Before reading this article in USA Today I had this whole paragraph ready, talking about how horrible Rush Limbaugh is and how there is no comparison between him and his horrific comments toward Sandra Fluke and the comments of Bill Maher toward republican women. Well… Rush is still bad. I was going to say that Bill Maher is a comic similar in nature to Kathy Griffen. He says outrageous things to make a point. Some progressive politicians may like him and his show but are not necessarily beholden to him for votes -- just cool factor; Maher's show being IMHO just underneath a visit on the Daily Show. Rush Limbaugh, though, is a conservative commentator who greatly influences the voting proclivities of an entire section of the republican party. He calls himself an entertainer, but that's just a smoke screen for his role as outspoken political boss. I don't care that some Republican strategists denounced Limbaugh's attack on Fluke, no presidential candidate said one word against his crass comments. Having said all that, I had not actually heard what Bill Maher said about Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann.
Now, first things first, it ought to be noted that Sandra Fluke was not a public figure when Limbaugh called her a slut and a prostitute, as opposed to Palin and Bachmann who were very public and controversial figures. I had not heard the original comments from Bill Maher because I don't have HBO (something my brother bemoans me about regularly…Game of Thrones anyone?) During this firestorm, I have noticed that, again, comments after the articles really tell what the real arguments/issues are often better the actual article. Commenters are talking about a double standard between liberals and republicans. As a matter a fact, in Rush's "apology" he notes that he went to the level of liberals. I asked myself, what's that all about?
This comment from an article in the Atlantic essentially typifies what was said:
Why does Bill Maher get away with calling Sarah Palin a cunt and Barack Obama gets to keep his $1 million in money from this misogynist of the Left and the foulest of anti-Christian bigots ever, whose attitude toward people of faith is indistinguishable from a KKK member's towards blacks?
… Why do liberals who are up in arms about Limbaugh supposedly being mean to women, then close ranks behind the sordid legacy of JFK's misogyny and denounce a woman for telling the truth about how JFK demeaned her and treated her in effect like a slut?
Why do liberals who react in horror to Limbaugh's use of a particular word, end up being the same one who cheered and made an icon of George Carlin for making that one of the seven words you can never say on television (when the idea was so he could say it!)?
Answer all of that, and we can have a serious conversation. Ignore them and the Left stands exposed on this issue for the despicable hypocrites they are with thier (sic) Gestapo attitude about the First Amendment.
Lets back up a little bit. Andrew Breithbart passed recently and a fellow blogger, AverageBro, put out the following comment:
I'm really hoping liberals behave and try to show some decency here. You may not like the man, but he does leave a family behind. #Breitbart
The same decency we'd expect if something happened to a political personality we like should be afford this guy upon his death. #bebigger
This blogger leans to the left. Unfortunately, these words fell on deaf ears because all hell broke loose in about 30 seconds after that on twitter. Liberal tweets called this guy all sorts of names, saying that he was despicable, and stupid, and a horrible human being. Now, I know that Whitney Houston smoked and shot up all sorts of drugs, just like another one of my musical idols, Sarah Vaughn (y'all didn't think that sweat was just from singing hard did ya? If you sweat after singing a few notes…that's a clue). But I objected strenuously to all the coverage that showed Whitney looking awful because she was a mother and a superstar and beloved by millions. Andrew Breithbart may not have been as beloved by some, but he was by a certain group of people. Upon his death, he deserved as a human being to be recognized positively for who he was. My momma said if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I kept my mouth shut and silently said a prayer for his family. There was not a lot of blow back on the twitter-sphere about how this man was being talked about. Maybe I missed it, but it doesn't seem to me that the media picked up and ran with this side of the story.
So back to Bill Maher and Rush. When I looked at what Bill Maher had said about Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, I was frankly astonished. Though there were some who had spoken out, there has been no letter writing campaign to get rid of him for his distasteful comments. NOW (National Organization of Women) did speak out against the comments -- eventually, but there was no big debate about it in the public. Frankly, because Sarah Palin ain't the sharpest pencil in the stack and she arguably holds some strange views, a lot of people wanted to make fun of her. Michelle Bachmann has been looking crazy since she and her bugged out eyes were on the Larry King show. But stupid and crazy are not c**ts and tw**ts. That's not ok. They have daughters too. They are mothers too.
This is why the right feels there is a double standard and there is some merit to that argument. That those women are public figures does make a difference, but if liberals want to own the high ground on political correctness and respect of people, they can't say one thing and do another just because they're mad at the tactics of the other guy. It's the same reason people get mad when republicans cheat on their wives because they often hypocritically hold up the banner of family values. There is a place for comedy, even harsh and ultra-sexual comedy, and potty mouths (I love a good potty joke - - South Park anyone?). But women should not be spoken about in such a filthy and abhorrent manner. Period.