Free Speech and Double Standards

BlogHer Original Post

During a recent interview Michael Moore compared people going through foreclosure to victims of rape.

I need to type it again because maybe then I'll believe it: a man compared people in a situation by choice - as no one held a gun to their head and forced them to agree to loan terms they may be unable to fulfill in hard times; people who purchased more house than they could afford; people who purchased second and third homes; people who had to downsize because of the economy - to women who were raped, forced to spread their legs against their will.

I'm going to take a safe guess and say that Michael Moore doesn't know a victim of rape or has never known physical violation. I have two friends who are survivors of rape and in my family we have dealt with a similar violation. The two are so not the same and I found Moore's analogy so appallingly offensive that my vision took on a red cast, such was my fury. That Moore would compare something replaceable and temporary, like a home, a material thing, to the soul which is cracked in a moment of sexual violence, to a woman's virginity, to the sanctity of her sexuality, demonstrates a lack of respect for women, a lack of understanding, willful ignorance in this era of information.

****

Chris Matthews lost the thrill up his leg earlier last week and fantasized about the murder of Rush Limbaugh:

You guys see Live and Let Die, the great Bond film with Yaphet Kotto as the bad guy, Mr. Big? In the end they jam a big CO2 pellet in his face and he blew up. I have to tell you, Rush Limbaugh is looking more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebodys going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and hes going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet. But well be there to watch. I think hes Mr. Big, I think Yaphet Kotto. Are you watching, Rush?

I've heard nothing from anyone condemning such speech, except from some conservative bloggers.

****

Janeane Garofalo made the remark several months ago that black Americans who didn't support Obama have "Stockholm Syndrome." Naturally, that didn't sit too well with all the black conservatives I know.

Again, crickets.

****

Joe Biden was in town Thursday to fundraise for area Democrats. He was captured on tape during the election making aprejudiced remark about people from India and 7-11.

More crickets.

****

Rush Limbaugh, known for being a bombastic conservative, had false quotes attributed to him and had the meaning of his past statements (when not completely fabricated) distorted out of context by people who have NEVER listened to his show and people who could never, EVER give an air date, an audio recording, or any other citation beyond hearsay to support the serious charge of racism. His comment on Donovan McNabb, whether you agree of his assessment of McNabb's ability (which I sort of disagree) or not, it was a comment on the often-times racist way sports news covers black and white athletes in sports, period. His comment on gangs and basketball was in reference to midnight basketball, a program that was devised in many cities, including St. Louis, to curb gang violence. In my hometown city here of St. Louis it became a scandal which involved then-mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr.'s administration that disenfranchised many children.

Limbaugh a racist? A man whose talented producer is black? A man who asks popular black broadcaster Walt Williams ("black by popular demand!") to sub for him and speak to his millions of listeners? Do I think Limbaugh is racist? No. He's conservative and I do think he pisses people off and I think it's easier and more efficient for people now days to try to neutralize a political or ideological threat by smearing them as a racist instead of simply debating the issues. But conservative does not equal racist.

Dislike a person for their views, fine. But don't fabricate reasons to dislike them. Don't put my city at risk of losing a losing (I know, sigh, they should be grateful to have ANY interest from ANY buyers right now) franchise, costing jobs in a time when we can least afford the loss, and risking revenue for St. Louis over a political hitjob because you dislike the politics of one in the group of possible owners. Hello! Afghanistan, health care, economy ... way bigger issues, folks.

I don't think this is about Limbaugh, I never thought it was, honestly. It's an indictment of all conservative talkers, bloggers, activists, conservatives in general because many liberals see him as a figurehead of conservatism. But it's not about him.

It's scary to me that we live in an era where the double-standard is so noticeable that John Stewart makes fun of it on air. The NFL will allow animal abusers, wife beaters, guys who bomb houses, druggies, cop-beaters, dudes who shoot their pregnant girlfriend - but conservatives? Says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:

I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here.

Oh, forgive me. I didn't realize that being a conservative was worse than shooting your pregnant girlfriend or attacking cops.

No one should be persecuted for being liberal and no one should be persecuted for being a conservative. The problem is, I took issue when anyone made that remark about the former even at the expense of criticizing people for whom I voted.

I sometimes feel alone in defending myself, others like me, the latter. I also can't take criticism seriously when it's so unevenly applied. 

In the meantime, actual cases of racism go with little to no attention.

From around the blogosphere ...

Althouse:

It's a matter of expecting your listeners/readers to be pretty smart and alert... to get it. It also means you're dropping quotes all the time that people who don't get you — and probably don't want to get you — can use to make you sound stupid/crazy/evil. I love the way Rush revels in that sort of thing.

Kathy Shaidle:

Given the number of criminals who play in the NFL, and the controversial people who own many major league teams, it is laughable watching the NFL suddenly portraying itself as some kind of morally pure enterprise.

As well, Limbaugh has challenged his detractors to source allegedly racist statements he's made -- so far, the most outrageous quotations being attributed to Limbaugh are either completely made up, presented out of context or were satirical and sarcastic.

Sister Toldjah, in a must-read post because DANG GINA:

This would be so laughable if it weren’t for the fact that we have two prominent racist race hustlers masquerading as self-proclaimed “anti-discrimination activists” actively urging the NFL to prevent a white man they don’t like from having the opportunity to buy an NFL franchise, on the basis of racial comments deemed controversial and inflammatory. Um, have these guys listened to themselves over the last 20 or so years? If we denied people opportunies based on racially tinged remarks, then Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be lucky to get a job working the drive-thru at McDonald’s.

Black'n'Right:

“I make Rush Limbaugh look like a flaming liberal.”

(Is this a case of that "Stockholm Syndrome" Garafalo mentioned?)

More about being "divisive" from Powerline.

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.