Saturday, March 17

Just Like A Woman

Peggy Noonan, "America's Real War on Women". March 16

I WAS too young to've seen Lenny Bruce, not that he'd have been allowed in our house anyway, and when I discovered him, a half-decade after his death, probably, it was via the written word, not records. And, for sure, YouTube at that point was just a beautiful dream.

I haven't checked his discography, or his YouTube page, but I know that at the end of his career Lenny had pretty much forsaken stand-up comedy for stand-up court stenography, reading long passages of his many legal entanglements on stage, and that one of these included his (I think most famous) obscenity arrest for saying "cocksucker", which was described before the Bar as "an ten-letter euphemism for homosexual". And Lenny said it wasn't a ten-letter euphemism for homosexual, it was a ten-letter description of the woman he loved.

I don't recall ever calling someone a cocksucker in print. I think I've avoided Kochsucker on the grounds that fifty people got there first. I've been known to shout it at other motorists, invariably as blind cocksucking motherfucker.

I've certainly used fellatio--which the Republican Congressional delegation in the Respectful 90s, as Ms Noonan remembers them, informed me on a number of occasions is one of the Things that Homosexuals Do--as a metaphor for any number of political actions. It's not a homosexual slur. Some of my best friends are. When some idiot driver tailgates me on the interstate when I'm sixth in a line behind a rolling dumpster, he's not a cocksucking motherfucker because he sucks cocks and fucks his mother. He's a cocksucking motherfucker because he's a cocksucking motherfucker .

On to Ms Noonan, who, by the way, I'd never call "Peggy" in person, without her prior permission, but I would call "lying motherfucker"; such is the distinction between personal manners and artistic license. In addition to that "Respectful 90s" routine--that genteel period in American history where half of the Pegster's output concerned blowjobs--in fact, leave us quote her for the record:
But you don't have to go back 60 and 70 years to see how much things have changed. Twenty years ago the discourse was higher….

The Internet is a breakthrough in human freedom. But over the past 20 years it has had a certain leveling effect. It hypes the cheap and glitzy, it reduces the worthiness of a thought to the number of clicks it gets.

in addition, I say, to this stunning, dementia-level historical blackout, Noonan blithely and un-ironically uses "Feminazi" in a piece about the public denegration of women.

And, y'know what? I don't care. I defend her right to be a hypocrite and an idiot. I defend Greta van Spacealien's right to critique Louis C.K., an artist she, by rights, should not be allowed to see. I'm certainly not going to defend Bill Maher, or even Matt Taibbi; hell, I'm not even going to defend myself. But if we're gonna talk about this, then let's discuss what's what.

And what's what, first of all, is that Rush Limbaugh is a decorated hero of the Republican party. Nobody's putting Matt Taibbi in their Hall of Fame. Ted Kennedy didn't write Maher a note that he was the "Number One Voice of Liberalism" the way your boy Ronnie did with Rush, mutatis mutandis. You may be offended by whomever, and whatever language you choose, but this tenth-generation Xerox of gotcha outrage falls flat. That doesn't negate your point. I agree. What does is the fact that your Presidential candidates run as far and as fast as they can from criticizing Limbaugh. What does is the fact that he's been free to talk this way for over twenty years, with nothing worse from Moral Republicans than approval being forced to remain tacit.

Either Limbaugh is "just an entertainer", in which case so are Maher and Taibbi, or else you're flinging shit. I mean s__t:
Some left-wing men think they can talk like this because they're on the correct side on social issues such as abortion. Their attitude: "I backed you on the abortions you want so much, I opposed a ban on partial birth. Hell, I'll let you kill kids at any point until they're 15, I'm cool. And that means I can call women in public life t - - - s, right? Because, you know, I think of them that way."

First, Peg, this whole "Liberals are the real racists, because affirmative action" routine would be a lot more effective if you folks would ever bother getting it right. Which you don't, because it's a little piece of in-group folklore, not a serious argument. I don't know what Bill Maher's real attitude about women is, nor Matt Taibbi's, and neither do you. I accept at face value their support for reproductive rights, or equal protection under the law, because they say so. It's entirely possible to support those ideas on principle, and still be a dick, personally. I certainly am. It's also entirely possible to publicly turn your view over to the Pope and still be a hypocritical little scold. It's you, Peg, and the Right in general, which seems to have a problem with this, which seems to insist that its own definition of intellectual purity be met to the letter by all of its opponents. It comes from having Commies under your beds for four decades. Just stop it. Your side got caught on the wrong side of these issues for decades, in exchange for some votes. That day is past, and the responsibility is yours and no one else's. It's entirely possible to be a racist and still support, wholeheartedly and unhypocritically, equal rights and the Brotherhood of Man. Haven't Republicans been insisting for sixty years now that their resistance to every piece of civil rights legislation, to the Equal Rights amendment, and to gay marriage had everything to do with principle, and nothing whatsoever to do with bigotry? Hasn't that been used on any number of occasions to defend, oh, Rush "Barack the Magic Negro" Limbaugh? Choose one story and stick with it. That there may be assholes out there with their own shows, or bylines, doesn't let Limbaugh off the hook. Nor you.

And while we're at it: if all you Moral Americans wish to return us to that Golden Age you keep moving around, how 'bout you quit lying? And forswear hypocrisy? I don't recall the Willie Horton campaign causing you to leave the White House, Peg.

Is cunt a witty rejoinder to the phenomenon that is Half-Governor Palin? No. I doubt it was intended as such. Does the fact that it sends you to the fainting couch make it worse, somehow, than our long tradition of character-assassination-as-politics? Impugning the character and motives of anyone who disagreed with her politics or dared question her clumsy PR moves was Palin's one stock in trade. Is that somehow purer because she's precluded from swearing? Was Nixon a more graceful pol because he only cursed out the Jews in private? For that matter, I don't remember you volunteering to get the soap so George Herbert Walker Panamanicus Bush could wash his wife's mouth out. And she didn't have the Internets as an excuse.

All of this was just smart politics when your side was getting away with it. It was okey-dokey to go to Philadelphia, Mississippi and wink at racism, so long as you didn't say nigger. It was okay to pursue a President for getting a hummer, so long as you pretended to be aghast. One thing the Evil Internet has done is call your bluff. You can't get away with having your proxies hurl shit at Hillary Clinton for eight years and pretend you've got nothing to do with it. You can't have Lee Atwater conduct a racist campaign and have his only worry be what the hapless Democratic party intends to do about it. Limbaugh can still aim his billion-dollar Empire at some law student, but he won't go unnoticed. Some of the people who oppose you use rough language. I'm sorry to break it to you Peg, but this didn't start with AOL. If you don't like the fact that there are a million Chuck Colsons out there now, maybe you should have given that some thought in the Sixties. Or the Eighties. You don't like how things have turned out? Own up, fess up, and promise to change. You go first.

Incidentally: the idea that no one ever said a cross word in public--including the L word--about Eleanor Roosevelt is pure b___s___.

9 comments:

KWillow said...

The Internet is a breakthrough in human freedom. But ... it has had a certain leveling effect. It hypes the cheap and glitzy, it reduces the worthiness of a thought.

The same thing was said about radio and TV, and probably about the invention of the printing press. Maybe even the invention of writing: "Now that everyone can write down (carve in stone) anything they want, people will get lazy and stop memorizing! And most of what is written down will be (shudder) vulgar"

Deggjr said...

Peggy Noonan has made a permanent contribution to the discourse: "Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to." This contribution was printed in the Wall Street Journal.

When Noonan apologizes to the world for writing this, I'll believe she cares about the discourse.

Ben said...

And that means I can call women in public life t - - - s, right?

What is the blanked-out swearword supposed to be? "Tarts"? She might be referencing something earlier in the piece but I'm not subjecting myself to any more Nooners than is necessary. As she said when the scope of the US torture program was first revealed, "there needs to be some mystery in life."

TM said...

But over the past 20 years it has had a certain leveling effect. It hypes the cheap and glitzy, it reduces the worthiness of a thought to the number of clicks it gets.

Shorter Peggy Noonan: The internet is bad because it reveals that nobody reads my stuff.

synykyl said...

In Noonan's day a glimpse of stocking,
was looked on as something shocking.

nanute said...

Ben,
Might be twats? Doghouse, this has to go into your hall of fame posts. I laughed my ass off. Thanks.

Uncle Omar said...

Gawd, she should get up early the next time Chelsea plays Manchester United on the Fox Soccer Channel in hopes that Mike Riley is the referee so that she can hear the upscale, reserved Chelsea fans chanting "Mike Riley is a cunt!" so loudly that even FSC can't blot it out. It might just cause her to stroke out and we'd never hear from her again.

Calming Influence said...

Here's why I read you, and I hope you take it in the spirit intended: you get right to the heart of the matter, and you talk purtier than a $10 whore.

James said...

I know it's a grand cliche by now, but if you want to understand villager centrists like Noonan just remind yourself: "IOKIYAR."

Always and forever.