessarily make it a bad thing either.

Rush is being unacceptabley crude and ought to be called out for it. No question. Full Stop.

But it does present a rather interesting question (quite apart from the Rush thing). If we are to defend as acceptable those things our parents and grandparents thought over the line, while they themselves defended as acceptable those things that their parents and grandparents thought over the line, ad infinitum...

Every generation seems to think it stands on the edge of morality, beyond which "Civilization is Doomed™". And yet, it keeps not happening.

Is there a line beyond which civilization won't function and how would we know we reached it? The epitaph of the Hypochondriac is "I told you I was sick!"

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 2, 2012 06:17 PM

I don't know anything about his father or grandfather from which to judge, so I can't really answer except with a sort of stereotypical judgment about the values of earlier generations.

If WWII-era Hollywood movies are any sign about the motives of his father's generation, it appears to me that there was a stronger sense that there are some kinds of women who are ladies (and deserving of respect and protection), and some who are not (and were not). This seems to be something we don't have anymore, at least not to the same degree: once in a while I get a commenter showing up at the Hall wanting me to act as an enforcer of the 'you're-no-lady' standard, though I am not willing.

The grandfather's generation would have likely felt the same way only moreso.

Would they have approved of their (grand)son mocking such a woman in public? I don't know, but I do suspect they would have approved of his enforcing what was at the time a common moral standard: remember, you're asking about generations when birth control was actually illegal in many places. A young woman who proclaimed such a pressing need for it, in such quantities that it would have to be provided at public expense because she could not afford it herself, would almost certainly have been subject to at least this much mockery in earlier generations.

Even in my mother's time, the assumption was not that it was acceptable for a young woman at college to be on birth control -- let alone that it should be provided to her out of the assumption she would use it. Her dorms had a no-men policy, and a curfew.

So if that is the question, I think the answer is: it's quite possible they would have felt that public shaming was exactly the right response. It's we who are different in this regard.

Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2012 06:32 PM

I agree the comment was tasteless. At the same time, the point is that this sort of antic doesn't deserve a lot of respect. Susan Fluke is not a "young co-ed" - she's a 30 year old professional feminist who specifically joined Georgetown to agitate for free contraception.

Then she cloaks herself in some agitprop about "access to contraception" as if she would be unable to get contraceptive aids without Georgetown supplying them for free.

The entire argument is utterly ridiculous and deserves all the scorn that can be heaped upon it. So was Limbaugh's bombast vile and scurrilous? Probably. But it's America - there's no right to not be offended.

Sure, say Rush is an idiot. But please focus on the real point: a 30 year old professional agitator insists that she is owed free condoms from her university.

Seriously? Dude.

Posted by: AJsDaddie at March 2, 2012 06:34 PM

This is the weirdest blog, sorry. The Wolcott examples in this post put vile images in my head - "dildos" and "hairy testicles", thank you very much.

You imply it's a scandalous lack of decency for Rush to use the words "slut" and "prostitute". What image comes with those? Why, the image at the top of the page - a saucy gal showing us her garter straps.

Last time I was here, you were denouncing Palin for wearing high heels, under the same silly image! I recall you cited daddy as your authority for proper office dress.

You're probably no socialist, but you've done your socialist duty in denouncing today's target. Just point your East Coast lefty pals to this post and the dinner invites will keep coming.

Posted by: retlaw at March 2, 2012 09:54 PM

Thought the crew here might enjoy this (unfortunately imaginary) Congressional testimony from Dave Carter.

Posted by: david foster at March 2, 2012 10:48 PM

First she is 30 years old, second she only went to Georgetown because it is a religious institution so she could pick a fight about contraception, not to get an education. She has a profession, she is a professional feminist.

Posted by: dunce at March 3, 2012 12:30 AM


The Wolcott examples in this post put vile images in my head - "dildos" and "hairy testicles", thank you very much.

Funny you should say that. Rush's suggestion that Fluke should make sex tapes and put them online so "we can watch" put some rather vile images into my head too.

Maybe it is normal and acceptable where you come from for men to make that sort of suggestion?

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 07:48 AM

Grim:

There were several components to Rush's remarks. Calling her a slut or a prostitute could certainly fall under the heading of "public shaming", and I agree that older generations might have approved of that.

What I was thinking of, however, was Rush's suggestion that she (and other women who got free contraception from the govt) should post sex tapes online so he could watch.

Voyeuristic images aside, I am having trouble imagining too many folks of my parents' or grandparents' generation approving of a man saying such a thing on the radio. In fact, I'm pretty sure it would have been censored out as prurient and obscene.

Yes, we have changed. That was my point.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 07:53 AM

Loved the link, David! It's hard to improve on the ridiculousness of Fluke's argument, but the author did a pretty good job.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 08:15 AM

I tune into Limbaugh now and then in the car, if I've forgotten to bring a CD. I find that I rarely disagree with him much, but I rarely enjoy how he expresses himself. No, it's not really the occasional crudity, oversimplification, or exaggeration. What gets me is that he repeats himself. It's an effective technique, but not for me. He pounds a point to make sure it sticks. It makes me want to tear my hair out.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 3, 2012 08:48 AM

retlaw:

I'd like to address a few of your arguments. I'll do so in separate comments.

You imply it's a scandalous lack of decency for Rush to use the words "slut" and "prostitute". What image comes with those? Why, the image at the top of the page - a saucy gal showing us her garter straps.

Interesting argument - are you saying that my banner is scandalous or indecent? Or are you equating sauciness with being a whore?

FWIW, I don't think the banner is indecent or I would never have agreed to leave it up there. Obviously my male readers don't, as she was originally part of a one day patriotic pinups July 4th celebration for bloggers who support the armed forces. My husband (at my request) picked her out for me. It wasn't easy finding a patriotic pinup with her clothes on. Judging from your comment, perhaps the effort was wasted.

The "rest of the picture" shows her under a homemade wooden booth at a country fair with a sign that says "Kisses $1.00". She is sitting on a fence draped in stars and strips bunting.

Now perhaps to some people, a fully dressed young lady selling kisses at a county fair inescapably leads to prostitution. Seems a bit of a leap to me, but then I have never claimed to understand how men think, though I do try.

After July 4th, I took the pinup down and my readers asked me to put her back up. Was that indecent of them? After some thought and a conversation with my husband, I agreed to do so. I'm pretty sure my husband would have argued against it, had he thought the banner evoked thoughts of prostitution. Still, I've often regretted agreeing to leave the banner up, usually when someone like you suggests it somehow disqualifies me from having opinions they don't like.

I am a 53 year old mother of two sons, married to a recently retired (30 years) career Marine officer. I have two fine grandsons. I make no secret of my age or my happily married status and no person in his right mind would conflate me or the life I've led with the young woman at the top of my site.

I'm not sure what you're trying to insinuate, but you are hardly the first person to suggest that the banner somehow disqualifies me from commenting on anything related to sexual mores.

I wonder: do you apply the same standard to the many male conservative bloggers who post far more revealing things on their sites (or who make money from semi-pornographic ads in their sidebars whilst sternly admonishing young women to keep their legs crossed)?

Or is this just a distraction from the actual issue of whether suggesting that one's political opponents post online sex tapes is an effective argument for conservatism?

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 08:59 AM

What I was thinking of, however, was Rush's suggestion that she (and other women who got free contraception from the govt) should post sex tapes online so he could watch.... I am having trouble imagining too many folks of my parents' or grandparents' generation approving of a man saying such a thing on the radio.

Is that what really bothers you about what he said? To return to the 'WWII-era movie' example, I can think of several occasions in which these films (which were censored, as you say) demonstrated occasions when women were treated as easy and available because they appeared to be of what was called 'low character.' The idea of a sex tape didn't exist, but the idea that she might be propositioned to perform a sex act certainly did.

If it's the radio specifically, for the most part our awareness of old radio comes from recordings of the George and Gracie Show, or the Shadow, or whatever; but I have had occasion to listen to some old political broadcasts while doing some historical research on Georgia elections. I'm afraid that the idea that Rush's comments were especially crude and/or obscene doesn't hold up.

For example, take the re-election campaign of Eugene Talmadge, governor of Georgia. I listened to recordings of these broadcasts some years ago, and recite from memory, but I believe this is roughly accurate. Talmadge was a conservative by the standards of 1935, which meant that he was completely opposed to the New Deal and progressivism generally. Sometimes this meant supporting things we no longer approve of (like segregation), but other times it meant opposing things we are still quite proud to oppose. In this case, his opposition was to the progressive dream of eugenics, especially targeted at the poor and -- this is the point -- the black.

As a result, during the election campaign there were a series of radio shows blasting the governor as having a secret plan to legalize miscegenation. Indeed, perhaps it was so bad that he secretly intended to require white women to subject themselves to black men, as part of a plan to create a mixed race more slavish and submissive to...

You get the idea.

If anything, in this case, we seem to have changed in a way that we (at least) would approve of: left and right seem to be united in opposing the crude language directed toward a lady, who is taken for a lady in spite of her remarks. If it has ever been better than this for women like her -- as opposed to women who would have been taken for ladies by the old standards -- I gently submit that it would have been much longer ago than a generation or two.

Posted by: Grim at March 3, 2012 09:15 AM

[continued response to retlaw]

It is curious that you left out the rest of Rush's comment (the most objectionable part), but in the interest of discussing what he actually said rather than selectively airbrushed parts of it, here is a direct quote:

"So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.".

Do you consider this a normal suggestion?

Would you want your children or grandchildren to hear it? "Grandpa - what is a sex tape?" I'll go on record as saying that I see no reason my grandsons couldn't look at the banner at the top of my site. I've always thought that was a pretty good test.

The sex tape part of the quote (the one you left out) implies an obscene quid pro quo for using taxpayer funded contraception. Your fellow attorney Eugene Volokh countered this one very neatly:

There’s nothing substantive in common between being paid to have sex, and having contraceptives be provided by a health plan. (Would you call a man a gigolo because he uses a condom that he got for free from some university giveaway?) The allegation that somehow Ms. Fluke is “having so much sex” strikes me as misunderstanding the way birth control pills work: You have to take them all the time even if you’re having sex only rarely, and even if you’re having sex with only one person

It's not easy to come up with anything dumber than the suggestion that taxpayers have a duty to provide free birth control for ANYONE. Unfortunately, Rush was up to the task.

Conflating a crime (prostitution) with two legal activities (sex and the use of a Congressionally mandated government benefit, however unwise) is beyond idiotic. I would have thought a trained lawyer would be able to see the fundamental distinction between legal and illegal activities.


Last time I was here, you were denouncing Palin for wearing high heels, under the same silly image! I recall you cited daddy as your authority for proper office dress.

I think you need to go back and read the post. When you can understand and accurately summarize the points I made, I'll be happy to discuss them with you but I have no interest in arguing with straw men.

You're probably no socialist, but you've done your socialist duty in denouncing today's target. Just point your East Coast lefty pals to this post and the dinner invites will keep coming.

Is this what passes for serious argument in your circle of friends? Generally when people stoop to personal attacks, that means they can't argue on the merits.

We have few rules here at VC but one is: attack the argument, not the person. You are doing yourself no favor by lashing out at me. Make your argument calmly and I'll be happy to engage with you.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 09:20 AM

If anything, in this case, we seem to have changed in a way that we (at least) would approve of: left and right seem to be united in opposing the crude language directed toward a lady, who is taken for a lady in spite of her remarks.

Grim, you seem fixated on two arguments I have not made here:

1. That Ms. Fluke is a lady. I have not argued so, nor do I even think it is relevant to any of the points I've made.

I don't think the fact that she is a woman is particularly relevant. The point I'm making is that the focus of public decency is the public, not the individual. The same line of reasoning explains why when a crime is committed, the State is the plaintiff rather than the victim. This is not a crime, but it's a similar concept: the offense is against public decency.

I am far less concerned with the effect on a young woman who (and I did not know any of this yesterday morning when I wrote this post before work) appears to be a professional agitator who has misrepresented at least one thing about herself.

Being a lady (or being female) is not something that entitles her to more consideration than one would grant the general public.

2. That I am saying anyone should defend her. I haven't said that.

I am giving up on trying to explain why the sex tape remark offends me. Obviously there is a deep, unbridgeable gulf between your sensibilities and mine.

I watch plenty of old movies and to argue that because there is sexual innuendo in them, that somehow movies haven't changed in terms of how explicitly sex is treated defies belief.

People have always talked about these things. You are distorting my arguments.

FWIW, I called my Mom and Dad on the way home from work last night. The first thing they brought up (and no, they don't know I'm blogging again and I didn't mention it) was that they were appalled at the Rush remarks.

My parents have been staunch Republicans all their lives. They reacted the same way I did, and for the same reasons. I guess the apple doesn't fall that far from the tree after all.

If you truly believe this sort of thing would have flown during the age of censorship, I think you need to do some more research.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 09:34 AM

Your parents, Cass, are living in the current period just as much as we are; their attitudes are the attitudes of our present day. It's clear that, right now, this is appalling.

It's not clear to me that it would have been appalling in the same way fifty years ago, or eighty years ago.

Now, I'm not trying to pin the 'lady' standard on you, but I am trying to make clear that it was a distinction that these earlier generations held to be very important. A woman who defied that standard as completely as Ms. Fluke did would have been subject to some quite rough treatment, both by men (perhaps including mocking propositions of a similar type) and by women (who were the most famous enforcers of the old moral standard, again to judge by the movies and literature of the period).

The argument isn't that movies haven't changed, but that the world the movies represented (in a censored fashion) was one whose audiences clearly understood that the woman 'of low character' was going to be subject to sexual propositions or worse.

So, it may well be true that you believe (and others today believe) that 'being a lady entitles her to no more protection than that given to the general public.' But that's just the thing that the older generations did believe. It's just where we are out of step with them.

Posted by: Grim at March 3, 2012 09:49 AM

By the way, it may be worth considering that a reason the public culture has coarsened as much as it has is because of the collapse of this standard.

The function of the old standard was to confine the expression of ardent male sexuality to women who were prepared to receive it -- either by choice, or (and this is the reason we've rejected the old fashion here) by force of circumstance.

The force of treating all women as equals is that you treat all women as equals, whether they are (as you say) 'agitators' asking for special benefits in support of their sexuality, or porn stars, or what we used to call ladies. There may be a sense in which the old standard had more value than we credit it with having had, even though we prefer the new standard for reasons of justice.

What we haven't been able to do is to create a world in which all women are treated equally according to the old standard for ladies. I'm not sure such a world is possible, although -- as I said -- by example I try to demonstrate what it would be like.

Posted by: Grim at March 3, 2012 09:56 AM

Nowhere is the difference between the standards of yesteryear and today more evident than in the simple fact that for some reason, you seem not to understand the difference between a sexual proposition and the suggestion that accepting a government benefit creates a duty to film yourself having sex and broadcast that movie so that your fellow taxpayers can watch you having sex.

Unbelievable.

The argument isn't that movies haven't changed, but that the world the movies represented (in a censored fashion) was one whose audiences clearly understood that the woman 'of low character' was going to be subject to sexual propositions or worse.

Oddly, I don't recall too many movies glorifying or approving of that behavior. We all understood who the villains were. Or at least I did.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 09:58 AM

...and the suggestion that accepting a government benefit creates a duty to film yourself having sex and broadcast that movie so that your fellow taxpayers can watch you having sex.

The old form of that argument would have been that being a prostitute creates an expectation -- not quite a duty -- that you would be sexually available for anyone who would pay you. The idea of broadcasting is new; but once you have labeled her a prostitute, as Rush did, it's not surprising that you would further suggest that she should do what prostitutes do.

Thus, what was offensive to me about Rush's remarks was the statement that she was a prostitute. Having made that leap, the rest follows.

Posted by: Grim at March 3, 2012 10:15 AM

The prostitute metaphor was just plain illogical.

I'm not going to repeat Volokh's excellent fisking of it. I'm sure there are folks who would argue that a prostitute cannot pick and choose her clients.

Seems an odd argument for a man who says he's an ardent supporter of *free* markets to make, though.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 11:28 AM

What I find interesting is that you're trying to have an intelligent discourse about whether Limbaugh's remarks were precise or not.

This was buffoonery lampooning more buffoonery. Limbaugh was ridiculous and over the top with his comments, but Ms. Fluke was no less over the top in her demands.

Both statements, hers and his, are equally disdainful. To call out his is I think to miss the point: the fact that this woman's outrageous demands and the subsequent commentary are considered objects of intelligent discourse is a symptom of the self-mockery our society has become.

But then again, Al Franken is a United States Senator, and there's little more that can be said.

Posted by: AJsDaddie at March 3, 2012 12:09 PM

...the fact that this woman's outrageous demands and the subsequent commentary are considered objects of intelligent discourse is a symptom of the self-mockery our society has become.

So you think we've gotten dirty wrestling with this pig?

Well, I've been dirty before.

Posted by: Grim at March 3, 2012 12:43 PM

But then again, Al Franken is a United States Senator, and there's little more that can be said.

OK, that was funny :)

Seriously, though, I didn't have much to say about the so called substance of Ms. Fluke's testimony because it is pretty much self-refuting. It makes the Left look foolish and duplicitous (which is fine with me).

I didn't miss the point that her demands are ridiculous - having made that point once in a previous post and than reiterating it here ("...Fluke's testimony was about as close to low hanging fruit as it gets"), I didn't see the need to belabor the point.

People reading my site already agree that her demands are stupid. The point of this post, 2/3 of which wasn't even *about* Rush, is that surely it ought to be possible to make a slam dunk argument without resorting to ad hominems and porn metaphors.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 3, 2012 02:10 PM

who has misrepresented at least one thing about herself.

Missed this. What did Sandra Fluke misrepresent about herself?

Posted by: Elise at March 3, 2012 03:21 PM

People reading my site already agree that her demands are stupid. The point of this post, 2/3 of which wasn't even *about* Rush, is that surely it ought to be possible to make a slam dunk argument without resorting to ad hominems and porn metaphors.

Gotcha. I agree 100% - an intelligent argument doesn't deserve ad hominems or sexual innuendo. My point is that this woman's position doesn't deserve an intelligent argument, so that the discussion around the discussion is somewhat moot.

Posted by: AJsDaddie at March 3, 2012 05:25 PM

So you think we've gotten dirty wrestling with this pig?

Well, I've been dirty before.

Yeah, I guess that's my point in the vernacular. :)

Posted by: AJsDaddie at March 3, 2012 06:35 PM

So do you accept Rush's apology? I think it was pretty straightforward. He said he was lampooning the buffoonery but made a very bad choice of words. Apology accepted?

Posted by: AJsDaddie at March 3, 2012 08:20 PM

Thanks for answering at such length. We are of an age - I was born in 1960. I'm not a lawyer like Volokh (to unlock the mystery of my handle, set your Cap'n Crunch Decoder Ring on its "BKWD" setting), who makes an unlawyerly assumption. Fluke said her birth control costs a thou a year, but she didn't specify pills. And since pills should be much cheaper, one's free to speculate.

I'll try to be more clear. You were wrong to compare Rush to Wolcott. Wolcott is obscene. Rush was no more obscene than the pic at the top of this page - which I like. (My grandpa used to have such pin-ups over his work bench, which is why we weren't supposed to go down there. If a mechanic had such a thing in his shop today, though, a Sandra Fluke would come along and bankrupt him with a lawsuit.) Sorry to make you defend your logo against "people like" me, but maybe you should have an alternate pic - a school librarian with her hair in a tight bun, perhaps - when you want to play the moral scold.

Rush didn't say the stuff about on-line videos till the next day. I listen to 24/7 online, so I had not heard it yet (I'm in a time zone far, far away), which is why I didn't mention it. I disagree that such a suggestion puts obscene images in people's minds - I just imagine two idiots fumbling in bed before I look away.

Now Rush has apologized, so it's silly to defend him. But what the heck, I'll try. I'm glad he used shaming language on a shameless woman. I'm happy more people heard about her ridiculous testimony. The Dems have miscalculated, especially with the President calling her and saying her parents should be PROUD of her for discussing her busy sex life on national TV.

Limbaugh's a great man. Nobody since Buckley has done more to advance Conservatism. Republicans should NOT slag him every time they disagree with him. They especially should NOT comply with totalitarian demands for his denunciation! Woman up, for crying out loud.

Posted by: retlaw at March 3, 2012 09:35 PM

You're right, my reference to your Palin post was ad hominem. My point was that both times I've come to your site, you were joining in the pile-on of a conservative figure. Two incidents isn't much of a sample, though - I'd have done better to shut up.

And I didn't mean to slight your father. His disapprobation for Palin's duds means nothing to me, but I'm sure he's a nice guy.

I apologize for arguing like a sidewinder.

And please thank your husband for his military service.

Posted by: retlaw at March 3, 2012 10:00 PM

You say two thirds of the post wasn't about Rush, but I think your math is off.

But if you're condemning Pauline Kael for disrespecting intelligence, you're wrong about that, too. In fact, this is the first time I've ever heard Kael say something I liked.

Say there are 300 million in America, 150 mil of above average intelligence, 150 mil below. Which half is happier? Which half is the better behaved?

High IQ is necessary to acquire wisdom, just as great height is necessary to getting an NBA contract. But most tall guys are much more likely to bang their heads on the overhead baggage compartment than they are to get an NBA contract.

There was a discussion at Volokh a few months back about why so many Soviet revolutionaries back in the day were Jews. A couple guys posited that it was resentment - Jews wanted to stamp out the Czar because of pogroms. Anti-Semites showed up and said it was because Jews have always been trouble-makers. Hmm.

I say it was IQ. THE BELL CURVE points out that Ashkenazi Jews test higher on IQ tests than any other racial group. That's why Jews are overrepresented in the talky professions - law, teaching, commissaring...

My point is that human intelligence is not used to seek wisdom nearly so often as it's used to rationalize bad behavior and nurse resentment. High IQ is NOT a virtue.

But the chicks dig it, huh? Women don't like dancing with short guys or marrying stupid ones.

Have you ever seen GOOD WILL HUNTING? It a horrid film on many levels, but the "hero" is the worst. He has the two "virtues" the Statists most revere: he's a genius and a former victim of child abuse. All through the movie, he never does anything for anybody but himself - and yet we're supposed to like him. I don't.

Don't lionize IQ, lionize wisdom. And if the Statists call somebody stupid, run out and vote for her.

Posted by: retlaw at March 3, 2012 10:56 PM

So do you accept Rush's apology? I think it was pretty straightforward. He said he was lampooning the buffoonery but made a very bad choice of words. Apology accepted?

Sure. I have never been a big fan of forced apologies. I tend to think that if a person is really sorry, they will apologize soon and on their own. But I also think that if a person does decide to apologize, that should be the end of it :)

Posted by: Cassandra at March 4, 2012 08:00 AM

retlaw:

Thanks for your responses. It was gracious of you to apologize. Though I wasn't asking for an apology, it can hardly fail to impress me when one is generously offered :)

A few thoughts:

1. I still don't see what my banner has to do with the merit of my arguments? And why use the term "moral scold"?

I wrote a post saying that surely it ought to be possible to formulate a simple argument without resorting to porn metaphors and ad hominem attacks, factually unsupported as they happen to be in this case, or otherwise.

Does that really make me a moral scold? And what does any of this have to do with the fully clothed pinup in my banner? Do I use the banner to make arguments?

I left her up there because several of my readers wrote to me privately and told me that looking at her makes them happy. I don't really understand this, but men and women are different for a reason. In this, I went against my gut feeling. But I honestly don't think there is anything wrong with doing so. I do realize that it could be said to send mixed messages, but in my mind they pale in comparison to the many conservative sites that intentionally post far more risque material (all, apparently, without generating similar suggestions).

It seems to me that some conservative men often lecture women about they think how we should live our lives. That's their right in a free society. I may not always agree with them, but I am never so threatened by it that I need to call them names. If I disagree, I need only address their arguments.

Curiously, though, I don't think I have ever seen a man called a moral scold for doing this, just as I've never seen a man called a slut (no matter how slutty his behavior may be). Was Rush a moral scold when he labeled a woman who (and I've read the transcript) said precisely nothing about her own sex life a slut and a prostitute?

Part of the traditional role of women in society has been to do just what I did in this post - argue for and defend a higher standard of behavior. It is precisely this traditional role that has been undermined by the Left, which makes it all the more disturbing when conservative men join the Leftist war on traditional morals and values.

I've always believed that words and deeds should be judged on their merits. They don't become right when someone we like or agree with does them, nor wrong because (in this example) a woman happens to be the speaker.

Rush didn't say the stuff about on-line videos till the next day. I listen to 24/7 online, so I had not heard it yet (I'm in a time zone far, far away), which is why I didn't mention it. I disagree that such a suggestion puts obscene images in people's minds - I just imagine two idiots fumbling in bed before I look away.

Perhaps you didn't read my post. I understand that people frequently don't before commenting. I accept that perhaps you didn't see it, but from my perspective it was on the table since I quoted it in my post.

Sex tapes are a subject where we'll have to differ. To most women I know, sex tapes have a very different connotation than they do to men. Men seem to think they're just harmless "entertainment". To most women, they are a violation of trust used to humiliate and hurt a former sex partner.

I am lucky enough to have been married for a long time to a man I admire and trust. As such, I've been mystified to see male conservative bloggers go on and on about how women should be chaste and pure, and yet out of the other side of their mouths reveal that their "friends" (who has such friends?) have shown them nude photos of women they are in relationships with.

What kind of man behaves this way (especially while presuming to lecture women about their morals?). I think "ungentlemanly" is far too gentle a term.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 4, 2012 09:04 AM

I forgot to address this:

Limbaugh's a great man. Nobody since Buckley has done more to advance Conservatism. Republicans should NOT slag him every time they disagree with him. They especially should NOT comply with totalitarian demands for his denunciation! Woman up, for crying out loud.

People who disagree with a particular position love to mischaracterize the words or deeds of those they do not understand.

This post was written out of genuine disgust with Limbaugh's statements (along with Wolcott and the jerks who just had to speak ill of Breitbart after his death). It had nothing whatsoever to do with "totalitarian demands for denunciation".

You are free to disagree with me, but by the same token you don't really have any way of knowing why I decided to write about this topic.

Are you really saying that our side should be immune from criticism no matter what they say or do? I've seen progressives argue that same thing, but it has never been all that convincing an argument.

That's tribalism - my side is always right. It's an argument for the abandonment of principle. If you want a party that is amoral, I can hardly imagine a better tenet to live by.

But if you want a party that stands up for standards and accountability, you're going to have to accept that when humans err (as humans inevitably do) they must take responsibility for their actions and live up to their professed principles.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 4, 2012 09:20 AM

Elise:

I would say that she misrepresented herself by omission. A woman with a long resume including leadership positions in many women's rights orgs but forgets to mention all that is misleading others as to her motivation.

On the age thing, I believe that was probably a media screwup for which she is not responsible.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 4, 2012 09:23 AM

Actually, I just read it again and I need to take something back based on the facts:

This was part of her introduction:

I’m also a past president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ. I’d like to acknowledge my fellow LSRJ members and allies and all of the student activists with us and thank them for being here today.

I relied on a selectively edited (!) summary because I had already read her testimony.

This is a perfect example of why dishonesty by omission is so damaging. I fell for it even though I'd read her testimony twice.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 4, 2012 10:03 AM

I would say that she misrepresented herself by omission.

Perhaps. But when testifying before the Democratic Steering Committee, she clearly identified herself as"past-president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ." She also made it quite clear that she and her "allies" were there "as Georgetown LSRJ".

As far as I can tell, her other activism involves work on domestic violence (apparently mostly involving unmarried couples, including GLBT) and slavery (I think sex slavery but I'm not totally sure). While I find both of those interests commendable, I don't think they're relevant to the topic she was discussing: access to contraception. (Which, no, is not the relevant topic; that would be the Constitution.)

From my point of view, Fluke is not a ringer or a plant. She is someone that those who support the contraception mandate knew would be one their side; knew would present a sympathetic picture; and believed would testify articulately. (I believe they were mistaken in that belief; her testimony is a mess in the "makes sense" department, and her math problems are the least of it. However, it does meet the "my heart bleeds" criterion which is the front on which that side is going to fight this battle.)

I have seen stories which say that she was "denied" the opportunity to testify at that earlier hearing (the "where are the women" one). If that's true, I imagine that she proposed herself as a witness at that hearing and, when she was not permitted to testify, the Democrats saw her as the perfect opportunity to present heart-rending stories via a sympathetic witness. They were correct.

Link to What The Folly site for transcript of Fluke's testimony:

http://bit.ly/xRO4Tv

So far as I can tell, at no point does she refer to her own sex life in any way, shape, or form.

Link to Jammie Wearing Fool for Fluke's resume (it's not clear to me where this info came from so I don't know if it's accurate):

http://bit.ly/x9k1M0

Posted by: Elise at March 4, 2012 10:32 AM

Cassandra: Our comments crossed in the ether - I spent too long fiddling with mine.

Posted by: Elise at March 4, 2012 10:35 AM

You were right to point out that I was in error, and I think you made several excellent points.

Though I was not aware of this last week when I wrote this post, a good deal of the conservative commentary on Fluke's actual testimony has been highly misleading, not by omission but by distortion, whether deliberate or simply sloppy.
When I finally read the transcript of her actual testimony, I literally did not recognize the various wild exaggerations of it that I had seen on various blogs (and Rush's site).

If it's a problem not to be able to make a coherent argument without porn metaphors and ad hominems, it's even more a problem when we can't make a simple argument without distorting the facts.

That doesn't change the validity of the position that the federal government should not be in the business of dictating to private employers or schools what must be covered in health insurance - especially when they are openly discriminating against men by covering the Pill but not contraceptives! But it certainly undermines our credibility.

Which is kind of why I wrote this post in the first place, oddly enough :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 4, 2012 11:39 AM

"From my point of view, Fluke is not a ringer or a plant."

I would beg to differ:
"There’s something else she is not, and that is just an aggrieved student accidentally caught up in this media maelstrom. In fact, she is an activist against conservatives. Last year, for instance, Fluke took her campaign against “conservative” universities on the road and led seminars to that end held at Berkeley. (Thanks JWF)

In other words, we’ve been sold a bill of goods. This woman is a hardcore, middle-aged, political left-winger, not any innocent law student.

Another thing is that Democrats tried to foist this faux “expert” on a congressional committee hearing before. In the middle of February, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing to hear expert testimony on President Obama’s decision to force religious organizations to fund contraception use for employees.

The hearing had actual experts that spoke on both sides of the issue but the meeting was about the Constitutional issue of religious freedom, not so-called “reproductive rights.” Mz. Fluke’s inclusion as a speaker was therefore denied because she is neither an expert on the Constitution, interested in religious freedom, nor is she an actual expert on the medical uses of contraception. She was merely a left-wing activist with no pertinent expertise.

This is why Representative Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) held her own special hearing to give Fluke her platform for activism. Amusingly, while Democrats complained that it was a crime Fluke was not allowed to testify at the earlier hearing, in Pelosi’s dog and pony show, Fluke was the only one allowed to speak."

Posted by: DL Sly at March 4, 2012 12:36 PM

That doesn't change the validity of the position that the federal government should not be in the business of dictating to private employers or schools what must be covered in health insurance - especially when they are openly discriminating against men by covering the Pill but not contraceptives! But it certainly undermines our credibility.

I agree on both points: It doesn't change the validity of the underlying position and it does undermine our credibility. Now, instead of talking about government over-reach and the First Amendment, we're talking about the sex life of a woman who may not even have one and the cv of a 3rd year law student who cannot make a coherent argument even when given weeks to prepare and the use of a written statement.

Which is kind of why I wrote this post in the first place, oddly enough :p

:+)

Posted by: Elise at March 4, 2012 12:53 PM

In other words, we’ve been sold a bill of goods. This woman is a hardcore, middle-aged, political left-winger, not any innocent law student.

Middle-aged? What a cruel blow! If 30 is middle-aged, I need to be set out on an ice flow.

I don't care if she's Karl Marx' very-posthumous love child. Either her arguments are good or they aren't. If her arguments are good, it doesn't matter if she is on the personal payroll of Nancy Pelosi - the arguments are still good. If her arguments are bad, it doesn't matter if she's the only person ever to be canonized while still living - her arguments are still bad.

I don't have the training or the patience to follow the arguments about global warming but I know the people who push the apocalyptic version are full of hooey. How do I know? Because they attack those who oppose them personally. No one who actually has a good argument needs to do that. Only those who do not have a leg to stand on in the arena of ideas need to resort to name-calling, background checks, and guilt by association.

Posted by: Elise at March 4, 2012 01:03 PM

I don't have the training or the patience to follow the arguments about global warming but I know the people who push the apocalyptic version are full of hooey. How do I know? Because they attack those who oppose them personally. No one who actually has a good argument needs to do that. Only those who do not have a leg to stand on in the arena of ideas need to resort to name-calling, background checks, and guilt by association.

+1. Thank you. I really wish more people understood that.

And Cassandra, put me down as another one who likes the girl at the top of your page, and does not feel it undermines your credibility to comment on bad behavior (I don't even follow that logic). Fer cryin out loud, her outfit is less revealing than anything in Lady Gaga's wardrobe.

Posted by: colagirl at March 4, 2012 02:34 PM

Let me try again. The pic at the top is nice, but it's a jarring juxtaposition when you post about Palin's "Catch me, f*** me shoes" (I'd rather explain "sex tape" to a grandkid than "f*** me shoes", by the bye) or Limbaugh daring to use the word "slut".

I completely agree with you about conservative sites with immoral ads, though - I've had to give up Dan Riehl for just that reason.

And you're right, my reading comprehension was faulty - usually I just skim quotes and read what the blogger has to say. Oops.

Still doesn't affect my argument, one you've only addressed with innuendo about "people like you" and how I'm a Conservative man who wants to control your life because you're a woman. Piffle.

My argument, restated: Limbaugh is not obscene. "Slut", "prostitute", and "sex tape" do not insert obscene images into a listener's mind. Wolcott is obscene. "Bugger the Zeitgeist", "throbbing baguette", "furry testicles", and "dildos for rent" - yuck! By quoting this slimeball, you've inserted ugly images in your readers' minds - something worse than what you condemn Limbaugh for.

"Sex tape" means different things to men and women? Cave men like me wouldn't understand? I'm busy looking at naked pics of my pals' wives?

Who's the sidewinder now?

Posted by: retlaw at March 4, 2012 08:16 PM

"You are free to disagree with me, but by the same token you don't really have any way of knowing why I decided to write about this topic."

Sure I do! You said yourself you took your cue from "Memeorandum". All the Statist sites were trashing Limbaugh, and you thought it would be a nice gesture to join in.

They called for denunciation, and you answered the call.

It sure worked out nicely, with Memeorandum (what a stupid name - I can't stand Dawkins) featuring your courageous stand.

Posted by: retlaw at March 4, 2012 08:27 PM

Elise said:

"I don't care if she's Karl Marx' very-posthumous love child. Either her arguments are good or they aren't. If her arguments are good, it doesn't matter if she is on the personal payroll of Nancy Pelosi - the arguments are still good. If her arguments are bad, it doesn't matter if she's the only person ever to be canonized while still living - her arguments are still bad."

This sounds reasonable and even noble, but it's a recipe for confusion. Lenin said "A lie told often enough becomes the truth". The Statists do not value truth at all, and they seek power by any necessary means.

They lie. Catch them, and they're not even embarrassed, they just pivot to another lie. They'll return to the first lie when they get a new audience.

FBI files have recently been released that show that Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn were CPUSA members. This brands them liars - reading and refuting them is a waste of our time, even if it's a service that our youth may need. (I recommend Michael Medved's THE TEN BIG LIES ABOUT AMERICA for all young people.)

Knowing who your opponent is is essential, Elise. If she's a Statist like Fluke, check her every statistic. Have a computer handy to check new stats for when she pivots to a new lie. Be ready to call her out loud and clear when she's caught in a lie.

Posted by: retlaw at March 4, 2012 08:53 PM

Why do I refer to you as a "moral scold" for objecting to Limbaugh crying "slut", while I don't apply the term to Limbaugh himself? Because Rush was joking.

He knows she's not a prostitute. It doesn't take Surber or Volokh to point out that free condoms don't make a gigolo - geez, Surber's not usually so humorless. Rush was tongue-in-cheek: she's asking us to subsidize her sex life - hey, isn't that what prostitutes do?

Then he was attacked, and he doubled down with a kernel of truth - would YOU be proud is your daughter went on TV to talk about her sex life? So was he being a scold? I suppose, but she deserved a kick in the rump.

The sex tape thing was completely tongue-in-cheek, for Heaven's sake. Do you think Rush really wants to see porn featuring Sandra Fluke? It was to drive the Statists mad - don't they adore our civil right to porn? I laughed while I cringed - it was so outrageous.

As for the sluts vs. studs double standard, yawn. Bristol Palin's former beau - do you imagine he's admired for his heroic exploits with that vile Gifford woman? The guff Rush gives Clinton about ruining Monica's life - hey, maybe he is a moral scold!

And maybe being a scold isn't so bad sometimes, if you've zeroed the right target.

Posted by: retlaw at March 4, 2012 09:34 PM

...she's asking us to subsidize her sex life - hey, isn't that what prostitutes do?

Aye yay yay.

I must have missed the prostitutes asking Congress for taxpayer subsidies.

Prostitutes accept money in return for having sex with a paying customer. "Subsidies" have nothing to do with it.

As Rush likes to say, words have meaning. And when you use words in such a fashion that it becomes apparent you don't understand that meaning, you end up looking like a clown.

wrt what you called my 'innuendo', I wasn't referring to you. It seemed clear that referring to "some conservative male bloggers" (unless you have a blog with those types of ads) can't have been a reference to you. I only know you as a commenter.

Let me correct this so that "listener" refers to more than just you:

"Slut", "prostitute", and "sex tape" do not insert obscene images into *your* mind.

The slut and prostitute slurs were objectively and gratuitously offensive. And the sex tape remark was creepy - it absolutely did insert obscene images into MY mind... and those of several people I have talked to about this out in meat space.

Sex tapes are not something I talk about. They would not be a natural metaphor for me to use in an argument, especially if the topic is a young woman who NOWHERE in her testimony, talked about HER sex life.

I will ask you again, "Did you even read her testimony?" Or are you relying on Rush's dishonest characterization of it?

In her testimony, she talks about a friend with polycystic ovary syndrome who was on the Pill to treat that medical condition. Although the Georgetown policy DID allow treatment with the Pill for this condition (it ought to), the woman had to fight to get reimbursed for it.

I am intimately familiar with fighting a large bureaucracy to get treatment that is the standard of care for a condition. I have severe migraines and you would not believe the crap I had to go through to get Imitrex from the Navy. Medical boards, being actively lied to, medical personnel who couldn't even be bothered to check whether the pharmacy carried it when I brought in articles and specifically asked (having literally tried every other medication and at the time, having my husband having to take me to the emergency room to be knocked out after 3 days of severe pain and vomiting).

Despite all of this, I don't agree with Fluke that the federal government needs to step in. But she made some compelling points.

I really think you should read her testimony and then ask yourself if Rush's description of it was honest or fair. I think you may be unpleasantly surprised.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 5, 2012 07:04 AM

retlaw, dude. You are not helping yourself when you argue that our own sense of morals, proprieties, and standards be subourned for "the cause". That is as much "the socialist way" as anything.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 5, 2012 09:35 AM

And I say that as someone much further to the right than the blog princess. I ain't the rightmost character here (AFE takes that honor), but I'm on the upper end of that scale.

My comment about sounding like geezers was as much about me saying that I am going to relish being that geezer scolding the youngsters about their ever loosening standards.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 5, 2012 09:53 AM

...she's asking us to subsidize her sex life - hey, isn't that what prostitutes do?

Last time I checked, prostitutes weren't in the business for the gratification of their *own* libido. It's not the prostitutes sex life that is, for lack of a better word, "enhanced" in the transaction.

The pic at the top is nice, but it's a jarring juxtaposition...

So if you aren't dressed like a nun or a monk, it's "jarring" to talk about where the lines of proper public decorum lie? This is especially ironic given that the entire discussion was about the idea that what was appropriate in a social setting is not the same as what was appropriate in a business/professional setting. For the record, if it isn't clear, this blog is a social setting.

My argument, restated: Limbaugh is not obscene. "Slut", "prostitute", and "sex tape" do not insert obscene images into a listener's mind.

Yes, they do. Maybe they don't in yours, but we weren't speaking specifically of yours.

By quoting this slimeball [Wolcott], you've inserted ugly images in your readers' minds - something worse than what you condemn Limbaugh for.

Sometimes providing a comparison of things your audience already agrees is distasteful is useful in demonstration why the actions you are highlighting should also be found distasteful. And also why "but he's on Our Team" should not be a valid excuse. When you put the good of "The Party" above the good of the person you are aping the same collectivist position occupied by the Left.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 5, 2012 10:53 AM

This is especially ironic given that the entire discussion on the Palin/Shoes post was ...

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 5, 2012 10:54 AM

“This is especially ironic given that the entire discussion on the Palin/Shoes post was ...”

…stupid?

Cassandra’s father passed along some tips about how to dress modestly in an office environment. Nice fatherly advice, he didn’t want anybody to assume his daughter was sleeping her way to the top.

Governor Palin wasn’t running for THAT kind of office, though. It’s pretty impossible to sleep your way into the Oval Office, so it was a stupid criticism. Let Palin wear what she wants, Cassandra won’t support her anyway.

And this came out during another week of brutal criticism of Palin and her family, and I’m sure with the graphics and all, Cassandra made it into the Meme again.

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 07:46 PM

...she's asking us to subsidize her sex life - hey, isn't that what prostitutes do?

Yu-ain’t replied:

“Last time I checked, prostitutes weren't in the business for the gratification of their *own* libido. It's not the prostitutes sex life that is, for lack of a better word, "enhanced" in the transaction.”

Yeah, got it. It’s obviously not what prostitutes do. I said it was a joke. Remind me not to tell you the one about the guy who walks into the bar with a parrot on his head.

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 07:48 PM

What obscene image gets put into your head when you hear the word “prostitute”? I see a woman in hot-pants and high boots leaning against a lamp-post.

What about “slut”? I remember girls using that taunt a lot in junior high, so I see a girl coming to school in winter braless in a tube-top and a denim jacket.

What about “sex tape”? All I see is that idiot Paris Hilton looking clueless in a grainy screencap.

Am I more clean-minded than you ladies? I could certainly imagine more if I tried, but why try? With “furry testicles”, nothing is left to the imagination. I can’t even say it’s more obscene by an order of magnitude, because multiplying by zero doesn’t get you far.

But you will not grant me this point, because if you do, you grant that comparing Wolcott to Rush was unfair, and an act of verbal aggression against Rush.

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 07:51 PM

Nope, haven’t read the transcript and don’t plan to, Cassandra.

Rush expanded on his apology today, and he said he was going by the report in Cybercast News Service, which didn’t mention pills. His characterization of her testimony was “dishonest”? Just another gratuitous slam from you – sound and fury.

A gynecologist called Rush’s show last Friday. He claimed Fluke was lying about polycystic ovary syndrome. Alas, I cannot find the transcript, but I still seem more informed than you are about it. I think he said most cases are not treated with the Pill, but when they are, it’s the variety of pill you can buy for 9 bucks a month at Walmart.

Your story about trying to make the bureaucracy pay for your migraine medicine was genuinely touching, but irrelevant. Fluke wants the Pope to be made to subsidize contraception because she’s hostile to religious freedom.

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 08:01 PM

Cassandra, I’ve looked around your site, and it seems clear to me we’ll never have a meeting of the minds. I’m a troll here, and I dislike that role. Let me say my piece and leave.

The intelligence you bring to this blog with your lively prose at first attracts. But like most humans, you use your intelligence to rationalize doing any darn thing you please. Your attack on Rush is no noble rejection of tribalism. To the extent Rush is of your tribe, you are ashamed and want him out – you make that clear both here and in today’s new posts.

No, your tribe are patrons of the Nelson Rockefeller/Gerald Ford/Mitt Romney Candyfanny Country Club. Call yourself conservative all you like, you’re just a snob.

Going against your tribe would mean blogging about something like the Mitt Romney/Ron Paul alliance. I’ve searched your site, and I can’t find that.

You’re blowing smoke about tribalism, Cassandra. (Aeschylus’ Cassandra never blows smoke.)

And your attack on Rush is over-the-top, much worse than Malkin’s, who keeps her focus on Fluke. It’s something a clueless ingrate would do. You’re an ingrate because Rush has done more than any one man to get “perfect pitch” John “Crybaby” Boehner into the Speaker’s chair. (And what a horror he’s been. The Tea Party delivered a majority that your tribe of candyfannies co-opted. Continuing Resolution after Continuing Resolution after Continuing Resolution has made the Crybaby’s House the biggest spending one in American history – all because the Dems say “Boo! We’ll shut down the government!” Never mind that the shut-down twixt Clinton and Gingrich cost us no seats – some members got some bad press. Like I said, candyfannies.) Rush deserves support, support like Malkin has extended today. A Conservative would lend it, especially after his apology.

Not you, though. Strike while the iron’s hot, I guess. Get yourself back up on Memeorandum.

Richard Powell’s Cassandra from WHOM THE GODS WOULD DESTROY was gracious, with a generosity of spirit. Cassandra Garterstrap, not so much: “I have never been a big fan of forced apologies.” How very small of you.

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 08:06 PM

Nope, haven’t read the transcript and don’t plan to, Cassandra. Rush expanded on his apology today, and he said he was going by the report in Cybercast News Service, which didn’t mention pills.

I think we now know everything we need to about you, retlaw.

You don't care what the truth is, and even when provided with a link, you can't be bothered to inform yourself. From your voluntary (and unassailable) position of ignorance, you never have to take responsibility for being wrong.

Impressive :p

Posted by: Cassandra at March 5, 2012 09:03 PM

A gynecologist called Rush’s show last Friday. He claimed Fluke was lying about polycystic ovary syndrome. Alas, I cannot find the transcript, but I still seem more informed than you are about it. I think he said most cases are not treated with the Pill, but when they are, it’s the variety of pill you can buy for 9 bucks a month at Walmart.

Taking the word of a radio show caller is "more informed" than someone who bothered to Google it herself?

*sigh*

From the Mayo Clinic web site:

Regulate your menstrual cycle. If you're not trying to become pregnant, your doctor may recommend low-dose birth control pills that contain a combination of synthetic estrogen and progesterone. They decrease androgen production and give your body a break from the effects of continuous estrogen. This decreases your risk of endometrial cancer and corrects abnormal bleeding.

That was the very first medication they listed, and was confirmed on 3 other sites in less than 5 minutes.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 5, 2012 09:41 PM

"You don't care what the truth is, and even when provided with a link, you can't be bothered to inform yourself."

See the Lenin quote I showed Elise above. In that comment, I implied that when a Statist is arguing policy, her every statement must be fact-checked, because Statists have no value for truth. Why exhaust myself? Isn't it plain that her agenda is cultural marxism, just as Betty Friedan's was? If I were arguing with a Democrat, I might have to wade in.

You just want me to read it because misery loves company. :-P

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 10:10 PM

"Taking the word of a radio show caller is "more informed" than someone who bothered to Google it herself?

*sigh*

Can you BE more of a snob? *sigh*

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 10:13 PM

Yep, cause just like on the internet, you can believe everything you hear on the radio.

To think otherwise is snobbery.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 5, 2012 10:22 PM

He sounded like a doctor, kind of a fuddy-duddy. I might easily have remembered wrong about HOW he said she lied.

I remember he pointed out that a woman only needs one ovary - not a very impressive point. His point about 9 bucks a month at Walmart was more memorable. Go Google Mayo about that.

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 10:44 PM

Sounding kinda fuddy-duddy? That's some pretty stellar credentials right there. Certainly more impressive than those hacks at the Mayo Clinic.

And one ovary? That's kind of like saying a man only needs one testicle. Technically true, but of little comfort to the patient.

$9/month bc pills at Wal-mart is much more salient and verifiable. He and you should have stuck to his strong suit.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 5, 2012 10:59 PM

"And one ovary? That's kind of like saying a man only needs one testicle."

That's why I said the point wasn't impressive. Geez, Yu, you're the kind of guy who needs everything spelled out. (Thought you might be a gal before, but seeing as how you're playing the white knight, I can see I was mistaken.)

Said I would leave, and I guess I should. Yu won't answer what obscene image fills his brain when somebody says "prostitute" or "slut".

Shall I come back with a transcription of the gynecologist's call? I can re-listen to Friday's show after my classes this evening and tell you what was what. Would that satisfy your nit-picking? (Face it, you've both avoided my telling points.)

Personally, I'm not mad any more. Cassandra dissed my hero, and I gave her both barrels. That'll teach ya!

If you really want me to stick around, let's change the subject - as I said, I dislike playing the troll. Who the heck was Quintilian? I was a Classics guy at a fancy-dan college, and I don't recall that name. (Mind you, some of those years are a beery haze.)

"Villainous company has been the spoil of me." I'm too lazy to Google that, too. Laurence Sterne?

What's your favorite Austen? Rex Stout and Gertrude Himmelfarb say EMMA, the last one. I've always preferred PERSUASION and MANSFIELD PARK. What say you?

Posted by: retlaw at March 5, 2012 11:52 PM

Not impressive?!?! Dude it's a big giant red flag. No "doctor" who makes a statement about "well, you've got a spare" should be given the benefit of the doubt with a bottle of aspirin, much less cited as a source for whom fact-checking him is to be considered "snobbery".

If that sort of sloppiness is "both barrels" you need a bigger gun.

As for what sort of "images" come to mind from "slut", "prostitute" and "sex-tape", well, those links wouldn't be work safe but a quick google search for amatuer p**n...

Wait, sorry, I apologize: Google searches are too much work for you.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 6, 2012 08:48 AM

"As for what sort of "images" come to mind from "slut", "prostitute" and "sex-tape", well, those links wouldn't be work safe but a quick google search for amatuer p**n..."

Yanno, YAG, I get a completely different picture when the words "slut" and "prostitute" come up in a conversation.
[Brain bleach warning]
Buuuuttt, that's just me.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at March 6, 2012 10:48 AM

Governor Palin wasn’t running for THAT kind of office, though.

No, she's running for one much more important.

It’s pretty impossible to sleep your way into the Oval Office, so it was a stupid criticism.

Only if "sleeping your way into the Oval Office" is the only downside. POTUS is a position where serious, no-nonsense, stuffed-shirtedness (for lack of a better word) are virtues. When negotiating with Putin it is Power you want to project, not Fun, Relaxed and Easy-going.

So no. It isn't stupid. Image and presentation matter far more for POTUS than the Pointy-Haired Boss.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 6, 2012 12:06 PM

"When negotiating with Putin it is Power you want to project, not Fun, Relaxed and Easy-going."

Dude, you've like totally convinced me! Tarting yourself up in f*** me shoes is so seriously not the way to deal with Putin - what can that (image alert!) slut have been thinking?! As Hillary's demonstrated, you gotta don the puke-pastel pantsuit and concede SDI to get to first base.

So did you hear Rush on Monday? It was more beautiful than Keats' urn.

Posted by: retlaw at March 6, 2012 08:28 PM

Dude, you've never been in a corporate boardroom have you?

Presentation matters. Far more than it ought to, perhaps, but you buck the culture at your own peril.

You walk into a presentation to C-level executives in jeans and a t-shirt, if they don't walk out of the room before you even start, they aren't buying whatever it is you're selling. They've already decided you're sloppy and thus your information is flawed.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at March 7, 2012 10:27 AM

Well, Yu, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. I disagree that there's much wrong with Governor Palin's presentation - she never slopped around in jeans and a t-shirt on the campaign trail.

And I don't agree that you get to define a woman's uniform. (What if she were Prez and had Putin to a State dinner? Should we send Cassandra over to pick out her shoes?) She obviously puts time and thought into her outfits - if you don't like it, tough.

Remember that Florida woman who certified the vote for Bush in 2000? How the media and the Dems came down on her for wearing too much make-up? That was brutal, nasty, and frankly sexist.

I've known two or three nice women in my life who go overboard on make-up, as if they slapped it on with a trowel. It was like a hobby for them, I guess. They weren't sluts, just eccentric. You'd disqualify them for public office only on this score? Seems wrong to me.

And it's only fair game to make slut-shaming remarks about GOP women, too. If you're really a Republican, you shouldn't join in like this - no matter how little you care for Conservative politicians.

Unless, of course, you attack Statist and Conservative pols with an even hand. Show me the posts where Cassandra has gone at Dem women for cosmetic concerns. I've searched this site for posts on Michelle Obama. Found one that compliments her dress sense, but no post about the infamous pic of her attending a posthumous CMH ceremony in a red dress and very high heels.

I see the favor of the Statist media being curried in the post about Palin's clothes, as it's being curried with these posts slamming Limbaugh. It's not courage, it's sycophancy.

But again, we can agree to disagree. Avoid a condescending tone, and I'll give you the last word.

Posted by: retlaw at March 7, 2012 08:42 PM

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