Thursday, March 15, 2012

Public Figures Shouldn't Be Called Cunts ... Not Even by Comedians

Both the Left and the Right hate any kind of false equivalency meme, but I am getting absolutely pigshit sick of my side of the political spectrum getting justifiably caught with its trousers down around its ankles and its back against the wall in the war of words surrounding the "he-said-he-said" about Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher making overtly misogynistic remarks about two women.

Call it Slutgate vs Cuntgate, for the record, both men are wrong, wrong, wrong; and I hate like hell to hear liberals, even liberal women, buy Bill Maher's desperate walkback that makes no sense.

My advice? Own it. And apologise.

Recently, Maher took his pity party to an interview with Jake Tapper.

For the record, Bill describes himself as a "pottymouth," but insists he's not a misogynist.

I am sorry, but I have to say it yet again. Any man who regards women's genitalia as so intrinsically bad that you have to refer to said anatomy by its pejorative slang appropriation - cunt - and any man who uses that slang word, derisively, to refer to any person, male or female, has deep, deep issues with women, which can be construed to be misogynistic.

What don't you understand about that?

And, please, stop referring to yourself as a comedian, especially every time you make an inappropriate statement. These days, every political pundit hides behind the comedian banner when he oversteps his mark. You do it. Michael Moore does it. Glenn Beck does it. All that does is prove what cowards you are. However much you reckon you are still a comedian, you host a weekly roundtable discussion that is everything serious. You have also contributed a million dollar donation to the President's SuperPAC. You have stopped being a comedian; you are a political contributor and commentator. Act like one.

And if you're blaming the audience for being your guide about whether or not describing Sarah Palin as a "cunt" was comedy, shame on you - and even bigger shame on them, because the men in that audience need to re-examine their issues with women, and the women in that audience need to reassert their self-esteem. Because if a Rightwing comedian had uttered those words about a liberal woman public figure, there'd be hell to pay.

But the most ludicrous argument in his own self-defence which Maher is now using, boils down to public persona vs private individual. Basically this: it's ok to refer to Sarah Palin as a "cunt," because that's what the First Amendment says we can do; it's not ok for a public figure to refer to Sandra Fluke as a "slut," because Ms Fluke is not a public figure.


In Maher's convoluted words:-

To compare that to Rush is ridiculous – he went after a
civilian about very specific behavior, that was a lie, speaking for a
party that has systematically gone after women’s rights all year, on
the public airwaves. I used a rude word about a public figure who
gives as good as she gets, who’s called people “terrorist” and
“unAmerican.” Sarah Barracuda. The First Amendment was specifically
designed for citizens to insult politicians. Libel laws were written
to protect law students speaking out on political issues from getting
called whores by Oxycontin addicts.

I am sorry. It was deeply wrong and inappropriate for Rush Limbaugh to refer to Ms Fluke as a "slut". But, however much you disagree with her policies and her ideals (and I do), it was just as deeply wrong and inappropriate for Bill Maher to refer to Sarah Palin as a "cunt." Both words are incredibly pejorative terms which generalise negatively abour women as a whole. And both men who uttered these words need to apologise publically, contritely and sincerely ... or own the fact that they are, themselves, misogynists.

1 comment:

  1. Remember the show "Politically Incorrect?" It was Maher’s first show and it aired on ABC. Maher said some things in 2001 about 9/11 that got him in similar hot water. Some advertisers left the show and ABC cancelled it.

    It really doesn't matter if any political commenter wants to refer to themselves as a "comedian." Real comedians get burned for things they say all the time! The “comedian” label didn't protect Maher when his first show got cancelled. It didn't protect Lennie Bruce, Bill Hicks, or Richard Pryor. And it currently doesn't protect Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and any other comedian working today. If anything, comedians are more likely to find themselves wrapped up in controversy than other entertainers or personalities.

    Now, granted, Sarah Palin, as a public figure, does legally have a higher threshold than Sandra Fluke. However, what Maher said was still pretty mean and he needs to own that. Besides, he’s sadly mistaken if he doesn't think public figures can't sue for libel. They have a higher burden in court than a private citizen but they can still sue, have done so, and many of them have actually won their cases.

    Maher's above explanation of why he shouldn’t be compared to Rush is missing a critical point. Let's just say that Bill's lucky that his current show is on a cable station (a premium-additional cost one at that) and not network TV. To me, the most powerful argument against the Limbaugh-Maher false equivalency pushed by the right is merely mentioning “Political Incorrect.” Maher has been down the same road as Limbaugh and suffered similar consequences.