NOONAN: LEFTY SEXISTS ARE EVIL; RIGHTY SEXISTS ARE JUST REPRESSED BY THE MAN, WHO HAS A VAGINA
I'm sure it won't astonish you that Peggy Noonan has carefully examined all the evidence, pondered all the examples of sexism from commentators and entertainers associated with the left and the right ... and has concluded that the vast majority of pure evil is on one side:
All this has devolved into a political argument about who's worse, the right or the left. I don't think that's the most important question, but since it's on the table the answer is the left. We all know about Bill Maher, David Letterman, Ed Schultz. A liberal radio host a while back accused the Republican lieutenant governor of Wisconsin of performing "fellatio on all the talk show hosts in Milwaukee."
Two nonconservative columnists recently nailed it. Karen Tumulty in the Washington Post wrote that what Rush Limbaugh said two weeks ago -- Sandra Fluke was a "slut" and a "prostitute" who owed the public videotapes of her having sex -- was bad indeed, but "Some of the more blatantly sexist attacks I have personally felt have come from the left."
Prize pig is left-wing journalist Matt Taibbi who becomes emotional and can't control himself when writing about women. Here he is on a conservative media figure: "When I read her stuff, I imagine her narrating her text ... with [male genitals] in her mouth." Democrat Kirsten Powers, in brave pieces in the Daily Beast, called out "the army of swine on the left." Keith Olbermann, who still exists, attacked her for defending Mr. Limbaugh, which she hadn't done. He took to Twitter. One of his followers called her "just another brainless plastic doll Fox puts on camera to appease the horned up 60-year old white dudes at home." Ms. Powers wryly notes, "Don't forget: liberals are the feminists, it's the GOP who hates women."
I'm not going to defend any of the remarks Noonan cites, but notice what she's doing here: For the left, she's digging so deep she has to scrape around among Keith Olbermann's Twitter followers. For her side, she's barely scratching the surface, not only failing to come up with a single example of right-wing sexism apart from what Rush Limbaugh recently said, but reducing his deranged, sustained three-day assault on Sandra Fluke to two words and the videotape remark. (But, of course, everyone on the right, and a lot of people on the center and left, have boiled it down to that.)
Oh, but what Noonan says gets better. You see, we lefties are sexists because we're rotten to the core. Righties, on those rare occasions when they're sexist, are sexist because ... well, the oppression from evil Utero-Americans just gets too hard to take, and they just snap! Gosh, who wouldn't?
On the right it can be bad too, in different ways. Some conservatives resent or have doubts about the implications of equality but know they can't say it -- no one wants to be caught doing that. For years they've felt bullied by the feminazis, by the language police. So they attack women in public life with a particular surliness, and claim it as proof of how liberated they are. "Hey, you wanted to be equal, I'll show you equal: this is how we play in the leagues, baby."
Yes, in case you missed that, Peggy Noonan just called feminists "feminazis." She didn't ascribe that to Limbaugh. She didn't use the term ironically. She didn't distance herself from it in any way. That's her word. She owned it right there.
Noonan finishes up with a complete misreading of recent American social history:
Let me put forward one possible theory for why this is happening.
...by the mid 1990s, there was a new public place of complete freedom. Suddenly everyone -- in blog posts, on personal websites, on news sites, in comment threads -- had an equal voice and was operating on an equal field. The Internet became -- this is America, we have a certain DNA -- a bit of a Wild West....
It has helped set a new cultural tone. It is not a higher one than we've enjoyed in the past.
Our comics and commentators went with the flow, but it only flows downward. And now you have to worry about young men of 20 and 30, who grew up in the age of the Internet and modern media, and learned the rules of political discourse there.
Give me a break. The rise of angry, smirking sexism in the mainstream media? Let's recall when it really happened. Howard Stern's career reached a pinnacle in the 1980s and very early 1990s. The same for Sam Kinison and Andrew "Dice" Clay. Gosh, what did that coincide with? Not the rise of the Internet -- who the hell was on the Internet in 1988? It coincided with the Reagan/Bush era and its cultural assault on "political correctness" and everything associated with the left. It also coincided with the feminism-bashing of folks like Rush Limbaugh fan Camille Paglia. (You can toss rap music in there if you want, but the rap that embraced sexism was also the rap that embraced its own version of Reaganesque materialism.)
And one last thing -- this is ridiculous, too:
President Obama ... called Sandra Fluke, he explained, because he wants public life to be safe for his daughters, if they choose to enter it. He would have made a braver, truer, more meaningful statement if he'd noted that Bill Maher has become so rich on sexism he had a million dollars to give to Mr. Obama's re-election campaign.
I won't defend Maher's sexist cracks -- what I said last week about Louis C.K. applies to Maher as well -- but please, Peggy: Maher became rich from sexism? The man has had a three-decade career and you can come up with, what, half a dozen words and phrases he's used that are sexist? That's his career bedrock?
Wake me when you can do a history of Maher's sexism (or Louis C.K.'s, or Keith Olbermann's, or Matt Taibbi's) as extensive as this.